I know I said on Tuesday that today’s articles would be about reaching any kind of life goal, and I’ll post that article, I promise. But, today I was feeling inspired to write specifically about career goals.
So that’s what I did.
If I had a dollar for every time a friend said to me: “I’m really not sure what I should do next with my career. All I know is that I’m not happy now…I think I should go back to school”, I would be a VERY rich woman.
Can we all just do ourselves a favour and collectively agree that shelling out thousands of dollars for slightly more structure to learning things that we could learn for free on the internet is crazy talk? ESPECIALLY if you already have a degree.
And yes, I can almost hear you yelling at the screen that it’s not really about the learning process, it’s about getting that piece of paper to prove to employers that you can do what they want.
Guess what? You will get as much disrespect from potential employers with that piece of paper as you do now!
Trust me, I’ve made that mistake. I went back to school. I got that piece of paper that says I know all about marketing. No one cared. AT ALL.
What employers want to see is that you have experience!
Once again, I hear you all shouting at your computers. And I get it, I too once believed in that infuriating catch 22: you can’t get experience without a job, but you can’t get a job without experience.
My question is this: why are you relying 100% on other people? Why aren’t you giving yourself experience?
Ok, well now I feel you giving me the mental finger through the computer screen. I don’t have a lot of tact, I probably deserve that.
But just listen, ok?
A Better Alternative to School
Instead of making yourself bankrupt in the hopes of one day earning a decent living, get PAID to learn new skills.
I’ve talked about using Upwork and the freelance lifestyle before, but maybe your end goal isn’t to become a freelancer. That’s ok. Think of it as a WAY better version of school.
Keep whatever job is making you miserable for the time being. Maybe cut your hours a bit if possible, but don’t do anything drastic.
Next, determine the minimum wage for your region. I can GUARANTEE that with a little effort you can find someone, somewhere willing to pay at least that much to do what you’re interested in. Even if you don’t have any experience.
This is one of those “Google is your best friend”, “fake it til you make it” kind of scenarios.
Make sure to keep a portfolio of your work, keep in touch with clients to get the results (so you can communicate them when you apply to a full-time job later on), and ask for references/feedback.
In a few months, you’ll have plenty of experience to put on a resume! And if it takes awhile? Who cares! You still have money coming in doing work that you like.
The only thing worse than spending money you don’t have on an education you don’t need is spending money you don’t have on an education you don’t need…that it turns out you hate!
The great thing about going to the school of freelance is that if it turns out you hate the work, you can pivot and find work that you like better.
You don’t have to feel a pit grow in your stomach, worrying about the time and money you wasted, because you got paid to learn the lesson.
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
I’m sorry to tell you this, but you don’t have a destiny. There is no one thing you’re MEANT to do. You will not spend your days listlessly wandering the earth until you find the one thing that will make you happy.
It’s ok to try things and change your mind. In reality, you are probably going to enjoy doing different things at different times in your life.
So get out there and start trying stuff!
You only need to know one thing here. If you ask someone at the end of their life what they regret, they will tell you all the things they didn’t do, not what they did.
This should be the greatest fear you have, and the thing that drives you to take chances constantly!
So stop letting all of your fears for the future prevent you from accomplishing what you want!
Keep these things in mind, and you should be able to find a job you actually enjoy in no time! But remember, it’s so easy to compare yourself to others and feel like you’re failing no matter what you’re accomplishing.
I love my job, but I’m not 100% where I want to be yet. When I look at all the people who are, I tend to forget about the years or luck it took them to get there. I have to tell myself everyday that it’s only about a personal best and being a better me than I was yesterday, not about the bragging rights that come with being on top.
I want to hear in the comments what’s holding you back from living the life you want!
Title photo by: Brooke Lark