How to Figure Out What You Want to Be When You Grow Up

Even after we leave school, get a job and start earning reasonable money, most of us still have no idea what we want do with our lives.

Studies show that the average worker will have more than ten jobs and four career changes in their lifetime, which suggests that finding the answer can be tough for many people.

If you’re still struggling to figure things out, here are four tips to help you work out what you want to be when you eventually ‘grow up’.

1. Ask yourself the tough questions

Before you embark on some ‘career soul searching’, firstly figure out what kind of lifestyle you want to lead.

Are you chasing the big bucks? Do you want a job that will easily accommodate having a family down the track? Would you rather be your own boss?

Having a clear view of what your priorities are in life is a good starting point for narrowing down what kind of work you might be interested in.

2. Get an outsider’s perspective

Call up your mate, Mum or middle grade teacher for their honest opinion on what career path they think you’d be suited to, and where your talents, capabilities and potential lie.

They might suggest a job that you hadn’t dreamed of considering, but with someone else’s encouragement you’ll be instilled with the confidence to pursue it. Just make sure you ask someone who you respect and trust to provide sound advice.


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3. Take a government quiz!

Everyone loves those quizzes you find on Buzzfeed or in trashy magazines, right?

Well ‘Job Outlook’, an Australian Government initiative, has something similar for students, job seekers and career-changers to determine what types of work they might be suited to.

At the end of the quiz, the software spits out a table of your key skill areas, and also lists potential jobs you might like to try your hand at.

There are loads of other free career aptitude tests out there as well, which will give you an indication of your talents (and could uncover skills you didn’t know you had).

4. Sign up for some work experience

Why not strip off your current job and try on a brand new one?

We’re talking about signing up for voluntary work experience. It’s a great way to try something new that you think you might enjoy doing, but without the full-time commitment.

Your best bet is to call up prospective companies to arrange a few days of ‘shadowing’, but don’t be turned off immediately if it takes a couple of calls to land a placement or you wind up with a tough task master.

Working for free during your own time demonstrates work ethic, initiative and motivation, so chances are if you nail it, you might find yourself with a job offer or at least some handy industry contacts.

If, despite all your efforts, you’re still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, then maybe the  answer is to not grow up at all.


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