The Sokanu Blog

Helping you find your passion in life

Two Strategies for Picking a Direction Post-Education


What is it like trying to navigate our lives and what we want to be doing for the next 30 years or so? This does not always mean we’ll be doing the same kind of work year after year. But it does mean we have to pick a direction that will satisfy us for decades. Daunting, no?

I had a Skype call last week with my friend Theresa — probably one of the happiest and most bubbly human beings I’ve ever met.

She was making a cup of tea in her bright apartment when I gave her a digital call to learn more about students navigating through post-secondary education. She’s currently attending Royal Roads, a University in Victoria, BC that provides students with applied education that will give them practical techniques and tools required for life after post-secondary. She’d just finished one of her all-day classes when I called.

What Theresa told me was surprising:

"I have no idea what my dream job is. My teachers kept saying ‘what’s your dream position? Where do you want to go?’ And I was like ‘I don’t knooooow.’ Lots of people in my class were feeling that too."

Here is this bright, talented, personable, curious girl—and she has no idea what she wants to do after she’s finished school. But she told me some things that made me think she’s not as far from deciding as she thinks.

The 2 ways of figuring out what we’d like to pursue

As Theresa moved through University, and eventually Royal Roads, she learned two major things about herself:

1. What she likes to learn
Even after a couple years taking a veritable smorgasbord of classes, hoping to ignite her career interest, she found that everything interested her. Though there were a few classes that stuck out—like journalism—she didn’t want to take the full major that came with that particular class. A year or so later, she tried another random non-fiction class and loved it too. A pattern was emerging.

Know that just because you didn’t focus on a particular subject in school, that does not rule out elements of it as your future career.

2. How she likes to learn
Education doesn’t stop when we get out of school. There’s constant learning on the job. And with such a high percentage of people feeling like they are impostors (especially among women), it can feel like you’re starting from the ground up with no prior knowledge. Learning how to learn is one of the main ways to make career discovery that much more enjoyable.

- Is it in intimate one-on-one chats?
- Reading a book or listening to a podcast?
- Following by example?
- Being cautious or taking risks?
- Do you require alone time or listening to big group discussion?

The next 30 years are going to pass you by no matter what you do. It can be hard to choose what you want to do— so choosing subjects that keep your attention more than others is a good place to start. Then play with how you like to learn about those things. They may be keeping you attention for longer than you thought possible. 

Written by Renee Masur