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I don’t know what I’m doing

I’ve always been super jealous of the people that have always known what they wanted to be. It always seemed like there were loads of them, when in reality it was maybe a handful of kids. But they were so certain that they wanted to be doctors or lawyers or police officers, and their certainty always cast a shadow of doubt onto me and my life and what I was going to be. Long story short: I STILL HAVE NO IDEA.

I mentioned in a previous post that University wasn’t the right path for me, and I stand by that, only now it feels like I was silly not to go and that a degree would actually be pretty good right about now. I know that I’m only 20 and I literally have my whole life ahead of me, but I want the here and now to be meaningful and worthwhile. Right now, it doesn’t feel like it is. I don’t know how to tell if I’m in my forever career or not, and having that doubt makes me think that I’m not. Plus, I don’t want to waste my time on something meaningless. Right now, everything feels meaningless. I have fallen down a dark, depressive wormhole and I can’t get myself back out of it.

I’ve always been indecisive like that, I think I’ve ‘settled on‘ more careers than days I’ve been alive, and they’ve always fallen through. There’s been teaching, psychologist, author, journalist, digital marketer – none of them seem to stick. I’ve only ever made it to actually being one of those, and I’m worried that I’m going to turn into that person who just jumps from job to job, never settling and never feeling satisfied. Although, changing jobs is pretty scary and I’m probably more likely to stay moderately unhappy in a career than hand in my notice multiple times because that shit is terrifying.

It’s really, really difficult to have any sort of idea about what’s going on with your life when you don’t have an end goal. At different times, I’ve thought I had an end goal, and now that the most recent one (the one I thought was the end goal) is now falling through, it’s causing all sorts of mental breakdowns and life crises. I felt good for approximately 6 months, thought I had my life together and my future sorted, and then the crippling reality that I don’t know what I’m doing sinks in and I’m right back to square one.

The reality that I have absolutely no idea what to do next is literally terrifying. The only thing stopping me from having a real, serious breakdown is writing this; writing is so therapeutic for me and the perfect way to let off some steam. Also, I’m hoping someone else can tell me they went through something similar and they’re okay now. How do you people without degrees become a person to look up to? Because that’s what I want. And that is not what’s happening. I want to be an inspiration for the other people that struggle in an educational setting – proof that you can get places without a degree. How do I actually do that?!

The main issue I have is that I don’t want to waste 4 years of my life at university to either not get a job at the end (if I pick a degree based on my hobbies) or to get a job I end up unhappy in because I picked a degree to help my career and then decided I no longer like that career. Someone just needs to beat the indecisiveness out of me because it’s my worst trait and I do not want it anymore.

My hobbies aren’t really things I want to have a job in. I do love to write more than anything else and I considered doing journalism for a while until realising I don’t take being managed very well and would hate to be told what to write about everyday (hence the blog). I’m also very interested in crime and the minds of killers etc, but psychology didn’t work out very well for me (too many numbers) and I can’t see myself wanting a career in anything to do with forensics. You see my issue?

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I assumed digital marketing was the right path for me because technically, social media is one of my hobbies and it’s something I would consider myself to be quite good at. I love creating content for social media and it feels like a sensible career path because social media isn’t going anywhere, and brands need social media to get themselves going. There’s probably always gonna be jobs in social media. Shame I can’t see myself in any of them. I don’t have the skills or training or experience to do the marketing for a big brand or work at a super cool marketing agency that has office dogs (the dream).

I’m just really, really stuck and genuinely don’t know what to do. Is it a good thing that I’ve had this crisis so young and could probably make preparations to experiment with a few different roles over the next few years? Or do I need to stop being so fussy and just get on with it? Why couldn’t I have been one of those kids that was dead set on being a nurse from age 5? I don’t have the answers to these questions.

The layout of this post reminds me of when I first started dabbling with lifestyle posts and didn’t really know what I was doing. The official running theme of this post and my whole entire blog, most likely. It’s a bit disjointed and genuinely a layout of my thoughts as they came to my head – old school Lauren style.

I need any sort of guidance right now, any advice or helpful, reassuring words from people who have been through something similar. Basically, this is a cry for help and a “please give me money so I can be happy” prompt for brands to give me sponsored posts. Just kidding. 

View Comments (2)
  • I am only 18 but until now I had gone through so many career ideas! I was always so unsure, and hated the “so what career do you want when you’re older?” question. I hated when anyone spoke about the future. Recently I went to some uni open days and have finally decided to study Law at a nearby uni, but I am still not 100% on how things will go afterwards, and like you, that is scary! I know advice from someone younger than you probably sounds silly, but what I try to remember is that the main thing is enjoying and making the most of the present/where that takes us and you can change careers pretty much at any point in life.

    Loved the honest and relaxed post, and the photos are fab! ✨✨

  • Hi there! Just a few thoughts… Have you listed what you know you DON’T like? I mean, in details. Reading your post, the uni thing seems more about fear of commitment than a dislike for formal education for example. In this case, a flexible modular degree could be the way. You could also do it slowly alongside work, with distance learning. I have found Coursera is great to try courses before deciding what I like! If you feel it’s been too long since school and you lack the basics, Khan Academy is a wonderful free resources that’ll make you realise how smart you are – even with numbers! I have dyscalculia and it’s been incredible.

    Once you have what you don’t like listed down, think about your work environment. What management, what hours, how much pressure, travel/relocation/commute would you be happy with? Would you like to carry on learning through your career and be challenged, or would you feel more comfortable if you knew what you had to do every day? Don’t think about WHAT you’re doing but rather HOW you’re doing it – what skills (time, project, people management, languages…- patience, customer friendly, approachable…- power point, excel, html, etc…) are needed? Now write the Job description for this, but try NOT to think on what you can do currently.

    An important piece of advice which is needed because schools kind of mess that up – a career and a hobby should never be the same. A career will always have tough days, the workplace will always have people you cannot stand at times. Your hobby is your refuge, and that’s fine. Otherwise there is no break, just work – my brother is a successful musician who goes on world tour, and his entire life is that. He was one of those kids who always knew that’s what he’d do, but unless this passion consumes every woken minute of your mind, keep your hobbies separate from your job. Schools put too much emphasis on the misconception that good grade = ideal career choice, that you study to get a career you ‘like’. But those aren’t the same burning passion and then everyone is confused that they are not jumping from joy on monday morning to go to work! Because work is work, and even a hobby will become work if you make it your main source of income, except you won’t even enjoy it anymore.

    So final advice: you have a job description- so what kind of work actually match it? What other skills or requirements do you need to add for different fields? Don’t limit yourself here. Bluntly if you’re 20 now, in the present economy that means that your professional life will last another 50 years before you retire. So to put it in perspective, even if you acquired the necessary skills/experience/degrees over 10 years, that still means you get to be working in a setting you enjoy for 40 years! And by figuring out the tasks and environment you are happy with without thinking about the field, it becomes easier to project but also change fields as needed. Many women don’t move or take risks because they project too far ahead. For example, they will think that they want to live close to their family when they have children. They might not relocate for an opportunity, or start a business that’s not compatible with raising children, or not ho for a promotion because the hours would be too hard with kids. But this could be in 5 years time, however they are wasting those 5 years waiting for the future to happen, instead of getting ahead in whatever they choose and moving back home more prepared than ever to have a family!
    I am now 30, an I have had 8 jobs since graduating- but I also attained the work conditions I wanted for myself, I live where I want, and I have multiplied my salary by 6. When you’re young, contracts can be hugely advantageous as you learn faster and don’t need to commit to a company too early this way. You can ‘test’ an employer too!

    I do hope this helps, you sound wonderful and dedicated! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you’d like, I’ve been in your shoes before!

    Cecilia xx


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