I am 19 turning 20 soon. My problem is I still don’t know what I want to do with my
life. I would be interested to know if you hear that a lot. Also I am interested to know if
there are any career opportunities out there that don’t require a post-secondary education.
Thanks for your advice.
The Career Doctor responds:
Most importantly you have plenty of time to find yourself…and who knows? You may not find
yourself — your ideal career — until you’re 40…or 50. I really think there is way too much
emphasis on teens and young adults to find the “one” career when in reality you will
most likely change careers multiple times over the course of your life. So spend less time
worrying about the ideal job and more trying to understand the types of passions you have about work.
My best advice is for you to take the six-step journey of self-discovery that I describe in detail
in my article Choosing a College
Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path. While you are not choosing a college major the same
steps can be taken to learn more about potential careers — and jobs within those careers.
Do you need a college education to have a successful career? No. While more jobs are certainly
moving to the service industry and white collar manufacturing sectors — which mostly require a
college education — there are still plenty of jobs in the blue-collar sector that do not require a
college degree. And while the perception has been that blue-collar jobs are on the decline I just
read an article that discussed how blue-collar jobs have actually increased over the last few years.
Finally don’t give up on college. Perhaps now is not the right time for you but studies show the
real value of a college education not only in terms of success and wealth but in terms of quality
of life. Please read our article What
Good is a College Education Anyway? The Value of a College Education.