It is sometimes easier to know what you don’t want to do in life versus what you want to do in life. I have quickly come to this realization in high school when I worked for a local grocery store stocking shelves. At $6 per hour, I knew it would not be enough to support my short term goals or long term goals. Even with better pay, I knew I did not want to do the same thing again and again everyday. When I thought about what I did want to do, it was not quite that simple. I could think of jobs I did not want such as being a policeman, fireman, biologist, teacher, and so on, but I could not think of jobs I really did want. I believe part of this was simply ignorance to opportunities out there.
Occasionally, on an interview the interviewer may ask you, where do you see yourself in 5 years? It is often difficult to decide where we want to be in 5 years and even more difficult communicating it to someone you hardly even know. To better understand where we want to be in 5 years, it may make sense to list out where you do not want to be. These are the areas you want to stay far away from and avoid any path that leads there. On the other hand, if you can list a few places where you could see yourself and would be proud to be, that would also be helpful.
One career path I saw for myself was to be a chemist. I knew I needed to complete high school, complete college, and possibly get a masters degree and possibly a doctorate. Once the goal was set to be a chemist and I knew what needed to be accomplished, it all came down to hard work and consistency. This can be applied to any career goal anyone has for the most part. There will be times when you are faced with challenge after challenge. This would just need to be worked through.
I would mention lastly, finding a career is not always easy. As mentioned, try eliminating the careers you would not want to do. Group them together and extract common themes if possible. For example, maybe the common theme you do not prefer is math and science. At this point, you would know you would not want to be a physicist, chemist, or mathematician. If you do not like getting your hands dirty, then you would probably not want to be a construction worker, machinist, or garbage man. We should also realize our career goals do change with time and new experiences. My goals today are very different from my goals years ago in high school and college. We need to be flexible and able to adjust where needed.