I’ve switched jobs every year for the past six years.
At 22, I taught English at a language school. At 23, I worked at the front desk of a local gym, signing people up for memberships. At 24, I worked as an aesthetician, removing people’s hair with sugar paste. At 25, I taught English at an elementary school. At 26, I taught English at a kindergarten. At 27, I became a remote copywriter at a digital marketing agency. And now at 28, I’m back to teaching at a kindergarten.
Sometimes I can’t help but feel like a failure because I haven’t settled into a career yet. Most of my friends at this age have worked at the same company for years. Yet, I keep career and job hopping, still trying to figure out the path I want to take.
But lately, I’ve realized though I’ve been job hopping, these years weren’t a “waste” of my life. Because with each career and job switch, I’ve learned more about myself. About what I like, what I don’t like, the type of work environment that I thrive in, and the kind of life I want to build.
So here’s my takeaway for you:
It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do with your life yet. What’s most important is you act on any opportunities that excite you. With each opportunity, you’ll learn more about yourself. You’ll figure out what you don’t want, and this will guide you toward what you do want. So, remember this, with every job that doesn’t work out, you’re one step closer to finding out what it is you want to do.
I’ve moved every year, either to a new apartment, city, or country since I was 18.
In fact, I’m notorious for spontaneously moving. For the longest time, I felt ashamed of this. Ashamed that I’ve struggled to decide where to live for 10 years. It’s been a difficult decision for me because I have relatives in Taiwan, my brother and best friends in Canada and my parents in Budapest. And so, I frequently moved back and forth between the countries.
But lately, I’ve had a revelation. I realized I’m not a failure for not knowing where to live. And instead of feeling shame, I should feel grateful for the fact I have job opportunities in each place. I should feel grateful for the different cultures I’ve experienced. And I should feel grateful for the people I’ve met and the connections I’ve made along the way. It’s a privilege to travel and move abroad. And if I’m not doing it now while I have little obligations, then when will I be able to do it?
So here’s my takeaway for you:
It’s okay if you’re still figuring things out – your next job, relationship, or move. In fact, we’re all figuring it out as we go. Even the people who seem to know what they’re doing, still struggle with doubt, fear, and their next steps, too. But what’s different about them is they don’t get paralyzed by those feelings. Instead, they act on the option they believe is best at the time, based on all the knowledge they have. And they make their decision right in the end.
So, instead of getting paralyzed and feeling shame for not knowing where you’re headed, focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Focus on the next minute. On the next ten minutes. On the next 30 minutes. On the next hour. And do what feels right for you at the time given your circumstances. Eventually, you’ll find something and somewhere that sticks. And remember to focus on gratitude every step of the way.