Do Not Rush into a Career Path Based on Social Insecurity

by Daryl Capuano

do-not-rush“I have no idea what I want to do. But everyone else does.”

I hear that statement quite a bit from college students and twenty somethings who are worried that they are someone behind on the career track. They then express feelings of failing compared to their friends and peers who have successful careers.  These young adults sometimes latch onto the first career track that seems to make sense. They feel better about themselves as they start telling their friends that they are going to be [fill in decent sounding career]. From there, they take action towards heading in that career direction.

While I’m all for action, choosing a career path, something that has implications for decades, due to the expediency of satisfying your present insecurity is quite possibly the largest reason for career unhappiness.

If you feel the need to tell people that you are on a specific path, then recognize that feeling for what it is: insecurity about looking less successful than your peers.

That may sound harsh.  But, understanding that truth is far better than choosing a career path so that you can feel better when telling your friends and others that you are taking plans to become whatever you momentarily believe sounds impressive.

As for that insecurity, the feeling is highly common, particularly for college students and twenty somethings in Connecticut pondering career choices. Here’s something that might give you comfort.  Many of your peers who confidently tell others that they know what they are doing for their career are either exaggerating about their certainty or have locked themselves on the wrong track.

I know this because many of our clients seeking career help confess that they tell others that they are definitely becoming a “something” but that they have great doubts about whether this career path makes sense. Similarly, and even more significantly, half of our older career counseling clients come to us for career counseling work because they know they chose the wrong career.  Many that chose their career path did so without sufficient deliberation or career coaching

Ensure that you do not dive into a career path to satisfy your momentary feelings of insecurity.  Potentially, that is a recipe for career misery.