Dan finished his education degree without ever stepping into a classroom.
After he graduated, he realized he didn’t like teaching and wasn’t good at it. The very first day of student teaching, where the goal was to serve as an intern before accepting a full-time position, he knew that this was not the career for him.
You’re probably thinking: hey, that’s life! He just had to stick it out, and then he’d be fine. And it’s true, sometimes there’s a learning curve on the road of purpose. We’re supposed to challenge ourselves, and it takes time to gain real-world skills.
This was different, though. Dan really didn’t like teaching. It felt uncomfortable and unnatural. He knew he could probably soldier on through the internship, but he didn’t want to go any further.
He thought back to what he really liked to do—the things he enjoyed when he was a kid, the skills that came naturally to him, and the times when he had taken pride in an accomplishment. Eventually, he realized that the next step on the path was to make an app that helped people monitor their daily fitness activity. Maybe it wasn’t the plan for the rest of his life, but it was a lot better than being in an environment that made him feel uncomfortable.
If your story begins like Dan’s, and you find yourself not enjoying the work you trained for, you might be tempted to stick it out. That’s what everyone expects of you. Maybe some people would even disapprove of you making a change.
It’s not just other people who are the problem: you also feel like it would be a waste to not continue down the road you chose long ago. You might feel wistful over the money spent or the time invested.
Then again, you also have the rest of your life. Which matters more?
It’s normal to cling to a chosen course of action, but that’s not always the best course of action. Just because it’s a good job doesn’t mean it’s the right job for you. Just because you acquired certain skills doesn’t mean you need to use them in any particular career.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to abandon the plan and explore something else. @chrisguillebeau (Click to Tweet!)
Why should you listen to anyone who says otherwise?
Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit, The $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do.
Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.
Image courtesy of Jakob Owens.