My name is Joe.
I am 34 years old (soon to be 35). I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
Is this normal for my age? I can’t say for sure.
To me, being grown is symbolic for having it all figured out. Therein lies the problem. Or at least I think it is a problem!?
My peers always seem to have everything figured out.
I don’t think anyone ever has it all figured out. Some are just better at faking it. Unfortunately, that isn’t a strength of mine.
When feeling uncertain with my situation, I perform my own mental Question and Answer session to get to the root of my uneasiness and figure out my path. The following questions are on repeat.
- What do I enjoy? Do others make a living at what I enjoy?
- Am I on the path to do what I enjoy? Is there a path? Do I need one?
- Do I want to work for others?
- Do I want to manage others?
- Is working independently a possibility? Now? Tomorrow?
- Does anyone want to do business with me? Is it a serious opportunity or contrived?
- Do I have to work for others (at least in a conventional sense)?
- What does making a living mean? What is driving this definition?
- Am I doing work that energizes me? Do I really need to be doing work that energizes me? If not, do I have other outlets that I can draw energy?
- Does what I want to do exist or do I have to create it? What would that take?
Out of all the questions, there is only one that stumps me regularly, “Do I want to manage others?” Not like a difficult brain teaser. But in the way that cooking is challenging. You may add a little extra parsley and the sauce tastes different. No better. No worse. Just different.
I also find the question a bit egotistical. It implies that others would want to work with me. Not an ideal place to start my Q&A but certainly something to ponder.
Eventually I hope to replace the question with, “Do others want me to lead them?” But it is a start.
I never actually edit the questions in my mental model – they are always the same. In some way they force me to revisit choices, compare my relative position to previous answers, and think ahead.
Who knows if I will ever reach career enlightenment.
I am reticent.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Finding answers to those questions isn’t the point anyway.
The point is to spend time to evaluate circumstance. To test and retest my current situation. Accept where I am at professionally and what I need to take more steps forward than backward., And make change when absolutely necessary.
Not the impulsive regrettable change but the calculated change.
For now, things are balanced, tomorrow they may not be, and again I will visit my questions to determine if change is necessary.
I guess when someone asks me about my career, prospects for the future, or overall ambitions I will respond casually.
“I am working on it.”
And I always will be.