Stuck in a job you hate but don't know how to get out of because you just simply don't know what to do? Figuring out what you want to do can be scary, because there's a possibility that you may be leaving the familiar behind. But finding a job that's your calling can really make a positive difference in your life. Here are some things you can do to get you closer to your ultimate dream:
List it out: Start by taking 20 minutes to list out the a total of a 100 items. Wise Bread suggests listing things you want to do, jobs you want, people you want to meet, and more. Don't restrain yourself and write down things that seem impossible to you. When you're done, leave the list alone for a while, then come back to it and try to piece ideas from it. Perhaps you'll find a career path you can really pursue from one of the items.
Online skills profiler: You can use this online tool by the Department of Labor that factors in the type of skills you possess and the level you're at, then it generates multiple jobs that suit your skills. You can then click on each occupation to see its profile and learn about how you can get the job, the median salary, what the job entails, and more.
Start a blog or YouTube channel: Don't be disheartened just because everyone seems to have a blog or a YouTube channel. Pick a topic that you're really interested in (anything from parenting to makeup), and start becoming an expert in that field by constantly writing or vlogging about it and getting to know others who cover the same things. Offer to guest blog for other sites to continue that exposure. A career might emerge from this side project.
Notice what you like to read: Is there a genre of book you keep reaching for? Take measure of what you enjoy reading, especially the nonfiction books. These may give you a hint of what career path to head toward. From cooking to mechanics, you may discover your true calling in the books you read.
Explore job lists: US News has countless mega lists for jobs in different categories, such as the best overall jobs and best healthcare jobs. Browse through those lists to see if there are any jobs that appeal to you. Take a look at our lists as well — careers for those who want to work from home, great jobs for bookworms, jobs for those who like to travel, and more.
Look at your hobbies: What do you like to do in your spare time? Even though your hobby may seem run-of-the-mill to you, you can perhaps turn it into a full-time job or even just something you can make side income from. For example, if you like making crafts, then you should consider selling your goods on Etsy. Here are some websites that may help you genetrate income from your favorite way to pass time.
Figure out what parts of your job you like and don't like: Maybe you don't like your job, but there can be some aspects of it that you enjoy or that you're good at. Maybe it's teamwork you enjoy or crunching data. Take a close look at what energizes you at work, and see if you can find a career to fit what you enjoy doing at work. And it's just as important to figure out what you don't like at your job, to make sure that your next job doesn't have those aspects.
Read autobiographies of people you look up to: Get inspired by the lives of real people — past and present. Reading biographies of people you look up to can really motivate you and prod you in the right direction. Just know that most people start out from the bottom to work their way up. For example, did you know that award-winning director James Cameron was once a truck driver? After watching the movie Star Wars, he quit his job to join the film industry.
Take a class: Maybe you think graduate school will help you get you to where you want to be. Well, before taking the plunge, test it out by taking classes you would take at those schools. Local colleges generally have courses that match your interest.
Interview people: Do the legwork to understand what a specific career entails. Sometimes hearing about a career from someone who actually has it is a big reality check. Remember the grass is always greener on the other side, and you may not have a realistic idea of the job you want. Invite people who have the job you want out for coffee, and ask them about what it's really like. You should ask several people just to try and get different perspectives.
Give yourself a break: The pressure of figuring out the rest of your life can be getting to you and can be a road block. Perhaps you need to just take a break from everything and take some time off to relax. You can spend a weekend away from home (perhaps at a national park) or maybe just let yourself indulge in activities you enjoy without having to think about the real world. When you return home and your mind is clear, you'll likely be in a better position of knowing what you want.
Browse the library: Free knowledge at your fingertips, courtesy of your local library. Spend a day just browsing the shelves and learning more about topics that catch your interest, and you might find yourself leaning towards an area of interest.