27 November 2015 | Career Advice | Guest Author
So, what's next? This often tends to be the question you ask upon approaching a climax in life. In some ways it marks the end in the hopes of starting something new. This is the same principle once you have finished studying.
In most cases, graduates always go through this phase of not knowing what they want to do once they’ve concluded their studies, (you would think that taking a gap year would have given you more time and some perspective on what you want to do next). However this does not always go to plan, as you may find the world is constantly changing; people are developing new ideas and technology every day. What that means is you’re presented with more options which can be a positive thing or lead to more confusion for you.
With that being said no wonder why thinking about what’s next may leave you feeling a little bit lost and unsure about your career direction. On the other hand, the sense of uncertainty and trying to figure out what’s next doesn’t just occur when something is ending, you may also have this feeling whilst you are working and doing a job that’s within your academic field. A lot of negatives thought may start to play on your mind, you may start to doubt your achievements, doubt your skills and abilities and most importantly doubt yourself.
You may find it hard to now see the positive direction that you are heading in, that bright light that burns in you is slowly starting to burn out. The feeling that you’re working but what exactly are you working for starts to kick in.
You then wonder; where this is taking me or what is the point! Before you start bursting your brain with all those unanswered questions, just relax and take a breath. What now seems to become easy for most of us is putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves and we tend to forget that we are in essence small fishes in a very large pond- meaning we are just starting this long journey in our careers- so just take it slow.
I know it may be easier said than done, because let’s be honest this is something that I am struggling with myself trying to find that balance of, knowing where I am, and working towards where I want to be.
I honestly believe this is all due to how society is now structured; everything is happening so fast and moving so quickly that you feel that time is running out and you’re falling behind and not progressing. But believe when I say it is the mindset!
After feeling like this myself and bursting my brains with a lot of unanswered question, I decided the best thing for me to do is to start making achievable short term goals.
I structured my goals by using each year, so it could be from now to 2018 which gives you four years or it could be shorter or longer whatever suits you best. I have long term goals, so I break each goal up so I achieve parts of it throughout the year; that way it makes it more achievable and I feel like I am working towards something each year. I don’t just set my goals around my career aspirations, but also around personal achievements and fun activities things that I am interested in that take me out of my work routine.
By doing this, it adds something extra and fun to my life. As it is always good to keep the brain mentally and physical active on other things other than work because, I find that’s when the negative thinking start to appear and you start to lose perspective. Obviously setting short to long term goals is not something that is new, it may necessarily not work for you.
However, it is worth giving it a go, because I find when you’re able to put your personal goals and career goals on a piece of paper in essence it becomes real and that’s the first step making your goals real! Once you’ve done that, the next step is having the discipline to follow through with it.
It is also important to make a note that things may not follow the path that you hope it will, but nonetheless that should not deter you from what your goals are and working towards achieving them.