Left School, College, or University & Still Don’t Know What To Do?Posted: 10th of August 2015 by
You have probably had your life mapped out for you until now – whether that was the route from nursery to primary school and through on to do your GCSEs, or even further into A-levels or beyond. You may never really have had to think too much about what you would be doing next September, but all of a sudden here you are – having finished your studies and unsure of what to do next. You might not have any set career plans or goals or a dream job in mind, which can easily leave you feeling anxious and stressed – especially if all of your friends seem to be happily getting along with their next steps. You may even feel like a failure or the odd-one-out, but what should you do? How can you suddenly work out what you want to do with the rest of your life?
There are ways in which you can help to think about what jobs or careers will suit you (see last week’s blog on ‘Making A Career List’), but the whole idea of making a choice for the rest of your life may seem too daunting. The first thing to do is to gain a little sense of perspective on the situation…
Very few people stay in the same job for the whole of their working lives – there may be moves to other companies, departments, roles, or even a complete change of course. Indeed, most people aspire to continue growing through their careers, gaining promotions and altering the nature of their work. A junior office worker may progress until they are in higher management, for example, offering them a completely different set of challenges and responsibilities.
Your decisions now don’t necessarily mean that you are closing doors to a possible future forever, nor do they mean that you cannot change direction later. So, instead of thinking about what you don’t want to do, try to think of what you could do.
Keep things broad – would you prefer to work outdoors or in an office? Do you prefer to use your head or your hands? Do you prefer to work with people or on your own?
You will probably know the answers to these sorts of questions already – but also think about how much money you need to earn. Note how I said ‘need’ rather than ‘want.’ Most people want to earn more money, but it is important to be sure that you can cover your expenses – whether that is paying some money to your parents each month, or paying for everything from scratch yourself.
By working to these set of core, personal rules you can help yourself to start work on a career that will suit you – even if you don’t really know what your exact destination will be. Look for work or training in the sort of jobs that you feel you could do in your local area. There is no point applying to work on a construction site if you want to be in an office, but don’t be afraid to blur the lines a little – not all construction-related jobs involve manual labour! Likewise there may be areas of opportunity that you hadn’t considered before.
The key here is in doing something. Looking at larger companies may offer more room for progression into different areas as you become more acquainted with the world of work, but equally, they may be less personal and intimate than a smaller employer – which may suit you more. You will probably have a gut reaction against certain types of work, and these are clearly not for you. But, otherwise, simply getting started and gaining some real world work experience will help – whether with a job or on an apprenticeship.
You may need to do some extra training for a role you want – can you do this on-the-job, or will you need to complete this elsewhere while working a job to bring in some money?
It can seem like a daunting time – especially if you are unsure what you want to do next, but don’t panic, there is nothing saying you can’t change your mind later, but it is better to be doing something than sitting around doing nothing but worrying! Even if your first move doesn’t work out, at least you will know what you want to avoid in future!
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