If you’re saying, “I don’t know what to do with my life,” you’re far from alone. Honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out. There are things I know I love to do, people I love working with, and projects I love working on, but there are so many careers and jobs out there that it can feel overwhelming to even take the next step.
What has helped me figure out what I want to do with my life (so far!) has been getting introspective and thinking about my skills, passions, likes and dislikes, and dreams. That’s why I’ve created a “I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life” quiz that assesses all of the things that make you you — without any prior knowledge needed.
‘I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life’ Quiz
Ready to figure out what you should do with your life? You’ll have to sign up for your results, but it’s absolutely free. Let’s get started!
How to Answer ‘I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life’
You’ve taken the first step — a quiz! How else can you figure out what to do with your life? It’s an ongoing process, but here are some tips that can help.
Learn What’s Out There
Once you have a good idea of the kinds of things you’d like to do, it’s time to figure out what’s out there! The truth is, there are so many jobs out there, and lots that we may never have heard of. When I figured out that I wanted to pursue writing, I assumed that I needed to get a job as a “writer,” full stop. I’d never considered that jobs in fields like marketing, social media, or public relations would use writing skills in their everyday life.
Doing research for careers based on the skills you like using, types of work environments you enjoy, or even the industries you like can be helpful. For example, when I was starting out, I looked up “jobs that use writing skills.”
Look to Your Role Models
“Ask yourself which people’s careers you admire (or feel envious of) and why,” says Cara Houser, career strategist and empowerment coach. “These can be people you know or public or historical figures. This will give clues as to what you most desire to learn more about.”
Once you’ve identified a few people you respect or even idolize, it’s time to figure out how they got started.
“If you know people in these fields, you can ask for a few minutes of time to chat about the career path the person has taken to get where they are,” Houser says. “If they’re famous people, you can read and research how those people evolved in their careers. You’re likely to find many non-linear, topsy-turvy journeys, and it’s reassuring to remember that everyone has gone through times of uncertainty, failure, and low confidence at times in their lives. It’s how we manage challenges and keep learning that counts.”
>>MORE: Learn why networking is important and how to start.
Focus on Your Strengths
It can feel overwhelming to try to answer “I don’t know what to do with my life” with a specific job or career path, especially when landing that dream job or career requires a lot of school or upskilling.
Rather than stressing about the skills you don’t yet have, focus on where you are now and the strengths you have already. How can those skills help you land a job now, and how can that job help you get to your dream job in the future?
“If you want to upskill, great — but don’t feel obliged to do so,” says Sebastian Morgan, content writer and career expert at CV Genius. “Instead, reach out to your career counselors, tutors, and informal network to find out what opportunities are available to you with your current skill set.
Identifying these strengths will help you find the areas of your chosen industry or career where employers need you the most — helping you land better job opportunities.”
Your first role might not be your ultimate “dream job,” and that’s OK. It can be a valuable stepping stone that sets you up for success in the rest of your career.
“When I graduated, I was a reasonably strong writer and spoke fluent Spanish,” Morgan says. “Though neither of those skills was related to my degree, I leaned into them because they were marketable to employers. My first job was as a content translator, and through that role, I was able to ground myself and identify the interests and goals I’m pursuing today.”
Go For It
Once you feel like you might be on the right track, go for it.
“Do not get stuck in analysis paralysis and wait for the ‘perfect match,'” Houser says. “Give it a go and enlist help as needed from books, mentors, coaches, and trusted friends/family to learn along the way. Give it a bit of time and allow for some bumps in the learning process before evaluating whether to stick with it or move along to the next interesting option.”
‘I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life’: The Bottom Line
Trying to stop saying “I don’t know what to do with my life” is a life-long process. It’s something we constantly need to re-evaluate as we grow older.
“Recognize that you don’t need a singular purpose after graduation — very few of us do,” Morgan says. “It’s normal to want one thing in your 20s but others in your 30s, 40s, and thereafter.
That shouldn’t be scary; it should be exciting. We have the ability to change and adapt what we want to do with our lives depending on how we’ve grown as a person, and how our interests, skills, passions, and priorities change, too.
“Very few people have a laser focused sense of how they want to spend their whole lives from childhood,” Houser says. “We all learn and grow by experiencing and experimenting, and this requires a certain degree of confidence that it works out, as well as lightness that we can always adapt and adjust as needed along the way.”
Who knows — maybe you’ll come back to this quiz in five years and get a very different result.
Image credit: Canva