Upon completing your education and setting out into the world of work, it can be difficult to get beyond the burning question of “What am I going to do?” For some people it becomes a kind of mantra amidst the rising panic and pressure to find a job. “What am I going to do? What am I going to do? What am I going to do?…

By the time we near our early twenties we’re expected to be able to answer this question (and a hundred others) about our future lives. …But what if we get it wrong?

In this excerpt from hoozyu: Preparing yourself for life and marketplace with the Birkman Method Jon suggests a more useful question to ask yourself, as you embark on your own career voyage…

“What am I going to do?” shouldn’t be the question that consumes us on our way to market. It really isn’t that important. In fact, let me answer it for you now.

“What you are Going to Do, Is…”

(drumroll, please)

“…mostly jobs that you didn’t guess you were going to do. You will also follow paths you didn’t expect to. And as for your education: you will probably apply your domain knowledge - business, law, electronic engineering, catering - less, or less directly, than you expect to in the long run; and if your education has prepared you to think clearly an to act on your values, then that will be its most lasting legacy to you.”

Hope that didn’t spoil the fun. But what I have said is absolutely true, and I don’t have to be prophet to know that. The pressure you feel as you head for the unknown - in this case, the apparently pressing need to answer the question “what job will I do?” - is rarely, if ever, the thing that actually mattered once you got there.

Please don’t misunderstand me. What you do matters. But it matters more that you get started, and preferably in something that will engage and energise you while you learn more about yourself. And it matters most of all that you discover who you really are.

You see ‘who you are’ is the whole package. A person who knows who they are is a person with options. A person who knows who they are has a pretty good idea of when to say ‘yes’ to an opportunity - and when to say ‘no’. And a person who knows who they are, knows where and how they can develop their talents.

By contrast, simply answering the question “what job should I do” just gets you to market. Assuming it also gets you a job, you will then have the challenge of trying to fit in and do well enough, so that you can then find another job when the first one no longer works for you. And all the time you are trying to guess what job would be better than the one you already have.

Excerpt from hoozyu: Preparing yourself for life and marketplace with the Birkman Method by Jon Mason

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