Finding Myself Without a Career

I’ve been agonizing over this fact. I don’t have a career nor do I believe myself to be on a career path. Upon graduating in June of 2013, I found myself lost and having absolutely no clue what my next step should be. I felt unprepared which didn’t help considering that I have always been a planner; I planned to easily to get a job right after graduation. I was also very determined to immediately be independent from my parents upon my college graduation and the strong need to avoid moving back in with them, which is how I found myself scrambling to find a job in the beautiful city of Portland, OR. Those three and half months launched me into major anxiety with a dash of depression.

Because I was told that in order to have a shot at getting a good job in the real world, I had to get a Bachelor’s Degree.

And no, I’m not putting all the blame elsewhere because I learned that there some things that I could have done differently or if I had worked harder at finding a job earlier on in college, etc. But then I wouldn’t be quite who I am today, right? Anyways, unless you were going down a particular career path like medicine or maybe business, I found that most employers could care less what you got a degree in. Okay, so they probably cared a little bit, but overall the fact that you simply have a degree pushes you higher up the stack of resumes.

As some of you may remember, I have plans to move out of the state of California and into the state of Colorado. It will be happening within the next four months (hopefully). Knowing this, I started applying for jobs back in August which mostly just gave me a lot of practice for phone interviews. Out of those phone interviews, I only got two Skype interviews which led nowhere.

Having jumped back into the world of job hunting, I’ve been thinking more about what I’m supposed to do for a job since I figure I will have to move there without a job already lined up.

I find myself back in the position of not really knowing my next step career-wise. 

I have a small idea of the kind of industry I would like to work in and the few that I know I wouldn’t want to work in, but not much else. I know the details. While before that would push me back into anxiety, I find myself totally fine with not having a designated career. However, what has started to worry me a little is whether it’s ‘okay’ or ‘normal’ that I don’t have a career or working hard towards building one.

And you know what? IT’S TOTALLY FINE/ OKAY/ NORMAL. And I’m not alone. 

The first thing I did of course to figure this out was to turn to Google. I literally searched ‘is it okay that I don’t have a career just a job.’

The first link to come up? This article It’s Not Just You—I Don’t Have a Dream Job Either by a Kat Boogaard published on the website The Muse.

Hers is not the only article telling me that I’m not alone in the fact that I don’t have a dream job or career. I like this article from the Melyssa Griffin website: Why It’s Totally Okay If You Don’t Know Your Dream Job. Some of the reasons make total sense and I would have thought of them if I took the time. The one that stood out the most to me was:

You Have The Chance To Really Think About Your Life Path, Rather Than Just Your Career Path

As I thought about this, I started down the path of thinking that maybe I don’t necessarily want a career; at least not a traditional one. I mean, I always thought that I cared more about my career over certain aspects of my personal life, like getting married and having the 2.5 kids with the perfect house. When I moved back home at the end of September 2013, I finally felt like I could take a breath. I immediately started looking for basic starter jobs like receptionist and office assistant just so I could save money while I figured out the things important to me.

While my current job showed me a path that I wanted to take that aligns with some of the important details of what kind of job I want, I still find myself knowing that I would be okay if that path didn’t work out.

Because I learned that I care more about building the life I want rather than focusing on a career.

To do that, I found that I simply want a job that I don’t hate that pays enough for me to live beyond paycheck to paycheck. I figured that having that job is really just a means to an end. Before I would have wanted to change that; I would have wanted to go discover what my passion is and find a job fueled by the things I love. But now, I discovered that my passions are things that I can easily fill my life with outside of work. One of those ways is through this blog. It is through this blog that I get to immerse myself in my passions like reading. As for one of my other biggest passions, baking, I do that whenever I want to get my fill.

So here I am on the verge of a new chapter and I find myself without a definite career path in sight. And I’m totally okay with that. While my feelings are quite the mixture of excited and terrified about this new chapter in my life that will start soon, for once I’m content to see how things happen.

Tell me your story! Are you like me and without a specific career? Or are you set on a career that you enjoy? I would love to hear so leave me a comment below :)

~ Nicole

Related articles I like:

Why Some Of Us Don’t Have One True Calling (And Why We’re Better Off That Way)

How to Figure Out Exactly What Your Dream Job Should Be

I Don’t Have a Career Path and Probably Never Will



19 thoughts on “Finding Myself Without a Career

  1. I love this post! I’m 32 and I currently work as a legal assistant (a paralegal who also does a lot of admin stuff). It’s not the job I originally went to school for, but it’s what I found myself getting into after being laid off a few years ago. I don’t think I necessarily have a dream job or career. I probably wouldn’t consider my current job a career – I enjoy it, but I’m still happy to leave at 5pm on Friday. I work to live, not live to work. I had an attorney ask me one time, “Do you really want to answer phones the rest of your life?” If it means I can enjoy my life and afford the things I want to do without having to work 60+ hours a week, then yes, I don’t mind answering phones.

    Liked by 2 people

    • YES! That’s exactly what I’ve come to realize is that as long as I can afford the lifestyle I want (which thank goodness isn’t an expensive one) and I don’t hate my job, then I’ll be fine. Thanks for sharing!! :)


  2. I love this post. I love how flexible you’ve become and that you’ve accepted your path even though it’s maybe not what you originally envisioned. I have a similar story, but since I do actually have a very specific career (medical doctor) in mind, I have had to accept that my starting point is just waaaaay different than most people’s. I will eventually get there, I’m just taking a very convoluted pathway to the end point. Sometimes I feel really angry about the fact that I’m 28 years old and still not even close to where I want my career to be…but I have so much life experience I wouldn’t have otherwise had, there’s really no comparison. I’ve lived out in the world, not just in the walls of academia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I’m really glad that I became more flexible as well! And yes, I’m glad that I have experience now both in and out of school.
      Thanks for sharing too! :)


  3. I’m glad you feel comfortable and confident with your choices! I’m still struggling to do that! I work 2 part-time church jobs (secretary for one, Sunday School teacher for another), and I often get after myself because I am living paycheck to paycheck even though I have a Master’s degree. I’m starting to feel a bit more OK with the fact that this is where I am, but mainly because I’m pursuing my passions of blogging and actually going forward in becoming ordained to be a pastor. Still, I often find myself comparing to others who seem to “have it all together.” I wrote about this in a past blog post called, “An Open Letter to a Nosy Customer at Jimmy John’s” so it’s always a comfort to hear from people with similar struggles saying, “You know what? I’m fine!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy to hear that! As long as you’re happy and doing what you want!
      And of course for me I want to be able to feed myself haha. I also learned pretty quickly not to bother comparing myself to others around my age because for me, someone who tends to overthink things, it never ends well. :)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I flunctuate between being extremely career-focused to just wanting a job to get by. I have a dream job in mind but it’s hard to attain and difficult to even get a toe into that industry, which makes it seem an impossible goal to achieve. I like that you’re working more toward the life you want rather than a career. Sometimes, it seems to me that that’s the better thing to do.
    And yea, most employers don’t care what your degree is in or the grades you received unless your job is in health, engineering, law fields.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! Creating the life you want is important and if that happens to include a dream job/ career, then that’s great! If not, then that’s great too. Thanks for sharing! :)


  5. Oh gosh you are totally right- “IT’S TOTALLY FINE/ OKAY/ NORMAL”- that about sums it up. And no, you are not alone. I do have dreams and ambitions- but contrary to what seems to be expected in the modern world, they don’t really align with “having a career”. I don’t really care if no one but me is satisfied with my answer when they ask me what I want to do for a career. Personally, I finished my degree last year and was lucky enough to try my hand at a few different jobs- but none of them feel like me so I decided I’m going to do something different next (much to some people’s shock). I have lots of ideas of things I can (and will) do next- and for me that’s exciting! Not everyone’s the same- so not everyone has to follow someone else’s dream of getting the “perfect” career!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fab post! I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I literally stumbled into my career and haven’t looked back. I think it’s just matter of trying lots of things and seeing what sparks your interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I started my PR career at 16 when I started college. And even then, when I graduated with 2 degrees at 22, I was lost. Having a career is one thing. Finding the opportunities to realize those career goals are something else entirely.

    I graduated in 2012, wrote through all of 2013, did and hated payroll until 2015, then quit my job to travel and freelance. By the end of 2016, I had launched my PR firm.

    Career paths are a winding road with all the lights off. Most times all you’ll have is intuition to guide you.

    Liked by 1 person

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