I'm a female, 27 yr old, living in the Bay Area. I graduated college in 2012, have worked in the tech industry doing entry level jobs but nothing exciting. I know I want to change my job and do something meaningful, but I don't know what it is I want and how to move towards it.

Background: I lived at home throughout college, live with my parents now, don't have many friends, don't go out much. I mainly spent these past few years chilling at home by myself, smoking weed, going out here and there, not much dating (1 date in 3 years). I'm not reckless, I've saved up a lot living at home, I have a decent job, I help my parents and younger brother with bills, I'm a good person. I just feel I'm boring, wasting my youth, and not living life with passion and feeling trapped being this way but not being able to take action. Thoughts on this?

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10 months ago

You're SO not alone. I think so many people go through this. I'm constantly editing my path when I feel like I'm getting into a funk. It takes a lot of reflection and introspection, and posting here about it is the first step in manifesting your path forward.

Great news. You know what you do NOT want. You do NOT want: to feel bored, to feel trapped, to feel like you're living without passion.

You said something that sticks out to me -- "...not living a life with passion". That's a very specific idea... a "life with passion". Not everyone would add this to their list of aspirations, believe it or not. I'm not sure it's even on mine... I might have said "...a life fulfilled" or "a happy life". What does a "life with passion" mean to you? What does it look like? Or who that you know seems to be living a life with passion and what are they doing? It might be interesting to follow this thought process through... you might uncover a better picture of what you want out of a career (which is a logical next step after figuring out what you DON'T want).

Last thing I might add, I think it's impossible to know where our roads are going and all too often we're disabled just trying to figure out the end destination. It's just too much to bite off and trying to solve for the long game keeps us standing still. What's helped me tremendously is to focus on the next stop on the road... the 3 month, 6 month and 12 month career goals. Can you capture and define what you want out of your career (and in life) in the next 3/6/12? Thinking in short-term goals and trying to develop your definition of "living a life with passion" might be a great place to start.

Here to chat more if you want. Oh btw, no one knows what they want to do with life, and I am suspicious of people who say they have it figured out :-) You are VERY okay and you're on your way -- this is all part of the process.

10 months ago

+1 to Michelle's post: "Last thing I might add, I think it's impossible to know where our roads are going and all too often we're disabled just trying to figure out the end destination."

I'm 29, and I personally make a few plans - my micro plan is very much focused on the company and role I'm in. This is a 2 year plan. Am I getting some motivation or excitement in the short term. Some days are bleh, others fly by and I have fun with my job, or get nervous and have to overcome something. As long as I feel like I'm growing and learning, and entire weeks are passing by where I wonder what the hell did I even get accomplished, all is good.

As I look at my 5 year plan, I start to look less at the company and job, but more at the people in my network to make sure I'm surrounding myself with the RIGHT people. These aren't friends -- these are mentors, colleagues, relationships who will want to see and help me succeed in life, and hopefully I can help them too.

Now the big 10-20 year plan. These are personal life goals and everything above are just contributing to this plan. Hell, it might as well be a 50 year plan! My vision isn't so good, so this far downfield is always going to be a bit blurry, and that's totally cool with me. Life happens and I may have to pivot or overcome some obstacles, as long as the general path feels like it's getting me where I want to be. This is where I think the word, "meaningful" that you used comes in. Your JOB doesn't have to necessarily be so meaningful, as long as it's a means for you to do doing something meaningful in your life (i.e. does it give you time to volunteer...I mean you're already helping your family with bills. That's pretty damn meaningful). Maybe your job and your meaningful life merge, finding that ideal convergence.

Thanks for posting. This was a fun one to reflect on and I hope you found it helpful.

8 months ago

When I was in college (shortly before you actually), I had a "Summer of 'Yes'" where I forced myself to say "yes" to any experience that wouldn't put me in physical or legal danger. That provided all sorts of unexpected and often interesting situations and learning opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise had—at least at that point in my life. 


The summer turned into a year and, looking back on it, is probably responsible for where I am at professionally and personally.


Finally, to echo somewhat of what Michelle wrote, Steve Jobs once said "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."


My advice to you is to do something. Anything. Worry less about the specific direction forward and work on simply moving forward. Force yourself to have a Week (or month or year) of 'Yes' to  get into new experiences—it will be everything but boring.

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