How to figure out what to be when I grow up -- before I reach retirement age?
January 17, 2011 5:26 PM   Subscribe

How to figure out what to be when I grow up -- before I reach retirement age?

After spending a decade meandering down an uncertain career path, I know what kind of work I'm good at and what kind really shouldn't hit my desk. But my job doesn't really follow that. I call UNCLE! Looking for the right professional to help me figure this out. The career coaches and vocational counselors I've considered so far don't seem to have a very scientific approach. (Yes, I already know what color my parachute is!)
posted by Kalatraz to Work & Money (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Only a decade? I am 45, and my career is at a nexus too.

"The career coaches and vocational counselors I've considered so far don't seem to have a very scientific approach."

That's because there isn't really a science to this. Sure you can take aptitude tests, but those will tell you what you already know.

What do you want to do? Visualize it. Visualize the steps you take getting there.

Don't be surprised if you don't really want to do anything. The whole "I wanted to be a CEO from the day I was born" thing is a myth. They put people like that in magazines because they are weirdos newsworthy.

If you don't want to do anything, well, I dunno. I'd be happy digging ditches if it would pay the bills.
posted by Xoebe at 7:10 PM on January 17, 2011

I am assured that retirement age isn't the end of figuring out what you want to be.
posted by dws at 9:17 PM on January 17, 2011

Try going on "informational interviews" in a variety of fields- see what piques your interest. Career coaches can probably help direct you once you have a better sense of where you want to go.

Its definitely good that you know what you are good at- so many skills are transferable if you know how to market yourself.
posted by tessalations999 at 9:30 PM on January 17, 2011

Don't waste your money on career or life coaches; do what makes you happy. Only you know what really turns you on, and you certainly don't need the purchased affirmation of a total stranger to pursue this end.

But whatever you do, try to maximise income while keeping your spending low and your rate of savings high. Avoid debt and, perhaps most importantly to your goal of being happy in your work, avoid debt.

You must acquire your own capital otherwise you'll always have to work for a living, and you might have to do things that don't make you happy to make ends meet.
posted by Mutant at 3:14 AM on January 18, 2011 [5 favorites]

Mutant speaks the bitter truth.
posted by phrontist at 3:44 AM on January 18, 2011

Experimentation over self-analysis:
posted by zeek321 at 6:42 AM on January 18, 2011

I'm well into "retirement," and I try to stay busy with the usual volunteering/social-life stuff.

But I have no idea what I'd like to do most of the time, and really never did, despite a career that produced a lot of satisfaction and pleasure and what some would call "success" and a modest public recognition. And so I'd suggest: Get used to it. It may never go away.

I mean life is like that. It's not neat, there aren't any real lasting answers, good luck and good choices today can be followed by bad ones tomorrow, and you may still end up confused and uncertain whether you did the right thing no matter what you did or didn't do.

I think that's the unhappy truth: There aren't really any answers. Doesn't mean you can't create a pretty good life even with a lot of false starts and uncertainty. Good luck.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 9:47 AM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well, one thing's for sure. No matter how much you love a certain activity or field, making a job or business out of it will eventually kill any passion you originally had and you'll become bored and sick of it.

Kinda sad, but I've seen it happen so many times.
posted by 00dimitri00 at 5:56 AM on January 19, 2011

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