The Student Room Group

How to decide a career?

I feel so scared about the future, I don't want to be stuck in a dead end job but I have no idea what kind of career I want. It seems like everyone else has a passion and goals but I don't. There are things I like but I don't know if I'd be good at it or if I want to do it for the rest of my life. I haven't even been to uni because I didn't know what to study and was scared of failure and debt. I'm 24 now I feel like I'm just drifting through life and I don't know how to fix it.
Original post by tacticalwater
I feel so scared about the future, I don't want to be stuck in a dead end job but I have no idea what kind of career I want. It seems like everyone else has a passion and goals but I don't. There are things I like but I don't know if I'd be good at it or if I want to do it for the rest of my life. I haven't even been to uni because I didn't know what to study and was scared of failure and debt. I'm 24 now I feel like I'm just drifting through life and I don't know how to fix it.


Has fear paralysed you so much that it has become a self fulfilling prophecy?

In terms of ideas for careers, I recommend looking at personality tests and looking at the recommended careers that they suggest. (My preference would be the Myer Briggs tests). Having said that, personality tests are more like art forms than actual science, so take their suggestions with a pinch of salt. Personality tests are good as starting points though.

When it comes to goals, surely you know what you want to achieve within your lifetime? Consider:

Do you want a family?

Is work life balance important to you?

What are your values?

What makes you come to life? What excites you?

If you could do anything in life and you have all the means to do it, what would it be?

What are your common habits?

What are your likes and dislikes?

Who are your role models? Who were your sources of inspiration? What jobs do they do?

What jobs do the people around you do?

What are your hobbies?

What do you spend most of your time thinking about?

What makes you happy?



You say there are things you like, but you don't know whether you would be good at it. It's funny you say that because the most successful people succeed in their fields not because they have god-like intellect or natural born talent. They succeed because they have grit; they keep at it and don't give up. See the following: https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverance?language=en
If it's a like, it's a starting point. Look into what you like and see if you can draw out any common themes and understand why you like them.

The average person changes careers 4 times in their lives. You don't have to stick to one thing should you decide to switch careers at some point (it's difficult mind you, but not impossible). Only a minority of us would ever be so lucky to find where we belong, what we love, and pursue it throughout our lives. A dead end job is not a death sentence; it's a sign you should find something else to do.

Fear is also a factor in people's failures. I'm not saying blind optimism would bring about success, but fear does get in the way. The people who manage to score high in exams and tests tend to be the most calm. I can personally attest to this with some of my exams and difficult subjects.

Should you decide uni isn't for you, it's fine so long you don't need a degree to do what you want. There is only a handful of jobs that require degrees, and they tend to be in:

Education

Research

Most jobs in healthcare

You can get away with not doing a degree via a degree apprenticeship for the following:

Law

Economics

Architecture

Engineering


Other jobs tend to ask for professional qualifications, if they do, and these can cost £1000 for each level. Other than that, you don't need specific qualifications to do the job.

Until I know what sort of job you want, it's difficult for me to determine whether you need to go down the uni route. Chances are, you won't.

You also seem to be lacking a role model on how to go about a career. Should you need to, speak to a career coach.

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