Sometimes when you’re reimagining your career, it can be challenging to think about what might make you excited. Especially if you’ve been stuck in what you think of as a dead-end job, it can be hard to get a mental picture of what could be an enjoyable line of work for you in the future.
So, if it’s challenging to picture something about your future, sometimes it can be helpful to go back to the start.
When we’re young, we have many fewer filters on the world than we do as we get older. As the world lays an increasing number of responsibilities on our shoulders, we became laden with “should’s” and “must’s” and “have to’s.”
So, ask yourself: When I was young, what sparked my imagination? What fascinated me? What did I study, not because I was told to, but because I wanted to?
Perhaps you were deeply interested in astronomy, or knitting, or sports, or math. That doesn’t mean that you should suddenly drop everything and become an astronomer, or a clothing maker, or an athlete, or a mathematician. But it can provide you with a spark or two - memories of topics that interested you in the past, and may hold the key to some things that may interest you in the future.
Now, there’s one risk about doing this. What if you thought back to when you were younger, and rather than getting excited, you became disappointed? What if all you focused on was what you haven’t done since you were young, instead of what have done?
Well, that’s probably not the most helpful takeaway. Any career change should always be forward-looking. We like to say, career planning uses your experiences of the past, filtered through your perceptions of today, to come up with what you might be able to do tomorrow. So, your opportunity is to develop ideas about what you can do from now on, as you imagine what your next steps might be.
Another way to get some good ideas for options to explore is to take JUMP on eParachute.com, and once you complete the program, surf through the various work options listed. Take one or two of the suggestions that interested you, and use them as a jumping-off point for some research. It’s entirely possible that you may be able to infuse some element from your childhood passions into work that you can do in the future.