Why it’s OK to not know what career path you want to follow.
University students usually begin their degree when they are 18. Those who don’t go to university usually go straight into a job after school. So is it really suprising for people to still be unsure about what they want to do with their life as they get older?
I think 18 is a very young age to choose your perfect career path. Of course, some people have known what they want to do since they were children and their vision has never changed. But there are plenty more out there, myself included, who have questioned whether they chose the right degree, whether they are in the right job and whether they really enjoy what they are doing (and if there is something else which would make them happier or more content…) And this is absolutely fine.
There is no age limit on creating a different path for yourself. Who says you can’t change careers at 40, 50 or even 60 if you’re really not happy?
Many people will argue the older generation will struggle to get employment in a new field or sector. This could be true in some circumstances, but I believe they’re equally entitled to take a new path should they want to. While success is never guaranteed, failure isn’t either.
When it comes to people of university age, or people in their 20’s and 30’s, the world is literally your oyster. Who says you can’t change your degree discipline? Who says you can’t go back to university and study something entirely different this time round? Who says you can’t apply for jobs in a field completely different to the one you are in now?
As Baz Luhrmann says in his song ‘Everybody’s free’:
‘Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what to do with your life,
The most interesting people I know, didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with lives.
Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.’
This could not be more true as far as I’m concerned. There’s no handbook to tell us we have to decide what path our life is taking by a certain age and stick to it.
It’s perfectly acceptable for someone to choose their career at 18 or younger and stick with it until retirement, if it makes them happy. In the same way, it’s just as acceptable for someone to decide at 25, or at 50, they want to do something different with their life.
If experience or qualifications is what you’re lacking then there are various ways for you to get on the right track; online courses, evening courses, or even on-the-job training.
It’s never too late to change your mind about your career. Working is something we’ll all be doing until our late 60’s. Why risk being unhappy in your job for such a long time?
Changing your career path doesn’t make you less determined, unfocused, flaky, unambitious, uninteresting or any other negative connotation you assume you may be labelled with. Even if you meander between various job for the length of your working life, it doesn’t matter if it means you’re happy. Changing your path takes courage and I applaud anyone who does so.
It is most certainly OK to do what is right for you, and it’s OK to keep changing until you find your perfect job.