Figure out what you want to do with your life, then make it happen
When you were younger, you knew what you wanted to be when you grew up, whether it was a princess or a firefighter. As a teenager, under pressure from your parents and teachers to stop procrastinating and decide what you’re going to do with your life, it can be more difficult to think outside the box and really let your mind roam free. But a career need not be just a job that pays the bills and feels like work. Sharpen your pencil and start thinking — the world is full of exciting, unusual, cool jobs that will not only pay your bills, but will also feed your soul and make going to work something to look forward to.
ONE: Start A List.
Here are some questions to get you thinking and open up some remarkable possibilities:
~ What are your interests?
Think about the current activities that you take part in and write them down. Include school and extracurricular activities, such as sports, clubs, or associations you belong to.
~ What do you enjoy doing?
Make a list of things that you love to do. Write down everything that sends you to your happy place—going to the beach, playing a musical instrument, shopping—anything that excites you, or makes you feel at peace, or doesn’t feel like work at all. Don’t censor yourself, or omit something that you think might be embarrassing. If dancing the polka fills you with glee, it belongs on the list!
~ What are you good at?
List your skills and talents. Dig deep and think about positive things that people have praised you for; for example, you might be a whiz at setting a dining room table, or your friends might be agog at your video game prowess. Anything and everything you are good at can lead to finding a dream career that is perfect for you.
TWO: Open Your Mind.
Now is the time to put all of your lists together and start connecting the dots. For example, if you are on the debating team at school, enjoy travel, and have great people skills, why not look into becoming a diplomat, or a wilderness guide in the depths of the Ecuadorian rainforest? The trick here is to really open up your mind and think about how you can mix together your skills and talents, as well as your favourite activities, to find a dream job that will keep you happy and satisfied.
THREE: Put The Dream Into Action.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, start making things happen. Here are some ways to find out about what’s out there:
~ Talk to people.
Start putting the word out to friends and family. Just letting people know that you are excited about something can lead to many opportunities. You never know whose aunt’s friend’s sister might share the same interests. Ask them for advice as to how to get started. Don’t be shy—you’ll find that people love to talk about what they do, and will be happy to offer you some guidance.
~ Be a shadow or an intern.
When you find someone who has a cool job, ask if you can shadow them on the job for a couple of days. You’ll get an insider’s look and find out if it’s really for you. As well, many companies offer internships. Sure, the pay isn’t great (internships are generally non-paying, or pay a nominal sum), but the experience you’ll get for your resume is a great way to start you on your path. And just think of the contacts you’ll make!
~ Get online.
There are plenty of resources for finding your dream job that are just a
click away. Try some of the following:
• Youth job centres, such as www.youth.gc.ca, or job sites like
• Research companies in your chosen field. Many company websites have
links to job and internship opportunities.
• Go to www.jobhuntersbible.com for a ton of resources and links,
including personality tests that will help you find out what careers
• Check out college and university websites to see what kind of programs
they offer. This may open up some interesting new career ideas for you.
You Do What???
Weird jobs we’d love to try (or not)
Laughter therapists get paid to help others find their happy places and learn to laugh in order to improve their mental and spiritual well-being.
Sleep directors work for hotel chains, testing mattresses for proper springiness, tasting complimentary tea and coffee, and researching the perfect paint colours and layouts for hotel rooms.
We know someone who works for Cadbury Schweppes as a gumologist, spending his days blowing bubbles, testing gum for long-lasting flavour.
It may not be most people’s dream job, but odour judgers smell armpits all day long to help develop deodorants that will mask body odour. It’s true!
In Japan, people are paid to pass out tissues to passers-by on hot days.
Onion graders are experts in determining the ideal size, shape, and colour of onions for pickling, relishes, and all things, well, onion.