Magic Happens When We Move

Young people get advice on careers from all parts of life.  Our parents tell us what they want us to become.  Society gives us a glimpse of what the cool and professional jobs are and what is not so cool.  Schools tell us what is smart and what is stupid.  But who tells our life stories?  Who is the one person that will be there throughout your life to tell your story?  It is YOU, isn’t it?

Truth is our parents, the school and, society won’t be there to hold our hands forever and therefore it is crucial that we rather take our own advice.  Listen to others – it might make a huge difference in your life to listen, however also make sure that you listen to your own advice. There is so much truth in the saying “Actively mastering what you have passively suffered”.

When people tell others about themselves, they kind of must do it in a narrative way—that’s just how humans communicate. But when people think about their lives to themselves, is it always in a narrative way, with a plot that leads from one point to another? There’s an old saying that says: “Everyone has a book inside of them”

Each of us has a story to tell and sometimes our life themes lie within these stories.  Dr. Cobus Marais has designed a Career Interest Questionnaire (CIP: Career Interest Profile) where we are encouraged to look at these life themes to identify and to enable us to self-construct our own careers.  This makes so much more sense than taking numerous psychometric and other Aptitude tests which most often tell us what we already know.  Career counselling should be aimed at empowering clients to reflect on their life stories to identify their main life themes based on which they can construct their careers.  One should ideally listen to one voice and follow one person’s advice only because that is also the person that one can then blame if things do not turn out the way one would want them to be.  Whose voice is that?

Make sure that when you are on the journey to discovering your career you find out who you truly are.


Do a mind map about your life or a collage – it is fun but it will also give you such a good idea of who you are.

Ask people everywhere you go about their careers.  Research on careers takes time, the sooner you start the better.

Accept yourself – you don’t have to think, do and act like the others.

Read and read and read and read.

Ask yourself:  What do I want?  Then come up with a plan.

Discovering Your Career

Do you want just a job or are you serious about a career?  Some even refer to it as a calling.  What is your calling and have you find your purpose yet?

We often feel bewildered when we are young adults and we are literally at the doorsteps of one of the biggest decisions we must make in life – career choice.  We consider various options just to find out that there are now new, more modern more upbeat, interesting and stranger career options than the previous years. We sometimes feel that if we commit to a certain career option we might lose out on something better. The newer technologies and job descriptions have entered everyday life the more we become confused and overwhelmed, finding ourselves facing too many options and too many challenges.

If you feel paralyzed about all the different options and trends – please know that you are not alone.  It is only a small group of young adults who have a crystal-clear idea of what it is they want to become in life.

Going through these ups and downs regarding discovering your career is not always just bad or threatening it can be a thrilling and fulfilling process and one should not forget – a privilege.  But where do we start?

According to my own experience and because I have worked with young adults, helping them discovering their careers for many years now

– The best way to start discovering your career is with YOU.  Who are you?  Here are some tips on where to start and what options to consider:

  • Start making a list of your interests and your personality traits: it is very important that you start discovering who you are, what are your likes and dislikes and what type of conversations are you interested in?  Do you like working with new ideas, people or are you more analytical?  Once you know what your interests are – you should explore it.
  • What circumstances would fit your dream job: Even though some of these ideas can be quite unrealistic it is a good thing to ask yourself this question.  Make a list, using all your senses.  Where would you like to work?  Would you love to work outside, in an office, in a quiet office, with people or with lots of excitement or maybe with children?  What does this dream of yours look like? Write it down describing what you see and how your preferred day at work will look like.
  • Start asking to questions & expand your horizons: You can never ask too many questions when it comes to different careers.  Go visit your parents’ friends and organize to do some job shadowing – this is probably the most important step.  Do research.  Do your own research.  This is not something that your mom can do on your behalf – you should visit places and talk to people and go out there and see for yourself what the different jobs are all about. Be curious – once you’ve explored some things you might be interested in, start expanding your horizons.
  • If you are not certain at all – take a gap year: Research has indicated that a gap year has a positive effect on most students.  What is however important is that you use this year to gain information, do research, find out who you are, do job shadowing, build your CV or join a Gap year programme where you can get the opportunity to get exposure to all the above. Try new things. Do more volunteering or part-time work or sign up for something new and exciting.
  • You are not alone if you feel overwhelmed: there are so many students out there who don’t know what and where to study.  Take one step at a time.  Finding out who you are, speak to professionals who can help to assess you, visiting places to see if you might be interested and gain some new skills (learn new things every day), these are just some of the baby-steps you can start to take.

Remember the future is in your hands – not your parent’s or your teacher’s or your Country’s hands.  You and only YOU are responsible for your future so TAKE ACTION.  It is never too late and once you have taken ACTION – don’t be afraid to fail!