The Dreaded Question: What Do You Want to Do with Your Life?

Story By Caitlin Paroczai

Let me begin with an abominable generalisation.

There are two types of people in this world. Those who have their shit together and know exactly what they want to do with their life, and those who have no f*** clue.

I think it is fairly safe to say that most people probably do not know what they really want to do. Or they do, but they are not doing it. I mean, we have all been there. You know, that family dinner where Aunt Sally murmurs that dreaded question with an inexplainable twinkle in her eye… “What do you want to do with your life?”.

Gulp.

I know for sure that if I posed that very question to my friends, most of them would crawl up in a foetal position and rock back and forth. Personally, I have always felt a little bit in limbo with this one. I have always known that I wanted to work in the creative industries, but I have never been able to narrow it down to a specific job. Probably because the thought of doing one thing scares the living daylights out of me. I want variation. I want the flexibility to try something new. There is so much I want to do! Unintentional rhyme.

Of course, this is a very millennial attitude. In fact, research is showing that millennials might have between 15-20 jobs over the course of their lives. This poses a massive challenge for current employers who tend to stigmatise an excessive amount of job hopping. But that is another kettle of fish all together.

Anyway, back to Aunt Sally’s dreaded question. What do you want to do with your life? We get asked at such a young age to come up with an answer to this one. I remember being in Year 11 at high-school and sitting in the auditorium listening to institutions offer us information on the different tertiary courses they had to offer. I remember feeling sick. Honestly, if you know EXACTLY which course to pick and EXACTLY what you want to do at age 17, you are a unicorn.

I just don’t believe that the answer to this question, for most people anyway, can be absolute. For example, how can you know what you want to do without actually trying it? When I was younger, I always thought I was going to be a TV journalist. I went and studied journalism and hated it.

This brings me to my next point. There is undeniably external pressure to figure out what you want to do. Whether it is your school, family or friends, people demand an answer to this question. I think in this case, it is important to remember that it is your life. As long as you are happy with the decisions and progress that you are making, that should be all that matters.

It is also perfectly okay to get a bit lost along the way to finding your perfect career. Take me for example. I have swapped university courses three times and it has not deterred me at all. I am so glad that I tried those courses, because I gained skills and experiences that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

The message I am backwardly trying to send here is that it is absolutely okay to not know what you want to do.

I repeat, IT. IS. OKAY!

If you do not have an answer to the dreaded question, you are most certainly not the only one. People can spend their entire lives trying to figure out what the perfect job is for them, and even then, it almost never exists.

At the end of the day, as long as you are happy, who cares? Life is a journey and your professional life is just another part of it. So next time Aunt Sally asks you what you want to do with your life, tell her that you are a boss lady/man who will be absolutely fine. Because you will be.

xo Caitlin

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