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Finding Your Calling: The Value of Doing What You Don’t Enjoy

We discussed before what to do when you are interested in so many different things and aren’t sure which to choose for your career. But what if that isn’t you? What if you are the person stuck doing something you don’t enjoy?

It is daunting to be a young adult, early in your career, or even about to graduate, and realize that the career for which you prepared yourself just isn’t appealing to you. Maybe you majored in accounting because you felt pressure to choose secure career, but as it turns out, you kind of hate numbers. Or you majored in public policy because when you were 18 that’s what you were interested in, but once you got your first job in Washington, DC, you really didn’t enjoy seeing how the sausage, I mean, law was made.

Many, many people find themselves in this position. There’s even a term for it now—a quarter-life crisis. It is that realization early in your career that you aren’t really in love with the life that you’ve built for yourself. That moment when you wake up and think that you don’t really want to go to the job for which you’ve spent 4—or 6, or 8—years preparing for. And you don’t want to go tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after that.

It’s not all bad news! This moment, whether you experience it when you are 25 and in your first job, or when you are 21 and staring down graduation, tells you a lot about how God made you. You should stop and embrace the moment.

Primarily, your choice of that major or of that job was not necessarily a poor one. You should be commended for trying something new. When you try something and discover you don’t love it or aren’t as good at is as you thought, you learn more about yourself than by just sitting around and thinking about it.

Don’t feel bad if you take an internship and decide you don’t like it. Feel relieved that now you know it’s not for you.

You aren’t going to know what you are good at until you jump in and try a few things. This may mean trying a few majors, or trying a few internships, or trying a few jobs.

When you are looking out at the career field from the vantage point of your college campus, it can be hard to really understand all of the different types of job positions that exist out there that you are qualified to do. My advice is to just jump in and do something, and as you move through your chosen field, you’ll learn more and more about what is available to you and what you are skilled at doing.

Don’t be afraid of the long-term effects. It’s highly unlikely that a future employer will frown on a resume that shows adventurism. They’ve probably been there before themselves. If anything, it shows that you are well-informed about the career options available to you and you have selected the one that you are truly passionate about.

For those of you who are facing this now, does this advice help you? If you’ve faced this quarter-life crisis, has this been your experience?