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The answer could be closer than you think. In fact, part of the answer is already there, somewhere inside. If you really want your eventual working life (whether you’ve chosen further study or not) to be genuinely fulfilling and have meaning, the following questions should prepare you well:

  • What does work mean to you? What expectations do you have?
  • Who’s the happiest in their work out of everyone you now? Why is that? How did they get there?
  • What are you really good at? (List a few things, don’t disregard any because you think they aren’t proper subjects or could never be a proper job.)
  • Have you explored thoroughly (asking people already in the field) what career options exist in that subject (even the less obvious ones)?
  • Have you already contacted people who could give you useful perspective and experience in the areas you’re keen on? If not, why not? Discuss what’s holding you back with someone you respect. You’re the only person who can take this important next step.
  • What are you passionate about/what gives you a real sense of purpose?
  • Could you build this into your chosen path, even it’s by doing something partly-related, in order to return to the core passion later when you’ve gained more experience?
  • What qualities do you respect in others, especially people you might work with/be employed by?
  • Can you tell your ‘story’ to date in 3 – 5 minutes? It’s worth practising this – an employer, college or Uni interviewer will respond well to a confident, memorable (never arrogant) answer
  • What’s your impact? How would you want others to describe you, especially a boss/colleague?

It’s a great sign if you can answer the majority of these, even if it takes days of discussion with others. If you ignore them and yet you have no idea what to do next, or no motivation to explore your options, what’s the alternative?

By knowing yourself more fully, you stand the best chance of making better decisions.  Invest the time now in answering these questions (with help from people who know you) and you’ll have a stronger idea of what suits you, how you might like to work, what builds your energy, and what deflates it.  And if a ‘career’ is not what you’re after, that’s fine.  The important thing is to get yourself onto a path of positive thinking and from that, determination to pursue a goal that’s personal to you. To do that, you need a strong sense of self-awareness.  Good luck!

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