Lost in the World of “So… What Do You Do?”

You’ve completed Uni, got the piece of paper, worn the t-shirt cap and gown… Now it’s time to tackle adulthood head on. In an ideal world, we would have walked straight into a job we love along with a nice little house to accompany. Unfortunately for the majority, life doesn’t fall into this ideal paradigm – especially when working towards a career in the creative industry.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“What are you doing now, career-wise?”

If I had a pound for every time someone has asked me these questions, my student loan would already have been paid off. In fact, I wouldn’t even have had to attend Uni for the pure fact I’ve been asked the first question since primary school.

Naturally, your mind develops and changes countless times as you grow, especially when it comes down to your career. Listen, when I was young young, I was Playboy-obsessed. This was probably a result of being socialised into such a girly mindset (you know the one where pink is apparently the only colour a girl can like.) It didn’t help that all the girls in primary school would have Playboy pencil cases, lava lamps and that infamous bedding from Argos.

I so badly wanted to live in that huge, pink L.A mansion where it was always sunny, and a pool you could go for a swim at any time. I can feel your judging eyes right now, but at eight-years-old, I was fully unaware that all those girls slept with an old fella (RIP Hugh.)

My aspirations soon changed when I realised the concept behind the Playboy mansion. I was probably so scarred that I turned to boxing, playing football terribly, a wing attack in netball, acting classes and athletics. My focus and passion, however, was always dancing. At the age of 10, I was convinced I was going to be a dance teacher in years to come.

I then developed an interest in magazines, drama, art and reading at around 12. The dance teacher in me was now a distant memory, instead I was going to be an actress, an English teacher, a fashion designer, a writer – it all depended how I was feeling on the day. The Gemini in me was really shining during this time.

My point of this irrelevant bit of information is that, as you grow you start to become aware of what you actually want… What makes you happy. There’s no age limit to finding your vice – you could know at 13, stick by it, and achieve it. The same way, you could be 53, working in an unrelated field and discover it’s no longer serving your life or passion.

It took me months to land a job I thoroughly love – almost so, I nearly gave up. I wanted to be a writer because I enjoy listening to stories. I am fascinated by people: their background, goals, travels, achievements, flaws. They inspire me and allow my mind to delve into a world of ideas before sprawling it on a page.

For instance, this piece of rambling was inspired by three people: a close friend, a relative, and a random person on the train. They all had stories that correlated yet catered to their individual journey’s. These three people, not having met, all shared a similar story in which they felt lost. Lost in the world of “So… What do you do?”

You may feel like everyone’s got their lives together and they know what they’re doing, but they have no idea too – they just pass it off with confidence.

Feeling lost is your superpower. It gives you a clean slate to work from. It allows you to spend precious time working on yourself, on skills, on activities you enjoy. Your passion will come to you when you least expect it. I’m not saying to wonder around like lost chickens and suddenly, a huge banner will smack you in the face reading, “you will be an astronaut.” You must be proactive in order to attract it.

Work experience and interning

I wish this would have been drilled into me earlier. As soon as you start leaning towards a specific industry for work, do some work experience before you start applying or training. Trust me. There are so many people who dive straight into a career without having any knowledge of what it’s actually like to work in and end up hating it.

Participate in activities you enjoy

You may ask how this has anything to do with your career?  If an activity makes you happy, you are working on your foundations by improving your wellbeing. When you’re happy, you are more likely to challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

You never know who you will meet or who/what you may feel inspired by. Like-minded people will help you on your journey to finding your passion.

Read

You probably hear this everywhere but reading has countless benefits. Books are the fuel for inspiration and creativity. They offer a variation of views and opinions and guide you towards a more open mind. You may also find your vice while reading one evening.

Join LinkedIn

Yes, yes, yes! LinkedIn is basically Facebook for professionals. It’s an amazing tool to research job titles and to look at what different roles consist of. Most importantly, CONNECT! It’s socially acceptable on LinkedIn to connect with people you’ve never met. Companies upload jobs onto there and some will even approach you to work for them!

Write your strengths and goals down

Spend a bit of time jotting your strengths and goals down. It doesn’t matter if you’re not quite sure at this stage – instead, write down what you enjoy. If you keep adding to this list weekly, you can put 2+2 together and match with jobs that fit your strengths and enjoyments.

Don’t give up

Most important thing right here. Do not give up! We spend most of our lives in work, so it is absolutely pivotal that you enjoy it. Once you have found your passion, don’t give up on it! Remind yourself how long it took for you to find it then cherish it. Treat it as a flower – allow it to grow and develop before watching it blossom. Anything is possible when you put your mind to it.