What to Do If You Don’t Know What Career Path to Choose? (42 Ways + Expert Insights)

Do you ever feel like everyone around you has their career figured out, but you’re still searching for your path? It’s a common feeling, and I want you to know that it’s okay not to have all the answers right now.

Finding the right career is a journey, and it’s one that requires self-reflection, exploration, and a willingness to try new things.

In this article, I’ll walk you through some practical steps you can take to discover your ideal career path. You’ll also find bits of wisdom from experts, along with tips from people who’ve been in the same situation as you, so you can pick up some helpful pointers.

By the end, you’ll have a clearer idea of how to move forward and find a career that truly fulfills you. Let’s get started!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and not professional career guidance. The tips given are general and meant to motivate you, but we're not career counselors. For career choices, please consult with a qualified expert.

Table of Contents

Conduct a Self-Assessment

A self-assessment is all about asking yourself the big questions: What am I good at? What gets me out of bed in the morning? Remember, this isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s an ongoing conversation with yourself as you grow and evolve.

Consider past roles you’ve had, classes that sparked excitement, or projects that had you working late not because you had to but because you wanted to.

Ask yourself:

  • What activities do you find both engaging and energizing?
  • Which tasks do you usually avoid because they feel draining?

Identify Your Interests and Passions

Finding what you like and what you’re passionate about is like discovering what you enjoy. There’s no correct or incorrect choice, but it involves trying out many different things. Think about what you love doing so much that time just flies when you’re at it. This could be anything from writing and drawing to solving complex puzzles.

A few questions to kickstart this process might include:

  1. What topics do you find yourself repeatedly drawn to?
  2. Are there specific activities that energize you and make you feel alive?

Linking this back to the self-assessment we talked about earlier, your interests and passions are the “why” behind the “what“. They give you clues about where your career could go. For me, I realized that writing wasn’t just a hobby; it was what I wanted to spend my life doing.

By bridging the gap between your skills and what you love, you’re not just choosing a career path—you’re crafting a life path.

Assess Your Skills and Strengths

It’s easy to overlook the things you’re good at. They often seem too simple, almost like everyone can do them, right? Wrong. Each of us has a unique skill set that’s valuable in ways we might not even realize.

It could be your knack for explaining things clearly, your eagle eye for details, or maybe you’re the one everyone turns to when the tech goes haywire. These are clues to where your strengths lie. Embrace them.

Thinking about skills, let’s focus on the important details. Sit with a pen and paper and reflect on times when others have sought your help, or you’ve achieved something notable. When have you felt most competent?

Create two columns: ‘Natural Talents’ and ‘Learned Skills.’ Fill them out, then look for careers that make the most of these. Remember, skills can be learned and honed, but your natural talents? They’re solid gold. Think about how these innate abilities could give you a leg up in a competitive job market and lead you to a career that not only pays the bills but also feels rewarding.

"Remember SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats - go with your strengths, always."

Dr. Michael Provitera | Management Professor | Author, Mastering Self-Motivation and Level-UP Leadership

Consider Your Values and Priorities

Taking a moment to consider your values and priorities is all about figuring out what’s truly important to you. Is work-life balance non-negotiable? Or maybe, making a significant impact through your work tops your list?

This step is vital because, let’s face it, a job isn’t just a job. It’s where you’ll spend a good chunk of your waking hours. So, your career should resonate with what matters most to you.

Consider:

  • The type of company culture you thrive in.
  • The societal or environmental contributions you hope to make through your work.

Grab that pen again and list out what truly matters to you. This step helps ensure that your job doesn’t just fill your wallet but also feels right in your heart.

Utilize Career Aptitude Tests

These tests are fantastic tools for uncovering careers you might not have even considered. They can point out your strengths, suggest industries you’d thrive in, and even highlight skills you didn’t know were marketable.

You can find these tests online—some are free, some aren’t, but it’s worth spending a bit if it points you towards a career that makes you want to do a little dance of joy every morning.

Here’s what to expect when you take one of these tests:

  • Questions about different scenarios and how you’d handle them.
  • Queries about your likes and dislikes.
  • Sometimes puzzles or problems to solve (nothing to sweat over, though).

Take the results with a grain of salt, but you may also use them as a starting place. Career aptitude tests can be eye-openers, giving you a nudge in the right direction or affirming ideas you’ve been pondering. Remember, the goal here is to gather insights, not let a test dictate your future.

"Explore career and personality self-assessments to uncover more in-depth details about your style and top strengths. Resources like the MBTI, Gallup StrengthsFinder, DISC, etc. are great ways to learn more about yourself and craft a language for your unique value-add."

— Tiffany Waddell Tate | Career Coach and Professional Development Consultant

Research Potential Career Paths

Turning your dreams into a career means understanding what’s out there. So, it’s time to do some research. You could start with a Google search, peek at online job boards, tap into industry-specific websites, or reach out to professionals on LinkedIn for a chat.

Your goal is to learn what jobs are available, what they involve, and how they mesh with your self-assessment from earlier on.

Your research checklist should look something like this:

  • Job descriptions: Get the lowdown on day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Qualifications needed: What do you need to learn or improve?
  • Work environment: Office, outdoors, solo, team-based—what feels like home to you?
  • Salary range: We’ve got bills to pay, after all.
  • Career progression: Where could this path lead you in five or ten years?

Researching career paths helps you move towards what you want to do with confidence, knowing more, and having a clear plan.

"My advice would be that there's a big difference between the 'idea' of a career path and the reality of it. So go beyond coming up with just an industry name or a business type or a job title."

— Marianne Cantwell | Career Coach, Spinner Coaching

Analyze Job Market Trends and Demand

It’s crucial to understand which industries are growing, what skills are in high demand, and how economic shifts might affect job availability. This might involve regularly checking industry reports and news, following job market analysis platforms for real-time data, and reading articles on ‘hot’ industries.

By doing this, you’re not just passively waiting for opportunities—you’re actively looking for where your next big break might come from. This foresight can be a game-changer, especially when considering long-term career goals.

Evaluate Your Education and Identify Any Gaps

Reflect on your current educational background and ask yourself:

  • Are there specific skills or qualifications frequently mentioned in job listings in my field of interest?
  • What short courses or further training could bridge these gaps?

It’s vital to be proactive and honest with yourself during this process. Whether it’s a certification, a particular degree, or just some extra skills, it’s important to know where you stand.

And remember, education doesn’t always mean heading back to school full-time. There are heaps of options, like evening classes, online courses, or short-term workshops that can get you up to speed.

This isn’t about filling every gap overnight; it’s about setting a direction and taking steps, however small, toward that goal.

Conduct Informational Interviews

Conducting informational interviews is, without a doubt, one of my favorite approaches to gaining insights and networking.

These conversations involve talking to professionals already working in the area you’re interested in. There’s no pressure or need to apply for a job; it’s simply about exchanging views and gaining firsthand knowledge. It’s a way to build connections.

You get to discover what a typical day in their job entails, including the good parts, the challenging aspects, and everything else that comes with it.

To schedule one of these informative chats, start by finding professionals in your chosen field through LinkedIn, company websites, and professional directories. Send them a polite message, making it clear that you’re looking for advice, not a job.

Prepare a list of questions you would like to ask about their role, the challenges they face, how satisfied they are with their job, and any career advice they can offer.

Shadow Professionals in Fields of Interest

Shadowing professionals in fields of interest is like taking a “test drive” of a career before you commit. It allows you to get an up-close look at what a day in the life of a particular job really looks like. Imagine following around a seasoned professional, seeing the challenges they face, the tasks they handle, and the real work environment.

This can give you invaluable insights into the workplace culture and dynamics and the actual tasks and responsibilities tied to a role you’re considering.

By shadowing, you not only get a tangible sense of whether a career aligns with your expectations and passions, but you also start to build a network within your field of interest.

It’s a proactive way to make informed decisions about your career path, rather than just going off job descriptions or second-hand advice.

Seek Guidance From a Career Counselor or Mentor

Sometimes, in your career journey, especially during challenging times, you might need guidance. This is where a career counselor or a mentor becomes essential. These individuals are experienced in assisting people to find their career paths.

They have the resources, assessments, and, most importantly, the experience to guide you. A counselor can offer a fresh, professional perspective on your situation, while a mentor brings their personal experience into the advice they give.

Finding the appropriate guide means finding someone who understands you well. You can start by checking if your previous school offers career services to its alumni, looking for mentorship programs in your area of interest, or even considering people within your own network as potential mentors.

The right counselor or mentor can show you options you might not have considered on your own, encouraging you to explore further than you might have thought possible.

Gain Practical Experience Through Internships or Volunteering

Gaining practical experience through internships or volunteering is important for applying what you’ve learned in theory to real-world situations. It’s essential to move beyond just researching and thinking about potential careers.

By working in these roles, you can:

  1. Use your skills in actual job environments.
  2. Understand what day-to-day work looks like in your chosen field.

These positions are key steps in your work journey, offering you a peek at the professional world and boosting your resume. It’s more than just learning; it’s about showing you and your future bosses what you can do.

Plus, interning or volunteering grows your work contacts, which is super important for your career success.

"Take action and stay busy. Seek out information about different career options. Put your knowledge to practice. Take risks, try different options."

— Sudhir Chadalavada | Co-founder, Conscious Capitalism | Author, CEO Mastery Journey: 7 Breakthrough Principles that Propel Successful Leaders to Greatness

Attend Career Fairs and Networking Events

Here, you can visit different booths, learn about various job options, and speak with professionals. These events create a relaxed environment where companies are interested in meeting potential candidates.

To prepare, wear professional clothes and bring business cards with your contact information. During the event, be proactive. Approach the booths, start conversations, and ask specific questions that cannot be easily found online.

And hey, it’s not just about gathering brochures or free pens. The aim is to establish connections and leave a memorable impression that could lead to job opportunities or even secure an interview then and there.

The more people you interact with, the greater your chances of finding someone who can connect you to a job that matches your skills and interests.

Set Short-Term and Long-Term Career Goals

Goals give your career quest direction. Starting with short-term goals keeps things manageable – think of them as stepping stones. Maybe you aim to polish your resume this week, attend two networking events this month, or finish an online course in three months. These goals should help inch you closer to where you want to be.

Long-term goals, on the other hand, are your big-picture plans. Where do you see yourself in a year, or five, or ten? Might sound a bit scary, but don’t freak out. These can shift as you learn and grow.

The point is to have a vision you’re working towards. And let’s not forget – write these down and revisit them often. Seeing your progress in black and white can be a serious boost when the going gets tough.

Create a Career Action Plan

Creating a career action plan is your strategy for bringing your career goals to life. Think of it as your personal blueprint for success—a detailed map of how you plan to achieve your short-term and long-term goals.

Including steps like:

  • Identifying the skills you need to develop.
  • Mapping out educational or training opportunities.
  • Planning networking activities and seeking out mentorship.

An effective action plan breaks down the big, often intimidating, career goals into manageable, actionable steps. It’s like having a to-do list that guides you from where you are now to where you want to be.

Develop Transferable Skills

Transferable skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, make an individual adaptable to different employment opportunities.

Look at what you’re good at, whether in coordination or simplifying complex topics. These skills are helpful when switching to a new job area and stick with you no matter where you go in your career.

For example, you can improve how you speak in public or manage projects by using resources like online courses or local classes. Having a bunch of these flexible skills helps with finding jobs and building a career that can adapt to new opportunities.

Build a Strong Professional Network

People often say that who you know is just as important as what you know. Having lots of contacts might open doors you didn’t even know were there.

But making these contacts doesn’t always mean you have to be the life of the party at work events. Just catching up with old school friends or people you used to work with can work well. Websites like LinkedIn make it a lot easier to connect with people for work stuff.

It’s important to keep talking to people you meet through your job. Networking is a two-way street; helping others when you can usually end up being good for you too.

For example, sending relevant articles to someone you used to work with or congratulating someone when they get a new job can make your bond stronger. Just be real when you talk to people. Keep chatting and being friendly, and you’ll slowly build up your circle of contacts.

The tip-off for a great job might even come from someone you worked with a long time ago.

Stay Open-Minded to New Opportunities

Staying open-minded to new opportunities is the career equivalent of keeping your eyes on the horizon—you never know what amazing chances might come your way. It’s about embracing flexibility and being ready to pivot when unexpected doors open.

This mindset can lead to:

  • Discovering new passions and interests you hadn’t considered before.
  • Taking on challenges that grow your skills and push you out of your comfort zone.

Being open-minded means you see every experience, whether it’s an internship, a networking event, or even an unexpected job offer, as a stepping stone to something greater. It’s about trusting the journey, even when the path takes unexpected turns.

By embracing opportunities with an open heart and mind, you’re not just building a career; you’re crafting a journey filled with growth, learning, and surprises.

Consider Entrepreneurship or Freelancing

Now, not everyone dreams of working for a big company, and that’s totally fine. Maybe you’re someone who wants to be the boss, set your own rules, and start something from scratch. That’s where entrepreneurship and freelancing step in.

It’s a chance to take your ideas and passions and turn them into a business or a one-person show. If you’ve always had a streak of wanting to do things your way, this could be your calling.

What you can do is start small. Got a skill or a product idea? Test it out in the market. Create a little side business and see how it goes.

Freelancing can also give you the freedom to pick projects you love, work from wherever you want, and set your own schedule. Sites like Upwork or Fiverr can be your starting blocks. It’s hard work, no lie, but it’s also exciting and liberating. You might find that making your own path is exactly what you were meant to do.

Explore Unconventional Career Paths

The world isn’t just doctors, lawyers, and teachers – as great as those professions are. There are jobs out there you’ve probably never heard of.

Ever thought about becoming a chocolate taster or a professional sleeper? Okay, those are extreme examples, but they make a point. Don’t limit yourself to the usual suspects when it comes to careers. There’s a whole horizon of possibilities that go beyond the traditional.

Go ahead and do some digging on the internet, attend industry talks, and talk to people. You might discover careers in fields like ethical hacking, space tourism, or something else that’s a bit left of center but just perfect for you.

Sometimes the road less traveled is where you’ll find your perfect fit. Be brave and explore, and you might just stumble upon something that combines your passion and skills with a gap in the market.

Engage With Experienced Professionals in Your Fields of Interest

Engaging with experienced professionals is like having a mentor in unexplored landscapes. They can offer guidance, insights, and advice that illuminate your path, making the journey less intimidating and more achievable.

Engaging with these seasoned pros might look like:

  • Seeking mentorship opportunities to learn from their experiences.
  • Attending talks, webinars, or workshops they host or participate in.

By reaching out and engaging with experienced professionals, you’re not just building connections; you’re learning from their knowledge and past experiences. They can give you advice and tips for your own path, help you avoid mistakes, and point out good chances you might not have seen by yourself.

"Engage with experienced professionals at least 5-10 years older than you... Ask them to describe what they do, what they like, and what they don’t like."

— Bryan Zawikowski | Vice President and General Manager, Lucas Group

Follow Industry Leaders on Social Media

In today’s world, following industry leaders on social media is like having a front-row seat at a continuous seminar of insights and inspirations. These leaders often share knowledge, experiences, and even provide peeks into industry trends and future directions.

This can be a valuable resource for anyone looking to:

  • Stay updated with the latest developments and discussions.
  • Gain perspectives that challenge and broaden their own understanding.

It’s amazing that just by clicking follow, you can learn so much that’s easy to get and right on target. When you follow experts, you add more to what you know and understand. It’s a super easy way to keep in touch and be inspired about what’s happening in the area you’re interested in.

Join Online Communities in Your Interest Areas

You’re not in this alone. Online communities are buzzing hives of people who share your interests and are often more than happy to support each other. Whether it’s a forum on Reddit, a professional group on LinkedIn, or a Facebook page, there’s a place for you to connect with like-minded souls.

These communities can be laid back, but don’t underestimate how powerful they can be for learning and growth.

Dive into discussions, ask questions, and offer your own experiences or advice when you can. This give-and-take isn’t just polite—it’s how you establish yourself as an active member of the community.

That’s when the magic happens: you’ll get job leads, make friends, and gather a wealth of shared knowledge that’s as current as it gets.

Read Career Development Books and Listen to Podcasts

Reading career development books and listening to podcasts is like having a personal coach giving you tips and advice when you want it. These resources can be transformative, offering strategies, inspiration, and sometimes the much-needed push to take bold steps.

They provide:

  • Diverse perspectives on navigating careers successfully.
  • Practical tips and motivational stories to fuel your journey.

Incorporating this habit into your routine is not just an act of learning; it’s an investment in your growth. Consuming these resources underscores the commitment to nurturing your career path. It highlights the importance of ongoing education and the power of perspective, equipping you to navigate your career with confidence and curiosity.

Update Your CV and LinkedIn Profile

Here’s something you can do right now—polish up that CV and LinkedIn profile. Think of them as the face of your professional life. They should look great so that when someone is looking to hire, they notice you.

Start with the basics: make sure your contact info is up to date, and your experience is listed in a way that’s easy to read. Focus on achievements, not just job duties. Managed a team? Talk about what you accomplished together. Ran a project? Highlight what it achieved.

On LinkedIn, get a professional-looking photo—no beach selfies, please. Write a brief but catchy summary that tells your story in a nutshell—who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for.

Join groups, contribute to conversations, and ask for recommendations from colleagues. These updates show you’re serious and ready to jump on the right opportunity when it pops up.

Practice Interview Skills

So you’re about to land an interview. But the thought of it makes your palms sweaty? Totally normal. The key to shaking off those jitters is practice. Think of it like rehearsing for a play.

You can practice answers to common questions but keep them flexible enough to sound natural. Talk in front of a mirror, record yourself, or round up a friend to play the interviewer.

Make sure you cover the classic questions like ‘Tell me about yourself’ and ‘Why do you want to work here?’ but also think about what stories from your past experiences show you’re the right fit for the job.

This helps you talk about your experiences confidently, and the interviewer gets to know the real you. When the time comes, you’ll be ready to tell your story like a pro.

Investigate Mentorship Opportunities

Seeking out mentorship opportunities is like finding a guiding light on your career path. A mentor can offer insights, advice, and support that are both invaluable and transformative. They’re someone who’s walked the path before you and can help you navigate it with fewer stumbles.

To find a mentor, consider:

  • Reaching out to professionals you admire within your network or industry.
  • Utilizing formal mentorship programs provided by professional organizations or alumni networks.

Having a mentor means understanding that you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself. Having a mentor can add a lot of knowledge and different ways of thinking to your life. It’s like getting a boost from someone who’s been there before, which can help you see things and reach goals that might be hard to do alone.

Consider Working With a Career Coach

Career coaches are like personal trainers for your job search. They’re all about helping you find your strengths, set your goals, and cheer you on as you chase them down. It’s their job to ask the tough questions that get you thinking and to challenge you to go beyond what’s comfortable.

When you choose a career coach, look for someone with good reviews or get a recommendation from someone you trust. It’s an investment in yourself, after all. With a career coach, you’re not just wandering around hoping to stumble upon the right path—you’re creating it with intent, step by step.

Identify a Work-Life Balance That Suits You

Finding a good balance between work and the rest of your life helps things run better and makes life more enjoyable. This balance is important because we spend so much energy on our jobs.

To figure out the right balance for you, you might need to:

  • Decide what a good work-life balance looks like for you.
  • Make clear limits to make sure you have time for fun, people you care about, and taking care of yourself.

It’s important to remember that the goal is to have a rewarding life, not just a job. Understanding your own idea of balance helps make sure your job makes your life better instead of taking it over. It’s about making a career that fits with what’s important to you, so you can do well at work and in life.

Consider Your Preferred Work Style

Your work style is all about how you do your best work. Do you thrive on collaboration, bouncing ideas off others? Or do you do your best thinking in a quiet corner where you can hear your own thoughts?

There’s no right or wrong here—it’s about knowing yourself and the environments that bring out your superpowers.

As you consider potential careers, reflect on the times when you’ve felt super productive. What was the setting? What was the pace? Use these insights to guide your search. Aim to find a job that suits you perfectly—not too challenging, not too easy, but just the right fit.

Choosing a career that matches the way you like to work means you’ll probably enjoy it more and want to stay with it for a longer time.

Prioritize Your Well-Being Throughout the Process

Choosing a career path is a big deal, and it can get a bit overwhelming, right? That’s why it’s key to look after yourself along the way. Keep your health – both physical and mental – front and center.

Are you getting enough sleep, eating things that make you feel good, and getting some movement into your day? These might seem unrelated to your job hunt, but trust me, when you’re feeling good, you’re thinking clearer and making better decisions.

Don’t let the stress of decision-making eat up all your headspace. Carve out time for stuff that makes you smile, whatever that may be—a run in the park, a blockbuster movie, or just a quiet cup of tea. A happy, healthy you is going to be way better at finding and nailing that dream job.

Identify Activities That Energize You

Understanding the activities that revitalize you and make your day exciting is like having a powerful tool at your disposal. These might be work tasks that leave you feeling accomplished or personal hobbies that uplift you.

To keep your energy up, think about:

  • Adding enjoyable, small tasks to your day that you can look forward to at work.
  • Setting aside regular time for pastimes that give you energy.

Recognizing these recharging activities is just as important as networking with professionals and finding mentors or coaches. They serve as the energy that pushes you onward, keeping you excited and passionate about your job.

When you include these energizing activities in both your professional and personal life, you’re better able to keep your energy up, making every part of your path more fulfilling and successful.

Set Clear Boundaries and Maintain Them

Establishing and maintaining clear boundaries is like drawing a personal map that outlines your territories of work, personal life, and rest. It’s about knowing how much you can take on without compromising your well-being or the quality of your work.

Setting boundaries might involve:

  • Communicating your availability and work hours clearly to colleagues and clients.
  • Learning to say no or delegate tasks to ensure you don’t overextend yourself.

This step is crucial, especially when considering the importance of work-life balance and well-being we discussed earlier. It’s not just about protecting your time; it’s about respecting your energy and commitment to your goals.

By setting and respecting boundaries, you create a sustainable framework that supports your progress and health, allowing you to engage deeply in both your work and personal life without burnout.

Embrace Lifelong Learning and Professional Development

The learning doesn’t stop once you’ve landed a job; actually, that’s just the beginning. Keeping your skills sharp and your knowledge fresh is what lifelong learning and professional development are all about.

This could mean online courses, workshops, or even picking up new books related to your field. Why? Because the more you know, the more you can do and the more doors you can open.

So, make a commitment to keep learning, no matter what point you’re at in your career. This doesn’t have to be a chore—find topics that fascinate you, that you’re curious about, and dive in. This way, you’re not just following a career path—you’re paving it, one exciting learning experience at a time.

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Embracing the idea that you can always learn and grow is what we call having a ‘growth mindset’. It’s about saying, “I might not know how to do this yet, but I can learn.” And boy, does that attitude make a difference.

It opens you up to new experiences, challenges, and, yes, sometimes, failures. But that’s okay because each step is making you sharper, more adaptable, and ready for whatever career curveballs come flying your way.

So, give yourself the room to try, flub it, and then try again. Each attempt is a lesson, and every lesson makes you more ready to tackle your dream job. Keep pushing, keep growing, and keep reminding yourself that every master was once a beginner.

Reframe Setbacks as Learning Opportunities

Now let’s get real for a second—things won’t always go your way. You’ll face rejections and misses, and that’s part and parcel of the game. What matters is not the stumble but how you pick yourself up. Each setback is a chance to look at what didn’t work and why. What can you learn from that experience? How can you fine-tune your approach?

Remember, it’s not about beating yourself up. It’s about learning something valuable that you can use next time. Picture each setback as a stepping stone that’s getting you closer to where you want to be, not as a stop sign. Keep your chin up and your eyes on the prize, and use these moments to build resilience and wisdom.

Learn to Embrace and Learn From Failures

Embracing and learning from failures is like treating each stumble as a stepping stone rather than a stop sign. It’s understanding that every setback has a lesson tucked within it, waiting to be discovered.

This approach involves:

  • Shifting your perspective to view failures as integral parts of the learning process.
  • Reflecting on what didn’t work and why to adapt and refine your strategies moving forward.

Accepting your mistakes helps you grow stronger and wiser in your career. It means building a tough spirit that isn’t afraid of problems because each challenge moves you nearer to what you want to achieve.

Having the courage to face and learn from these mistakes is what really helps you improve and come up with new ideas.

Seek Feedback From Trusted Sources

Whether it’s a former boss, a mentor, or even a straight-shooting friend, having someone to give you honest feedback can be a game-changer. These folks can offer you advice and perspective that might just click everything into place.

Don’t be shy about asking for feedback after an interview, a presentation, or any new experience. A simple “What do you think I could do better?” can unlock a wealth of information. It’s not about taking criticism; it’s about gathering the tools to build a better you.

Just make sure you’re asking people who have your best interest at heart and be ready to listen and adapt.

Don’t Prioritize Money Over Passion

Chasing a fat paycheck might seem like the thing to do but hear this out—money can rent happiness, but it can’t buy passion. If your work doesn’t light you up, no amount of money will make that 9-to-5 feel any faster.

It’s all about balance. Of course, we all have bills to pay, but finding a career that you’re passionate about—that stirs your soul and gets you excited—is worth its weight in gold.

It’s okay to think about money. It’s important. But weigh it against how you feel on a Sunday night, thinking about the week ahead. If the thought of your work fills you with dread, it might be time to reconsider. Look for that sweet spot where your passion and a sustainable living meet.

That’s your career sweet spot, and it’s definitely out there waiting for you. Keep looking, and don’t settle for less.

"Choose your passion as your career path... You'd be left fighting for scraps with other folks who chose money instead of pursuing their passion."

Nikola Roza | CEO and Owner

Be Adaptable and Willing to Pivot When Necessary

Life’s all about change, and the same goes for finding the right career. Sometimes, the path you’re on just doesn’t fit anymore, and that’s perfectly okay. It’s brave to admit you need a change and even braver to actually go for it.

Being adaptable means you’re ready to learn new things, hop into different roles, or even take a step back if it means moving forward in the long run.

Don’t get stuck on one course if it’s making you miserable. If your gut’s telling you it’s time for a switch, listen. Careers are long, and it’s better to switch lanes and find something that feels better than to just press on and end up burnt out. Keep a lookout for new paths, and don’t be afraid to start a new chapter—it could be your best one yet.

Embrace the Journey and Be Patient

Embracing the journey of your career, with all its twists and turns, requires patience and an appreciation for where you are in the process. It’s understanding that achieving your goals takes time, and every experience along the way is valuable.

Cultivating patience can involve:

  • Setting realistic expectations for your growth and achievements.
  • Celebrating small victories and progress towards your larger goals.

Patience is a virtue, particularly when navigating your career.

"Don't give up. Don't stop pounding the pavement and making this new career work for you. I know it sounds cliche, but it's true. You will most likely have to go months before gaining some traction and momentum in your new job search/career path."

— Matthew Warzel, CPRW | President, MJW Careers, LLC

Take Action and Start Exploring Career Options

The most important thing to do is to start actively looking into different job paths. It’s good to think and plan, but you also have to actually do something about it.

It’s great to keep wanting to learn and get better, but you need to use what you learn to make moves. You have to get going, changing from just thinking about possible jobs to really trying them out. By being active in your search, you not only learn more, but you also might find chances you never thought of before.

"As a coach who works on this exact problem with clients, I often see this lack of clarity manifesting itself in the form of career paralysis - taking no steps because we're terrified about making the 'wrong decision.'"

— Chris Castillo | Clarity Coach and Founder, Empowered Achievers

Takeaways From the Experts

“Remember the ultimate wisdom. It is not what you do that fulfills you; it is how you do it. Any activity can be joyful when we are present and put our mind, heart, and soul into it.”

— Sudhir Chadalavada | Co-founder, Conscious Capitalism | Author, CEO Mastery Journey: 7 Breakthrough Principles that Propel Successful Leaders to Greatness

“Nowadays, we do not have to fit into one narrow box – we can create a career that is right for us, as long as there is a demand for it.”

Suzanne Wylde | Therapist and Holistic Coach, Moving Stretch

“You need to place a lot of thought into your career choice – but realize that you are human. Life requires hard decisions, but if you educate yourself properly and perform due diligence – you will be just fine!”

— Joel McLaughlin | Founder, Dataflurry.com

“You must continue to learn what you are good at and can present value as to a potential employer or client. What makes you unique? What makes you different? What excites you? Now let’s blend all of this and try to get you on a new path towards success and happiness.”

— Matthew Warzel, CPRW | President, MJW Careers, LLC

“The bottom line is this: Don’t fret many times we fall into careers by just living our lives.”

— Catherine Palmiere, SHRM-CP, CSP, CSC | President, Adam Personnel, Inc

“The takeaway: If you don’t know what career is right for you, don’t despair. Treat it like you’ve got a clean slate and take the above steps to find your dream career.”

— Maciej Duszynski | Resume Expert and Career Advice Writer, Zety

“I believe that the only way to find a career path that will fulfill you, that will feed your soul, that will nourish you is to listen to your intuition.”

Emily Eliza Moyer | Career Coach


Frequently Asked Questions

What if I choose a career and end up not enjoying it?

It’s not uncommon to change careers. If you find yourself unhappy, take time to reassess what’s missing in your current role, explore your interests and strengths again, and consider reaching out to a career counselor for guidance. Remember, it’s never too late to make a change that aligns more closely with your values and passions.

Can I have multiple career paths simultaneously?

Absolutely, the concept of a “portfolio career” is becoming more prevalent, allowing individuals to pursue multiple professional interests concurrently. This might involve a combination of part-time roles, freelancing, or consulting in various sectors that interest you.

How much should the opinions of family and friends influence my career choice?

While it’s valuable to consider insights from those who know you well, ultimately, your career choice should be yours to make. It should align with your personal goals, interests, and life plan. Listen to advice, but trust your judgment and aspirations.

Is it worth considering a career change later in life?

Absolutely. Many people change careers at different stages of their lives. If the change will improve your overall happiness and fulfillment, it’s worth considering. Keep in mind the financial and time investment required and how it aligns with your long-term goals.


Final Thoughts

As I reflect on my own career journey, I realize that the path is rarely straight or clear. There have been times of doubt, confusion, and even frustration. But through it all, I’ve learned that the key is to stay curious, stay open, and keep moving forward.

Every step, no matter how small, is progress.

So, to you, my friend, I say this: embrace the uncertainty and use it as an opportunity to explore, learn, and grow. Trust your instincts, follow your heart, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Believe in yourself, and know that you have what it takes to create a career and a life that you love.

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Jahrine is a seeker of knowledge and personal growth. When not exploring the worlds of self-help books and spirituality, she enjoys reading dark fiction and spending time with her beloved dogs. With diverse interests, including career development, travel, and poetry, Jahrine is constantly expanding her horizons and seeking new experiences.