How to get over being indecisive about choosing your career path
By Rachael Redgate (Geography, 2011), Life coach
Do you feel overwhelmed by the myriad of career options available to you? Are you afraid of making the wrong choice? Do you want to pursue something you’re passionate about – but aren’t sure what that is yet?
On a good day, it feels liberating to be on the doorstep of the next phase of your life with hundreds of different possibilities ahead of you. On a bad day, the weight of your impending decision lays heavy on your mind. You feel as though you’re about to walk through an unfamiliar door into a world where life will never be the same again.
Dun, dun, duuuunn…
I get it…I’ve been there. So how do you take action and choose what to do next without falling prey to a pattern of doubt and fear?
Let’s take a look at some new ways of thinking that will combat this. Here are five tips to help you to choose your next move from a new and different place.
1. Keep it light
Are you breathing? Do you have access to food and water? Yes? You’re okay – that’s a good start.
‘Bad days’ can be a result of looking at your future from a place of fear. This might be characterised by a heavy weightiness that makes life feel ‘oh so serious’.
Notice when this happens, breathe and give space for your fears to be heard. Maybe start a journal and simply write them down. This will help to lighten the load and ensure you’re not being driven by your fears.
To take this one step further, consciously choose to look at your life from a different place. Personally, I like to approach my life from a place of learning and adventure. Consider what choosing your career path that way might look like.
2. Take action on your curiosities
You don’t have to know whether you’ll like a job yet, and you’ll never find your passion just by thinking about it.
So, I invite you to take action.
Write down five career paths you’re curious about and take action with the one that piques your interest most. It could be to volunteer, get some work experience, an internship or even a temporary job within the field. That should get the ball rolling.
Work experience is not just a CV-enhancing decoration, it’s for you. Careers services are also a good place for resources and the University has a great one.
3. Feel the fear and do it anyway
As a recent graduate I imagine the ‘next step’ may have been more clearly paved for you in the past, from taking school exams to get into university to outlining your goals when you picked your degree subject.
Now, it seems different. The future looks unpredictable, and even if you had decided upon a career, the path isn’t so clearly marked. It’s the unknown. Uncharted territory is uncomfortable, scary and our mammalian brains really don’t like it.
Want to know a secret? You’re okay. The trick is to be aware of the discomfort and embrace it. Since there’s likely some action-oriented fear present, I’d advise you to get familiar with the mantra, “feel the fear and do it anyway”.
4. Know that you can change your mind
Picking a career today can be completely overwhelming. We’re spoilt for choice. My dad always used to tell me that getting my degree was important because it would give me more options. However, knowing how indecisive I am with a restaurant menu, I wasn’t too sure.
The beauty of picking a career is that you can always change course, even if you’re midway through. I did it, you can too.
It may sound simple but it’s easy to forget. Once you choose a career direction, you’re not committed for life. I know several people who’ve had multiple careers throughout their lifetime – and successful ones at that. If at some point you want to change, you can.
Choosing something, empowering a choice, is better than making no decision at all.
5. Put your big person pants on
You’re no longer an in-between lecture napper, sleep in till 3pm, party all weekend undergrad…
It’s time to put your ‘big person pants’ on and get on with it. Trust yourself, go with your gut instincts and self-reflect. Are there any dreams you’ve packed away? Are you harbouring a great idea? Yes? Then make it happen.
Grab life by the horns – it’s waiting for you! You’ll be surprised how many of us forget what we really want when the time to pursue it arrives.
Don’t forget, our Careers team is on hand to help. Whether you have a clear idea, or no plan, about what’s next, make the most of the expert advice available to you. Visit our Class of 2017 careers website.