A reader emailed me this question and I hope that my answer will be of value not just to him but to anyone who's still not sure what they want to be when they grow up---even if they already are 20, 40, or even 80.
I love your posts. For years, I've taken the advice you've given and tried to apply them directly to my life. I feel like I've grown immensely from it. I was hoping that you could spare a minute to help me with one more step? It isn't explicitly covered in your posts, which is why I thought I'd contact you directly. My problem is that I live with an overbearing father who won't accept the possibility that his son wants to become something other than a doctor, lawyer, or banker. My options in life were simple: Become a doctor, lawyer, banker, or a failure. When I graduate next year, I want to go as far away from him as possible in order to build my own life. Problem is, I don't know what I want to do with my life because I was so busy studying towards going to law school because I thought it would make my dad proud. I thought about the military. It would give me what I want most: independence from my parents. But I don't want to make that kind of decision just so I can escape living at home. How do I find my purpose in life so that I can finally move forward with my life instead of being pressured into doing what my dad tells me? Thank you for any advice you can share on the topic. I would be deeply gratified for any advice you can give.
Jim (James Kalder)
Play around in the campus career center. Also, identify candidate careers by perusing the annotated lists of careers in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, (bias alert here), my Best Careers lists on usnews.com, and the 500+ careers in my book, Cool Careers for Dummies. Each of those offers a profile of lots of careers followed by a suggested website or book for additional information. If that proves insufficient, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) what you've learned from that in narrowing down your career choices, and I'll either offer some free advice or suggest that you and I do a session or three by phone, Skype, or in-person.