There’s a very good chance that what you want to do for your career wasn’t a part of the Original Plan.
The Original Plan was to know exactly what you want, with unwavering clarity, as a 17-year-old kid in high school, then go to school for that thing, graduate with a slew of superbadass job offers from people dying to hire you for that thing, pick the best one, and then spend the rest of your life living happily ever after like a total baller doing that thing.
Yeah. How often do you think that works out for people?
Never, dude. Like, zero. Finding your way to feel-good work always takes way more effort than the fairly tale version of life. And way more Plan Bs, Cs, and Ds than you’d like.
It’s because you’re human. And there’s no changing that. The science just isn’t there yet. We humans tend to change and evolve and grow as we get older. Pesky little detail, isn’t it? That’s why Plan A — whatever career path you were forced to choose as a hormonal, rapidly changing human of 17 years might not feel like it hits the mark anymore. You’ve changed a lot since then.
Let me guess, when you were five years old you wanted to be a doctor or a teacher or a veterinarian when you grew up. Your sweet little five-year-old self was pretty fucking clueless about all of the options out there, so these jobs seemed like a good way to go. You had been to the doctor. You had a teacher. You knew these jobs existed. Also, animals were cool. Hence every five-year-old’s career wish list.
But then you grew as a person, learned a little bit more about life and reconsidered your options. That’s what you did in high school and college and at the beginning of your career, and there’s a very good chance that’s what you’re doing again now. And spoiler alert: That’s what you’ll continue to do until the day you die. Which is why the career you choose to do now might not be the career you choose to do 10 or 20 years from now.
*breathing into paper bag*
I know, I know. STRESSFUL, right?! But c’est la vie. Pretending it isn’t so isn’t going to help you, so you might as well face it now. You’re a changeable, growing human. The only way to get out of that contract is death, so I guess it’s not so bad after all, right?
To make this whole Plan B thing a little easier to digest, consider looking back at all of the other times you moved on to Plan B, C, and D. Because you’ve already gone there. Lots of times. Any time you’ve ever changed your mind or tried something different you embraced Plan B — like if you went to a school you hadn’t originally considered, or if you moved to a new city, or if you took a different job, or if you realized that shirt you planned to wear this morning was in the laundry so you put on something else. Plan B. Not so bad, right?
Somehow you’re doing just fine, even though you’ve gone with Plan B gazillions of times. You can do it with your career too.