Monday, May 7, 2012

If you could do anything

One of my favourite things to ask a person is "If you were to be offered your ideal job tomorrow, what would it be?" 

I recently asked it on this blog, in fact, in response to my own thoughts on what would count as the best job offer someone could make me. The answers I got were fabulous. Not because of what people listed as their ideal jobs, but because so many people who responded were already doing things to make that offer happen for themselves.

It's great when you can pin-point just what you want to do with your life, or with a chunk of it, or at least at the moment. But what happens when you feel stuck? What happens when someone asks you what you'd do if you could do anything and your brain pulls up a big, fat blank?
I just thought this was an inspiring photo.

First of all, that's totally O.K.  There seems to be one of those silly 'rules' that says you must know what you want to do with your life. Ridiculous! I remember when I was about to graduate from High School and it occurred to me that I hadn't really made a specific career choice. I knew writing was important and something I'd always do. I was sort of interested in social work at the time. I'd been volunteering in youth organisations and had an interested in being employed through those too, maybe. But my mind wasn't made up and I really wasn't sure at all.

That's the beauty of life though. Uncertainty breeds curiousity and curiousity can lead to the most helpful or incredible discoveries.

My first job involved working with youth living or just leaving care. It was great experience just dropped in my lap, and because I didn't have a narrow view of exactly what I wanted it was an opportunity I was open to. It also gave me a lot of insight in what being a social worker would be like and guess what? I realised I wouldn't want to be a social worker after all.

How fortunate was that? I was able to learn that it wasn't for me without investing a lot of time and energy into an education that I wouldn't have wanted to use.

The thing is, your mind will change. Certainly, there are some things which might never go away. I am still a writer. I love writing. In fact, I'm currently working on getting my first book ready to send to agents. That didn't go away and I doubt that it ever will.

I also used to be quite an activist. I was really passionate about picking a cause and immersing myself in it. I'd write letters and build websites and attend rallies. I'd make my voice heard and help others to do the same.

Now-a-days I still have a lot of things I've got strong opinions about, but I no longer feel the need to go out and join a rally. I choose to put my energy into different things now, whilst still adhering to a level of social awareness I came to appreciate from being such an involved activist.

One thing feeds into another. You may have no idea what you want right now. You may find yourself at a loss because for so long you felt that you had it sorted and knew just what you wanted. But nothing lasts forever and despite the 'rules', not having a clue is pretty normal, at any age.

The trick is keeping your eyes open, watching for those opportunities, and listening to your gut. You won't always be aimless. Something will come along, and trust me, you'll be ready.


  1. I so agree! I picked my uni degree, largely because the uni guide happened to open on that page and it sounded good! I've never been someone with a set path in mind and that has allowed me to explore all sorts of random side roads career wise. My boyfriend worries about that, but I feel it is building up a wealth of experience that is going to let me have the amazing jobs as I get older because I will have so much more to choose from with my diverse experience.

  2. The thing I worry about is being locked into a narrow path that doesn't give me the space to pursue what I love.


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