I’m not sure if this an official thing, but I’m convinced that a crisis of career identity is real, especially when you’re young and starting out in the world. You have been so dedicated for years on a particular field of study or a career path because that’s where you ultimately planned on seeing yourself. You take all the classes, apply for all the jobs/internships in the field, you try to rub elbows with the professionals you want to be like, you even attend events, and follow people on social media that are focused on exactly what you want to do and the who you want to be. The career crisis isn’t just reserved for 45-year-old men who are stuck in an accounting job (stereotype I know).
One day you wake up (or if you’re like me, you’re having your weekly existential crisis about every possible thing) you begin to wonder, is this what I really want to do? I’m always afraid that I did all this work and set myself up for an idea of success that was not right. Such pressure feels amplified especially when I think of my former Vanderbilt classmates where everyone is beyond smart and somehow happened upon these unicorn job positions that pay buckets of money for what seems like little work.
I recently started an internship at a health, communications, and media platform. Though my actual internship responsibilities fall in line with what I want to do and my previous experience and has introduced me to some new areas of interest (hello communications and media), I can’t help wonder if this the field where my career will ultimately stay.
I expressed my concerns to my boss the other day (because she has literally done everything in life and is probably the most amazing human being I know), and she departed a bit of wisdom that made me feel at ease about having a career crisis young. Most people right out of school are either A) in the perfect position/grad school in the perfect city, or B) they have no idea what day it is, let alone what they are doing with their future. And that’s okay. It’s okay to be in the perfect place at the perfect time (don’t feel guilty for that!). It’s also okay to not be confident and completely sure of yourself and your path. My boss stated that everyone should change their career path at least three times, if not more because you are a constantly evolving person and your career should follow the same path. Changes in your career path should not be shamed. If you love something, stay there and do everything you can to grow. But if something else entices you, don’t be afraid to jump in.
So from me and Donna the career guru, it’s okay not to know at this exactly moment, so jump in if it feels right or even a bit scary. You are a constantly evolving person so your career interest should too.