Bill and I have never written, and will never write, a post that tells you that figuring out your career fulfillment is easy. We advise that finding fulfillment takes patience and the persistence to try new things. We write that finding fulfillment may involve holding numerous jobs you don’t like until you find the career you do. And we suggest that you should simultaneously make peace with where you’re at, accepting the present moment for what it is – only the present moment, not a prognostication of the rest of your life – while never giving up on creating a more productive future for yourself. So it may seem odd that we would advise that finding career fulfillment requires you pick something already, one, maybe two things, and do them – do them now.
When people who haven’t found their career niche talk about finding their career niche, they generally talk about the things they like to do in the abstract and become trapped in indecision. They often don’t take the necessary next steps – information gathering and experimenting – to make the abstract concrete.
To figure out what you want to do you must first understand how your interests will translate into a career reality. You must ask for advice, realistically assess your abilities, and read everything you can find related to your field(s) of interest. Second, informed by the information you have collected, pick something that you can begin right away to move you closer to your chosen direction. You want to go into the tech sector, go to Codeacademy.org and start teaching yourself how to code. You want to be in public service, start doing volunteer work in a related field. You want to go back to grad school, start studying for the required entrance exam.
Your experience experimenting may lead to you conclude that you want to go in a different direction. This is not a failure. Ruling out the wrong fit will get you closer to the right fit. Finding fulfillment is not a timed race, but if you don’t take the first step and do something already, you’ll surely never find it.