Did you reach the end of high school and think, now what? I did. It was a weird moment. Here I was on the cusp of adulthood and all I could fathom was having a successful life. Whatever the hell that means…
Don’t worry, no-one really completely knows what they are doing. Their choices are brought upon by the people they hang out with and how invasive their parents have been. But some of us have been given too much free reign that it’s hard to pinpoint our passions.
Where to begin?
Do everything that sounds interesting
The greatest lesson I learned in finding my passions was from my father. After two years in my first real job as a sales assistant at a homewares store, I began to grow restless. It was fun, but I needed something more emotionally stimulating. Something more challenging. I wanted to find out what I was really capable of. But I didn’t know where to start. And when my dad noticed my frustrations, he simply said: if you don’t know what to do, do everything. And so I did.
I did a week working with door to door sales, which totally wasn’t for me. I did a traineeship in hairdressing, which I quit 6 months later because I couldn’t see myself doing it for life. I studied horticulture, which I liked but didn’t see it as an intellectually challenging career. I worked in various other retail positions, from op shop to arts and crafts. I even became an office bitch, but that was not for me either. I may not have found exactly what I wanted to do with this sage wisdom, but it helped me discover what I didn’t like and why I didn’t like it.
Indeed, you don’t need to do everything you come across. That would be quite silly. I’m sure, even now, at the cusp of your adulthood, you already have aversions to things that you probably haven’t even done yet. Personally, I knew well before I finished high school that I’d hate to be a police officer. Nor did I particularly like the idea of working in a hospital or any healthcare agency. If you have aversions like this, then you don’t have to do them. Instead, do all the things you come across that you find even remotely interesting.
I must say, this wayward soul searching wasn’t all that fruitless. I did come across the art of drag queening, which I fell in love with. It taught me that I was a creative person. But being a drag queen full time is a very tough task that I wasn’t interested in pursuing. And besides, most drag queens have part-time jobs anyway. Besides that, I still do drag. It’s a side gig I’ll never let up!
This outcome, however great as it sounds, didn’t answer my biggest question of all: what is my major career path? Well, as with nearly every predicament in life, the answers can be found online.
Undertake an online personality test
After a whole lot of blind searching, I began to feel somewhat defeated. It just happened by chance that I stumbled upon a comprehensive online personality test that is free. It was mid-afternoon, I was halfway through job searching and I just felt lost. So I went onto google and typed in “personality test”. Thankfully, the same one I used then is still up and running today. It’s called 16 personalities and it’s wonderfully accurate. (Before you go do it, I recommend finishing this article first. I’ll hyperlink it again at the end, just for you!)
Be aware that your answers can change at different times of the day or week, so feel free to try again later if you don’t get the answers you like. The goal here is to be as honest as possible. Don’t question your answers.
For me, I was pointed in the direction of marketing. I have never really understood the term before I did the test and after a bit of googling, I discovered how interesting it sounded. So I did a certificate 4 in marketing at TAFE. I loved studying it and was getting great marks, so I did a diploma. And after gaining more great marks my teacher lined me up with an internship with a PR department in a high-end clothing company. And guess what? I hated it! It was so superficial. So pedantic. So not for me. And it really sucked thinking that I was back at square one again.
But I soon discovered that I wasn’t back at square one; I was simply stuck in the hallway of communications, for that is the umbrella term which marketing sits under. I’ve already opened one door along the hallway, but there were other doors to open.
Don’t stop trying, there’s always another way
So after a bit of umming and ahhing, I figured the best next step was to do a bachelor in communications. This would introduce me to all areas of the communications field. Some part of me figured that perhaps my hatred for public relations and marketing was based on the place I interned at, and so I had the idea that I would major in PR at the end of the first year. Oh boy, aren’t I glad now that I was so wrong.
The first year introduced me to PR, advertising, media arts and production, and journalism. Interestingly, I got a high distinction in PR, but by the end of that year, journalism had piqued my interests. So I majored in that instead. It was the best decision I ever made, landing me internships with local newspapers, a national gay and lesbian news outlet, and a trip to Nepal with four other students to undertake journalism practice. Amazing! I’ve never felt sure in my life that journalism was my thing, but I eventually realised that it wasn’t journalism per se, it was the storytelling aspect that really snagged my attention.
Currently, I am writing for a lifestyle guide called Hunter and Bligh one day a week, while working in corporate hospitality. I also have my own website called The Out Outdoors, which is still in the start-up phase. I may not be at the forefront of my writing dreams, but at least I know this is exactly what I want to do. I am a born storyteller, and that’s my life’s passion.
Now, go undertake that personality test at 16 personalities and find your next big step!