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How did you find what you wanted to do for work?

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Hi all. I guess I just need a bit of motivation or some positive stories of hope to keep my spirits up right now.


I'm in my early 20's, so it's not as if I've wasted a lot of time in my life trying to find a career that's right for me, but I am frustrated and feel as if I am at a dead end at this point in time.

Currently I work part-time in a job I really dislike (purely for the money) and am working as an artist. Lately (say 3-4 months) I have been incredibly depressed (mostly about my future) and it's causing impossible strain on my work and how I produce work (or lack thereof) and am in a rut.


Basically, I never completed high school. Outside of high school I got a degree in Design, which I thought for years was what I wanted to do, turned out I really disliked it when I tried it professionally. Now I'm just working a mediocre job and sort of fell into fine art in the past year or so and have done some exhibitions, made some money, got my name out there a bit, etc... However, it's not what I want to do and my passion has been lacking thus.

I DO think I am creative, I love making things, and have a lot of ideas, but this is not something I ever wanted to pursue professionally. Quite frankly, I want a more stable income and think that if I try and pursue art full-time it will be a nerve racking and difficult experience for me (I know a lot of established artists and hear a lot of their experiences!)


Anyway, my point is, I have no idea what I want to do in life. I feel I have tried a lot of things that I felt were passions and still have no idea, but hey, at least I have crossed a lot of things off the list!


I am thinking that next year I should go back to University and get a degree so that in a few years time I can be financially stable and start to think about kids, family, etc... But I don't even know what I should study, or what I want to do.


How did you work out what your passions were? What you really wanted to do job-wise? How old were you when you found a 'dream' job?

I feel I have very little motivation for anything in life.. However, when I truly discover a passion for something, I become relentlessly determined... and it has been a long time since I felt that kind of determination and motivation for anything... I really wish I could.


Thanks ena as always x

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I lost my spot on a fellowship I was pursuing last year. Looking back I realized how soul-sucking that position was and how I did not get any inspiration from the people around me, and that attitude and lack of focus of my other colleagues rubbed off. And it was toxic.


Simply put, I was placed in a position where I had to think about how I could invest in the academic and professional background I did have and how I could make the most of it.


It's clear to me now about six months out what I need to do, and what I want to do. I just wish I had that renaissance earlier. I'm at another difficult crossroads as to how I am going to move forward to fix this, but at least I've identified the base from which I need to start. I know I am reinventing my career at this point. It's tough, but I think it's a good experience to have in life, as more of us will be having do that over the course of our working lives than ever before.

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Have you tried volunteering different places? Do you like working with people? You sound like you might want kids; do you think you'd like being an art teacher? You'd get to be creative, and it'd be very rewarding


I'm 21 and still kind of figuring it out too. I just graduated in May with a degree in biology and didn't know what I wanted to do. I worked a research job last summer and wasn't a fan So a month ago I just picked up and moved to a really cool city and am now manager of a pet-sitting company, lol. It's definitely not something I want to do forever, but it's fun and the position will look great on a resume. The city I'm from is pretty dumpy and definitely not as progressive as where I live now, and that inspired me to decided to pursue a masters in sustainability so I can help cities all over. Plus I'd get to travel Something I've always wanted to do.

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Think back to when you were young a child or even an early teen and what caught your interest? What was it you wanted to become when you grew up? Those are the things you should pursue.


Thanks for the replies everyone!


I guess when I was a kid and in early teen hood there were only a few things I really wanted to do. The first and foremost was Graphics & Web Design... I treated it like an obsession so it only made sense to study it at University, which I did... However I didn't like to study it. I still think it is an option for me in the future, to do a bit of freelance but right now that's not where I want to head.. I know I have the ideas, skills, and conviction to be a good designer, it's just a matter of timing (when all else fails I guess!)

Other than that I always wanted to get into the publishing industry. Be it in editing, sub-editing, designing book covers, etc.... I got a lot of awards and won a lot of competitions in High school for writing, and I love it still, now.

I am thinking that maybe I should study a publishing & editing course? However, I feel I haven't put enough effort into that realm (reading & writing) and I feel if I study it, I will be leagues behind all the other students? If I, say, was really into pursuing it as a career through high school and up until now, maybe I would absolutely kill it at university, and would have read & written a lot more than I have, the past few years.

But, having said that, there's no harm in trying, I guess.

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There are organizations out there for just about everything, maybe you can join one and hone your craft. Then you wouldn't feel like such a novice, but having said that...you actually won awards!? Well you're already off to a great start IMO.

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I feel I have very little motivation for anything in life..


Are you sure you're not dealing with a little depression? It's unusual to have NO passion towards anything. Many people get stuck in dead end or unfulfilling jobs because they don't follow their passions. There has to be something that turns you on - music, art, cooking, people, numbers, colors, design, fabric, furniture, cars, medicine, etc. Anything that's a hobby?


I lucked into a career that I love, so I truly feel like I've never worked a day. I own a business, work a ton of hours, and the work is so fun, it gives me a rush, and has for my entire career.

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I know that others will disagree with me, but I think it can be prudent to separate work from hobbies. For your career, find something that you're good at, that you wouldn't mind doing for ten or more years, that is in demand, and that pays well. Then, use that career as a means to achieve your dreams.


I, too, have always liked creative writing. But, to be honest, the likelihood of establishing a career in that field is rather poor. I believe it would be worthwhile to take some classes on the subject, but out of personal interest, not career ambition.


I made a mental inventory of fields with good career prospects -- fields like nursing, stenography, accounting, drafting, engineering and programming -- and the list goes on. I tried to picture myself in each position. Sure, the idea of getting to talk to a wide variety of people as a nurse sounded beneficial to my writing pursuits, but I just couldn't see myself as a nurse.


I ended up taking courses in the latter three disciplines: drafting, engineering and programming. As it turns out, programming came very naturally to me. I actually continued on to get my degree as an engineer, simply because of the additional versatility. But, upon graduation, I started work programming as a software engineer.


But as a software engineer, I can still write. When I come home at the end of the day, the left side of my brain feels rather spent, but the right side is ready to go! As an added benefit, having a stable career affords me peace of mind -- which I believe helps when writing -- and the right books, the right tools, and a good consultant.


Anyways, that's my story. Unfortunately, there's no right answer to your question. Each of us has gotten to where we are now via our own, unique path, and none of us knows anything different.


Good luck!

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I know that others will disagree with me, but I think it can be prudent to separate work from hobbies. For your career, find something that you're good at, that you wouldn't mind doing for ten or more years, that is in demand, and that pays well. Then, use that career as a means to achieve your dreams.

It really depends on what your "dreams" are. Sure, some dreams are extremely difficult to make a living off of, but then other dreams are impossible to do in your spare time and you pretty much have to make a living out of it or you'll never get anywhere with it. By "dream" I mean pretty much any creative job.


As for how I figured out what I really loved...


I grew up playing violin, and I loved it (I still do) but I soon realized what the real job prospects were for this. I either teach (most likely), play full-time in a big city symphony (where you have to be, really, really, really, really, really, really good at it), or be a touring soloist (where you have to be GODLIKE). I'm not a teacher by any stretch of the imagination, and while I was good enough to play professionally and make a decent amount of money doing so, I knew I would never get good enough to survive solely from that and it would be an on-the-side, part-time job at best.


So in college I had a bit of a problem. I got a music scholarship but I didn't want to be a music major - so I tried all sorts of different classes for different fields. For a while I thought I wanted to be an engineer like my father, although surprisingly, he was not enthused by this (turns out he doesn't even like his job that much and wishes he had gone for something he loved more). One college calculus class was all it took to see what he was talking about - and I actually LIKE math and excelled at it in high school. Then I considered getting into biomedical sciences - some really cool stuff going on there and I caught on to things really quickly, but I couldn't see myself doing it for years and actually feeling fulfilled. Both are lucrative, in-demand careers that I didn't go for despite being good at them. I tried even more classes in various fields and NONE of them really stuck with me.


So after that I decided for a semester to become... a music major. Then I was reminded of my original reasoning behind not being a music major in the first place. College was a turbulent time for me, as you can tell . So, I compromised and focused on a career that is both creative AND technical while still being related to music, and went for music recording/engineering. A short time in the audio engineering classes, and I was introduced to film sound design, which was a LOT of fun and encouraged me to look into it further. I eventually decided on a media major where my thesis project was sound designing a short film. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Before I knew it I was applying to film graduate school in LA, I came out here and did my sound thing in school - which introduced me to picture editing and now I'm proficient in both. Now that I have my [useless] masters degree as of three weeks ago, I'm going for editing with sound as a backup and have already found a job in TV to get me started.


Long story short, I just tried all sorts of crap until I found something that stuck. It made me a very well-rounded individual (and put me further in debt than I'd like), but I finally KNOW I'm on the right track.

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