Compasses have arrows, right?

As my blog title gives away, I have a thing for arrows, and “Compass” was the word for the Daily Prompt yesterday.  The name of my blog was inspired by a quote I found in the middle of my job search struggle:


It really resonated with me in a way that I don’t think words ever have. Words are powerful, yes, but I never had any stick with me so permanently. Quite literally, since I ended up getting it tattooed on me. But I digress.

A compass is a tool used to tell you which direction to go. But what happens when your arrow is spinning?


Realistically speaking, a compass probably doesn’t spin uncontrollably unless it’s broken, but hopefully you’re picking up my metaphor. What happens when you have no idea what you want to do, what you should be doing, or what direction to go in? In all aspects of life, this can be frustrating, but when you’re trying to figure out what you want to do as a career for potentially the rest of your life, it can be especially exasperating.

When I’m working with students I try to break it down into more manageable pieces:

What are your interests?

Everyone has something they’re interested in, even if it’s something small. What is something you actually enjoy doing, what do you want to learn more about? This requires you knowing yourself on a deeper level. We all have things we like to do outside of work/school/etc, but would we want to do them every day as a career? Is it even an option? Maybe not. I like to eat tacos, but I can’t really make that into a job.

Which leads me to my second point:

Do Your Research

Once you have some concrete interests nailed down, do some research. Do other people do this as their job? Is this a significant part of another job you haven’t looked into? Will this become obsolete, or does it have a bright outlook career-wise?

By research, I don’t just mean googling and reading different things about it. Reach out to people who are already doing this job or are in this career. This might be a bit out of your comfort zone, but what better place to go than straight to the source! You can get some great insight from someone who has already gone through the process; does it require more school, did they start in another position, is there room to grow, etc.

Be Fearless in the Pursuit of What Sets Your Soul on Fire

This is another one of my favorite quotes. Find that thing that gives you a spark. Find something that makes you happy to get out of bed in the morning. I know we live in a capitalist society, but does that mean we should all be miserable in our careers? Absolutely not. Money is important for practical purposes, but what does it all mean if you hate your life and dread going to work in the morning?


Find that thing that makes your arrow stop spinning. And when it does, follow it.


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