Written by: Ana Angelique, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This common and seemingly simple question is something, as adults, that we all ask young children, and one that we would have undoubtedly had to answer at least once in our lives. But the question is almost a loaded gun, because it implies that we should intrinsically “know” what and who we will be when we’re older. And we should know this from a young age. Or at least have a good idea about what it looks like.
The pressure only mounts when you’re in high school and you’re choosing your elective subjects. Well intentioned teachers remind you of the importance of choosing the “right” subjects because those subjects will pave the way of your future. Again, it’s implied that you ought to know what you want to do with and in your life, and that you should have all the answers now.
It’s not just the teachers; It’s parents and relatives and probably even a neighbour or two, who will be all-too willing to remind you that you’re choosing your future when you choose what to study - especially what you choose to study in university… and that you need to choose wisely… and that you won’t get a decent job without the right degree to back you up.
It is true. To a point.
You do need a good education, but what you choose to study in your younger years does not have to determine your entire future. You are allowed to change. You are allowed to grow. The world around us constantly moves. The courses that are available change over time. Everything evolves. Including us.
Besides, how do you choose what to study when you don’t know what you want to do as a job? When you have no real idea of what your life will or “should” look like?
No matter where you are in your life, give yourself permission to go back to your roots, your values, your wants, and the time to think through all the many options that is currently available today and the ones that could be available tomorrow.
For those who “need” to make a choice, try these steps:
1. List down the things that you like to do. Flip this around to the things that you don’t like to do if you have trouble coming up with what you enjoy. Include things like whether you like being inside or outside, if you prefer being with people or animals (or neither), if you like working in groups or alone, if you enjoy helping people (or not), if you’re creative and enjoy that freedom or if you prefer structure with what you do.
2. Use the MoSCoW prioritisation method to group your answers – i.e. Must Have (mandatory), Should Have (important but not essential), Could Have (nice to have), Will Not Have (don’t need to have but a nice bonus if it’s included). This helps you when it’s time to narrow down your options.
3. List out the things that you value. This could include your morals and beliefs, and your wants, like where you want to live, how much money you’d like to make, what kind of lifestyle you’d like to have. For instance, you might want to be filthy rich and head up a major company (because that sounds like a pretty cool ambition and lifestyle), but you don’t believe in gambling, you’d want to rule out the betting and gambling industry, so you could either list it as a Must Not, or write all the industries that do align to your values.
4. List out all the things that you’re good at. What talents and strengths do you have? Try not to be too harsh on yourself here and just write this list without thinking about how you could use it in a job. Include the things that you might not think are important, like playing video games or making things out of paper. Everything has a skill associated with it.
5.Do some research and see what kinds of jobs match up to your list. Try keyword searches in job listing websites or look through courses available at universities to see what interests you and then see what jobs it leads to. Don’t be discouraged if there isn’t anything “perfect” – you’re just trying to narrow down your choices. Try to keep an open mind, because you might find something that you didn’t think of and something that really excites you.
Keep adding to and amending your list. Give yourself some time to do this. Don’t be afraid of changing your mind either. I don’t have enough fingers to tell you how many people I know who have completely changed their career in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond. It’s never too late. Think about it this way: If you’ve tried something and found that you don’t like it, then you’ve also narrowed down the list or traits of things that you could do. Give yourself the permission to choose how you pave your path in this world.
Remember that life is meant to be enjoyed. If there’s no joy in what you do, then why do it? How you choose to live your life is up to you. It is yours, after all.
Ana Angelique, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
After overcoming some major life challenges on her own, Ana Angelique believes that others shouldn’t have to struggle in silence; Life is complex enough, but it is also beautiful, and it should be enjoyed.
As a wellbeing life coach and mentor, Ana’s positive approach to life, her captivating and addictive energy, and her creative thinking, enable her to empower her clients to take charge of their future and regain control. She has an insider’s perspective - one that’s been gained from an international corporate background, that enables her to relate to and understand, the real challenges faced by people every day.
Thought-provoking, persuasive, and inspirational, Ana has natural teaching abilities and is known for her unique perspective on situations.