When you’re young you assume everyone has it figured out. They have their career goals sorted.
That’s not always the case. Sometimes you have no idea. And whilst schools might push finding your career path by 21 and, life mappings like the be-all and end-all. It’s okay to not have a plan. I’m going to explain the problems I had decided on a career path and why it's okay if you don’t know what you’re doing with your future either.
Teacher as the default
During Sixth Form I started volunteering at my old secondary school as a sports coach for the after-school club. Which, became a part-time job. I loved the job. For one hour a week, I would go to my old school, teach them a sport such as: Boccia or Sitting Volleyball and chat to them to make sure they were okay.
By this point, I had it drilled into me to become a teacher by my grandparents, and the teachers at the secondary school.
I kept the advice in mind. Aware I would be good as an English teacher (math and I do not mix.) But I didn't see a future in education.
In fact, when choosing my degree at university I didn’t even check that I could become a proper teacher! (luckily I could!) and so, I kept it in the back of my head that I would become a teacher. Even though I wasn’t sure what I wanted for my future.
Honestly, if you asked me when I was 18 what my future held. I’d use the default ‘teacher’ as a half-hearted answer. Terrified, my future had no direction. Wondering if I was normal for not knowing where my future career was.
Fast forward a year or two and I’m in university studying my dream course– although sometimes it was a nightmare. And life has changed dramatically.
I’m still working at the school and I’m still in Uni. Unfortunately, there was a death in the family. Meaning, I had to worry even more about keeping afloat with normal adult-sized bills. such as: Rent and water rates and, not the bills students pay at a discount. because they’re students!
This meant I had to think about my future; what would be sustainable to enable me to stay in my flat. The dream to become a writer was now a distant memory. Being a copywriter didn’t suit me. I could be an English teacher in a secondary school- maybe even the one I was currently working at. There was some love for what my future career would be.
But I really wanted to do a job that involved writing as an assistant editor or a freelance journalist.
However, even with all the life planning and mapping in the world, it wouldn’t help me to get my dream job. Because life had forced me on to another path. Making me feel paranoid I wouldn’t succeed and how everyone probably already figured this out!
Graduation was a year away, to be a teacher the preparation had to start early. so I began looking at what Universities would take me to do a PGCE for teaching at secondary schools.
I easily found a place near to me that was wheelchair accessible and I could easily get to and from. The only problem was that I was on a state benefit and they wouldn’t be able to pay me whilst doing the PGCE and considering you can’t work a full-time job during a masters. This completely derailed my plans.
So I ended up looking at places for a salaried teaching course and found a couple of places where I could possibly teach. I began ringing up references and telling them to be prepared for a call or email from UCAS about my application at some point that year.
Now we come to the personal statement- 400 words where I use the cliches of passion for teaching and talk about all the extracurricular stuff I do.
Now, I think of myself as an alright writer and with the personal statement, I could barely write a paragraph, and the last time I did write a personal statement I had a first draft ready within an hour.
That's when I realized that I didn’t want to do a teaching course and I didn’t truly see myself as a teacher. Yes, I can teach; I do enjoy helping people gain new knowledge. I just didn’t want to work in education, not full-time. So, I stopped writing the personal statement and began looking at the content writer, copywriting and editorial assistant jobs I thought weren’t available to me. Once Uni was finally finished I worked on my portfolio and applied for the jobs I always wanted in the writing industry.
However, although I had a plan now I still felt like a disappointment because I had gone the scenic route and that's when I realized:
Whilst life mapping and goal setting are good options for planning out your future. Sometimes even with that, you have no clue what you want to do. With how much pressure we put on finding a career it can make knowing what we want for ourselves difficult.
Don’t let it get to you.
Sometimes I think this push on having everything set and planned through various methods (not just mind mapping) can be detrimental.
Don’t get me wrong sometimes people do need a push or have to have some things pre-planned in advance.
However, there is a balance and sometimes that balance is too much in favor of planning things out. It doesn’t allow you to explore new things and ask yourself what you really want because you feel forced to stick to the plan.
And then sometimes you feel unfulfilled because you haven’t done what you really want. And other times when you haven’t planned you feel guilty because everyone has done so and you feel left behind and become worried you're drifting when most times that’s just not the case. It can put too much pressure on people to figure out what they want when they’re not ready. Making everything seem more daunting when it doesn’t need to be
And then for others, they’ve got a plan and no plan B if it all falls through and there becomes a pressure they don’t need from others to make a plan B.
Sometimes having no plan is okay too- as long as you work as hard as possible.
Ultimately not knowing what you want for the future is okay. 99% of the time no one does, even my path took some turns. Life will work out eventually and you’ll find what you want to do in no time- Trust me!
It’ll be okay. Be kind to yourself if you’ve not got a plan. It’ll be figured out eventually. Just remember no matter what you do and where you work you do it to the best of your ability.
Thank you for reading. Career goals and why it's okay if they change.
Share, Leave a comment, and tell us what you think, we always love to hear from you...