Identifying your career of choice


Lisa Alioto

09 March 2021 44 comments

I was always so jealous of those kids that it seemed from birth knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up.  A nurse, a veterinarian, a chef, a designer.   Me… I had no idea.  What I wanted to be changed from one day to the next.  I just knew I wanted to be something.

So How Do You Figure Out Your Career Goals?

For many, myself included, it was the school that helped direct my path.  Before I went to University I took a wide variety of courses in my secondary education that opened my eyes to many new areas.  Some I found fascinating and others I realized was not for me.   It wasn’t until I needed extra credit and took a paralegal course that I realized that I wanted to be a lawyer.  And a lawyer I became.

How Else Can You Identify Your Career?

For many of us, we’ve looked toward our families and friends.  Through these relationships, you can learn what a day-in-the-life is for their professions and have the opportunity to learn first-hand what particular jobs are like and whether they capture your interest.  For example, you often hear stories of three generations of police officers in a family.  Or family businesses that have carried on throughout many generations.

What if You Can’t Identify Your Career?

First, don’t panic.  Let time be on your side.   Take time to learn more about careers through career surveys, internet searches, job shadowing, and talking to friends and family.  In addition, as mentioned above, school is a great way to become introduced to new topics that may spark your interest.

What if you Still Can’t?

First, remember that many of us change careers these days at some point in our work history.  So, what you choose doesn’t have to be an end-all-be-all.   Leverage your resources to do what you can to identify your interests.  Perhaps make a list of what you like to do (i.e. be outdoors, build things, etc..) and take that list and figure out what jobs fit those interests.  That may prove to be the back door into your new career!

Have Patience… It Will Come to You!

Whatever you choose, remember it’s not in stone.  It’s a hard decision that we all face and that most of us don’t know what we want to be until we’ve progressed through secondary school.  It’s a tough decision.  Trust your passions, trust your gut, trust yourself.  It will come to you!

More ideas?

I’d love to hear from others how they found their careers.  When did it come to you?  How did you arrive at the decision?  What made you “know” that was the “one?”

To read about other career experiences, click here



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44 thoughts on “Identifying your career of choice

  1. I’ve never really known what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I skipped going university until I was 25. For the last 1o years I though I new what I wanted to be, but now I’m not so sure anymore. Now I have 2-3 other ideas of what I want to be. I’m not sure if I’ll ever fix to one idea so I can plan accordingly for it

  2. Lisa Alioto

    Options are good Unwanted Life – better than not having any. 🙂 It is hard to narrow them down and invest in one though, isn’t it. Writing certainly is a talent of yours.

  3. I love how you ended this with the ‘if you still don’t know, then have patience it will come’. I am 24 years old and still not entirely sure. I’ve followed my life by doing things I want to do rather than I have to 🙂

    Ashleigh –

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Just my opinion but following what you want to do than have to may be the way to find your career passion. I think you may be right on track for finding the career that is right for you.

  4. I didn’t really know what I wanted to be until college when I started working in a school. I fell in love with teaching and that’s where I ended up!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I’m so happy you found your passion Miriam. College is such a great time for such exploration.

  5. I too was always jealous of the people who had one fantastic talent that led them to their career. My problem was always liking too many things:) these are great tips. For me, it was all about trying different things and having life experience, I decided that I was going to stress about the “one” career and just live in the moment. When it was the right time I found my “place”.

  6. Lisa Alioto

    Good for you Madi – and congratulations! Thanks for sharing your comment!

  7. Great post! I am 31 and have just now found what I really wanted to do. I am taking a yoga certification class starting this week and am so excited to finally be doing what I want as opposed to what I “should.” For me, moving out of the should phase took a lot of emotional and spiritual growth. I had to move away from other’s expectations and leave room to really get to know about myself. I am also a blogger and am writing about my transition if you would like to take a look!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Sarah – huge congratulations to you for finding your calling and doing what you want to do! Thanks for sharing your success story with us! Very inspiring!

  8. This is such a tough thing for all of us, especially with the pressure to decide so young! I was one of those kids who knew all along then changed my mind 2 months before the university application deadline and had to quickly come up with something else, a stressful few months and it still wasn’t what I ultimately ended up wanting to do x


    1. Lisa Alioto

      You are so right Sophie – it is a tough decision. Exactly why people need not fret if they don’t know right now; most of us don’t know right away what we want to do for career. But it does comes in time. 🙂

  9. I was very lucky and knew I wanted to go into the dental field from an early age. Like around 16 maybe? I did an internship at a dental office in high school and loved it and I also loved my dental hygienist growing up so it just seemed like a great fit for me!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      That is awesome Charity – and what a great career. It’s always wonderful when you find yourself working in a job that is your passion! Congrats! 🙂

  10. Great article! Sometimes finding what you’re meant to do in life is difficult. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer and secretly a writer. But in college, I started working part-time as a dispatcher for a Sheriff’s Office and that was it. I knew I wanted to be a police officer so that’s what I did. And now I have a second career as a writer. So, sometimes you may find your career unexpectedly.

  11. Lisa Alioto

    That is a great story Heather – very inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

  12. I knew that a career in finance was a good choice for me, starting when I was a teenager. I was always fully aware of the financial struggles in the family and I knew well the financial ineptitude of those around me. This propelled my interest in finance and led me where I am today.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      That is awesome Bryan – I love that you spotted a need and jumped in and filled it! Inspiring!

  13. I love this one Lisa, I am the same. I don’t know what I like to do until I get my test results in college. I had 3 choices Political Science, Psychology and Hotel and Restaurant Management. I choose the HRM because of my promise to my grandpa but no matter how you plan it there’s really something that it isn’t for you.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you for sharing April – I really appreciate you sharing your experience with us! 🙂

  14. Great article! I grew up wanting to be a veterinarian. Then during high school, I decided on an accountant. I didn’t go to college straight out of high school, but rather went to work for a few years, and there I found I definitely wanted to become a nurse, which is what I did and LOVED it!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Wow – that’s an incredible story Sharon! It just goes to show that there are plenty of options out there and that it’s okay to change your mind. Landing on your passion is a wonderful thing! 🙂

  15. If you’re still don’t know, be patient it will come. Thanks for this article sometimes we end up doing what we are not supposed to do just because iy is the only opportunity at the moment. It’s important to be patient and figure out what we really want

  16. Lisa Alioto

    Exactly Divine – I completely agree! Thanks for sharing your insights! 🙂

  17. Great lists of how to identify your career goals. A great path to finding a career where you can grow and feel a sense of security. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Denise! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  18. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but now that I’ve entered my 40s, I’m starting to realize that even that dream can evolve into something else. I love education and I’m an educator at heart, but I’m starting to look for options within the field that don’t include grading ????

    1. Lisa Alioto

      That is fabulous Sarah and a great point! You aren’t “stuck” with a career for life. As each one of us grows and evolves our careers may branch out into new areas!

  19. When I was in school, I always wanted to be a doctor, deviated from it at some point and but found my way back to it. When picking a career it’s always important to do what you love because you will love what you do. Not sure if am making sense. Great post.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      That makes perfect sense Kondwani – thank you for sharing (and for the great service that you provide us all).

  20. Loved this post, it made me feel at ease! I’m 24, got a degree, in employment but still don’t know what I’d like to do as my dream career or lifetime job. It will come one day!


    1. Lisa Alioto

      Absolutely Holly – it will come to you when the time is right and you are ready for it! My best to you! 🙂

  21. For years I thought I knew what I wanted to be, an interior designer. I went to college and I was nervous that I might not be good at it so I took one class first, Kitchen and Bath Design. I figured if I hated it then I could convert it to an elective class (like you suggested). I was good at it and enjoyed it so I got the degree, then I started at the bottom selling furniture. Actually doing it for real people wasn’t as fun as doing it for your classmates, but I went on for two years. The economy tanked and sales were HARD, then a lawyer came into the showroom and I sold him a piece of furniture. He saw something in me and asked me to come and work for him as a paralegal. At first I declined, he called and asked again three months later and I accepted. I’ve been there almost 11 years now and I love it. Sometimes you don’t find out what you want to be, it finds you.
    My only added suggestion would be to try to volunteer as an intern in a field you think you might like (if possible) so you can get some hands-on experience first.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      A Capone – thank you for your insightful and inspiring story. I LOVE your line, “Sometimes you don’t find out what you want to be, it finds you.” – that is so true! Thank you so m uch for sharing your story!

  22. I’ve changed what I wanted to be when I grow up so many times. It is hard and there are some new fields out there. I love all of these things to consider when it comes to considering a career. Sometimes, we need to try a job out before deciding whether it is really for us. Thanks for sharing!

    Nancy ♥

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I agree – sometimes it takes a bit of experimenting, interning and testing the waters before you figure out what’s right for you.. Thank you for sharing Nancy!

  23. You’re right, if the career path we ended up choosing doesn’t match our values anymore, we can always choose again! We’re not married to one career. In my case, I knew what I wanted to be early in life. This realization came to me by observing my skill and what I was good at. I also believe exploring/experimenting and patience are key!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I completely agree with you in all respects Jessica – all great points. Thanks for sharing!

  24. It is so important to have patience, and don’t let time be the enemy! I went to University, switched through 3 different careers, started doing volunteer work with an organization on the side and then realized it was THAT work that was my calling… At 30 I went back to college and shifted careers once last time to where I’m at today. Trust the process and follow your heart!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you so much for sharing Britt – your story is inspiring and a great example of how your career will come to you in time, in the right time.. It just takes patience sometimes.

  25. OMG! I’m so jealous of those people too lol Like, girls who start dancing when they’re 3 and then become professional dancers. That must feel so awesome 🙂 Thank you for writing about this topic. I know for a fact there are so many people who feel lost out there!


    1. Lisa Alioto

      I’m thrilled you enjoyed the article Maria – thank you for sharing your comment with us! Would love to see you back again!

  26. My ”biggest” problem is that I am having too many jobs, where I would feel perfect. I am a very versatile person and I always find even more new ideas. But to choose just one way – that’s too hard. Then I am starting to think – yeah, maybe the second thing was better / but what if / I would look better when / maybe I need…
    And so I am still trying to figure out which career to do first 😀

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I’m glad to hear you have so many potential options Sandra – better to find yourself with too many than none. However, now comes the interesting part of narrowing them down. Perhaps doing some work in the field will help you find your passion career? 🙂

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