?What Should I Do With My Life?? That question is one that many of us continually ask ourselves. I still ask myself that question as a 41 year old as much as I did when I was 21. Sometimes, that question becomes riddled with anxiety, and instead we begin to say in worry and frustration: ?I don?t know what to do!? or ?I don?t know where to start!? or even ?I hate where I am in life!? Perhaps, dear reader, you?re at a loss as to figure out what to do next. Fortunately, there are online resources that can help with the journey.
As Kevin has mentioned previously, this site is not really geared to those who might be considered ?financially blessed?. There already are plenty of options and resources online for those who have abundant amounts of financial wealth. What about those of us whose resources are more constrained? While I certainly can?t assuage you from all your fears concerning your voctional and financial matters, I have been fortunate enough to find a number of online resources that might be able to point you in the right, or at least a better, direction.
LiveCareer has received its share of criticism in the internet world, but so far, I have found their online career tools invaluable. Some of these tools are free of charge, but others, like their resume builders, require a one-time or monthly fee. Their career test is free to take, but you will have to pay to see and print the entire detailed report.
I want to point out, however, that the test is very comprehensive and might give you new insights as to what kinds of work you might thrive in and what fields you might want to consider exploring further. I?ve also discovered that doing your resume in a different format and style can get you noticed more often.
Career One Stop
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Career One Stop has a unique test to figure out your skills, what career fields might be a good fit for you, average salaries, and long-term outlook of each vocational field.
For example, when it comes to your personal skills, how able are you when it comes to building and constructing methods? Can you do something basic, like hang a picture? Or do something more advanced, like fix a plumbing leak in a ceiling? Or are you an expert, like knowing how to build a high-rise apartment building? The test, which helps you answer these questions, is roughly 10 minutes long and is also free. You can take it here.
How many of you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality test? OK, granted, personality tests may not fall under the realm of ?hard science,? but the folks at 16Personalities have come up with an insightful and detailed test based on the MBTI.
Included in their evaulation is your individual type?s strengths and weaknesses, how you approach relationships, potential career paths, along with possible roadblocks and challenges you may face in those areas. Best of all, the initial test and results are free!
The Great Office Escape
The Great Office Escape doesn?t have as many updates as it used to have, considering that the bulk of content on the site was written during 2006 to 2013. Yet just because the subject matter is more than a couple years old doesn?t mean it?s still not highly relevant. Articles like ?Getting Fired is Good!?, ?How to Avoid Company Meetings?, ?When No Job Fits?, and ?Charting Your Voyage Out of the Rat Race? make for some interesting reads. For those of you who want to pursue a path that is focused more on entrepreneurship or self-employment, TGOE offers advice that is both practical and inspirational at the same time.
The Penny Hoarder
The Penny Hoarder is another gem for those seeking to chart their own path to self-employment and financial independence. According to Wikipedia, the site ?provides news coverage, personal stories and original reporting with a personal finance angle. There?s a focus on reaching underserved readers who make less than the average household income and may feel alienated by most finance publications.? Numerous ?how-to? articles abound on the site, including:
- The 16 Apps That Help You Earn Money for Doing Almost Nothing.
- 50 Surprising Side Jobs to Help You Make Extra Money This Month.
- How to Pay Off Debt: Make a Plan in 13 Minutes.
- 31 of the Absolute Best Freebies We?ve Ever Found Online.
Think the only way you can ever make money is to slave away at a regular 9-to-5? The Penny Hoarder is a great site than can teach you how to think more creatively and innovatively about how you can make a daily living.
The Dollar Stretcher
We make money, we spend money?.wash, rinse, repeat. Here?s a question worth asking: are you spending more than you need to? This is where The Dollar Stretcher comes in. Their motto is: ?Living Better…For Less?. I?ve been a subscriber to their ?Surviving Tough Times? newsletter, but I confess I haven?t been reading it much, which is a shame, because they have lots of good advice in their articles on how to cut your daily cost of living, what to do if you?re unemployed and falling behind on your bills, and how you can save more for retirement ? even if you are well into middle age and haven?t saved enough. The Stretcher shows how it?s possible to be happy and live simply.
As they point out, however, being frugal is not the same thing as being ?cheap,? and they point out ways where being frugal can actually cost you money in the long run.
How to Do Life
Dr. Marty Nemko is a well-known name in world of career and vocational counseling, especially in the Bay Area of California, where he resides. His series ?How to Do Life,? which features in Psychology Today, can be invaluable if you?re feeling stuck in your current circumstances and trying to overcome personal insecurities and hang-ups. One particular article that might resonate with some readers is When Nobody Wants You ? Professionally or Personally.
For those of you who might be struggling romantically as well as vocationally, and who are having trouble finding new friends, there?s lots of useful tips and suggestions here.
How about you, readers? What other sites and or resources have helped you during your difficult times? Let us know!
Thanks for the information. I took the quizzes (personality and career) just to see if my focus has changed over the years but got very similar results from when I did the of the same kind of testing at beginning of my work life. I definitely don’t have the skill set for being an entrepreneur myself but I can certainly develop others in learning skills to achieve this skill.
Hi, Maria! I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older that my results from taking these kinds of tests have gotten more consistent. I think that as we gain more life experience we become more aware of our strengths and abilities and what we can handle.
Until recently I shied away from the whole concept of “entrepreneur”. I figured you couldn’t be one unless you came up with an idea that no one else had ever thought of before, or you needed to have an innate talent for managing and ordering around other people. In retrospect, I realize how narrow I’ve been in thinking in those terms!
Again like you said that word entrepreneur has multiple meanings. What I have seen is a glut of this ?self developed business formation some more successful than others but for those who are barely getting by to continue doing so while utilizing an unnecessary lean on ,for lack of a better word, welfare benefits. Why work harder to get more successful if you have ?free handouts ? as long as you keep earnings under a certain level. That underlying thinking and my need to be successful without benefits keeps me from creating a business. I wholly believe to be successful you don?t have to lean on someone else to support you. Getting a lending hand is completely different concept because you will eventually be self sufficient and can in turn help others.
While I admire those with artistic ability because of their skills, I can?t sympathize with their lack of ability to be less self centered. Some of us are workers who do those jobs that make us ?invisible ? to those who are self absorbed with ?enjoying ? life. The jobs that I am referring to aren?t those jobs that will eventually be replaced by robots but skilled speciality jobs that require one to interact with others in a constant positive manner (the invisible jobs), which will always be around. Jobs that make you think constantly are not ?entrepreneurial.
Maria Rose and Steve – It’s interesting you’re both touching on the entrepreneurial theme. But I’d recommend against over-formalizing it. I’ve found it to be a combination of attitude and lifestyle more than anything else. That is, for me at least, it was a gradual evolution, not a moment in time. I think that’s the hurdle for so many people, the fantasy that you’ll stumble across a business idea, quit your job, and become self-employed full time. That’s the TV version and I don’t think it works that way for most people. You get into something – a skill you have or develop, and monetize it. You do that while you’re at your job. Gradually, as the income from it grows, the entrepreneur idea becomes clearer. But there are fits and starts along the way.
As to the attitude, it’s about transitioning away from relying on a single income source. You learn that you can draw income from multiple sources, and once you do, you just keep rolling with it. After a while, the process becomes your new normal, and you just go with the flow. Overall it’s a more satisfying lifestyle because you’re not “owned” by your job. Then the possibilities start to grow as you move forward.
I may over-generalize, but I think anyone can make the transition if they adopt the right mindset. I’m always amazed at the talent I see in people, that they never convert to something they can sell more than one source/customer/client. That’s probably the hurdle that has to be crossed, but it’s easier when you realize you don’t have to do it in a single leap.