December 2, 2016, by Carla

How to Get Over Being Totally Indecisive About Choosing Your Career Path

By Rachael Redgate, BA (Hons) Geography (2011)

Do you feel overwhelmed by the myriad of career options available to you? Are you afraid of making the wrong choice? Do you know you want to pursue something you’re passionate about but aren’t so sure what that is yet? 

On a good day, it feels quite liberating to be on the doorstep of the next phase of  your life with a ton of different possibilities laying before you. On a bad day, the weight of your impending decision lays heavy on your mind.

Like Alice, you feel as though you’re about to walk through an unfamiliar door into a crazed world where life will never be the same again.

Dun, dun, duuuunn…

Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, I get it… I’ve been there.

So, how do you take action and choose what to do next without falling prey to a pattern of seriousness, doubt and fear?

Well, let’s take a look at a few new ways of thinking and steps to take that will combat that. Here are five ways that will get you unstuck and help you to choose your next move from a new and different place.

1. Keep it light


Bandersnatch, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1902)

Are you breathing? Do you have access to food and water? Did you just get chased by a Bandersnatch?

No? You’re okay. That’s a good start.

‘Bad days’ can be a result of looking at your future from a place of fear. This might be characterised by a heavy weightiness that makes life seem ‘oh so serious’.

Notice when this happens, get present, breathe and give space for your fears to be heard. Maybe you could start a journal or simply write them down? This will help to lighten the load and ensure you’re not being driven by your fears.

To take this one step further, consciously choose to look at your life from a different place. Personally, I like to approach my life from a place of learning and adventure. Consider what choosing your career path that way might look like?

2. Take action on your curiosities

You don’t have to know whether you will like a job yet or not, and you’ll never find your passion just by thinking about it!

So, I invite you to take action. 

Write down five career paths you’re most curious about and take action with the one that piques your interest the most. It could be to volunteer, get some work experience, an internship or even a temporary job within the field.

That should get the ball rolling.

Work experience is not just a CV enhancing decoration, it’s for you. Careers services are also a good place for resources and The University of Nottingham has a great one.

3. Feel the fear and do it anyway

If you happen to be a recent graduate, in fact especially if you are a recent graduate, I imagine the ‘next step’ may have been more clearly paved for you in the past. Whether it was taking school exams to get into university, or even if you had a particular goal in mind when you picked your degree subject.

Now, it seems different. The future looks unpredictable, and even if you had decided upon a career, the path isn’t so clearly demarcated. It’s the unknown. Uncharted territory is uncomfortable, scary and our mammalian brains really don’t like it.

Want to know a secret? You’re okay.

The trick is to be aware of the discomfort and embrace it. Since there’s likely some action oriented fear present, I’d advise you to get familiar with the mantra

“Feel the fear and do it anyway”

Here’s a book on the subject.

4. Know that you can change your mind

Picking a career today can be completely overwhelming. We are spoilt for choice. My dad always used to tell me that getting my degree was very important because it would give me more options. However, knowing how indecisive I am with a big restaurant menu, I wasn’t too sure.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Chapter 7: A Mad Tea Party

The beauty of picking a career is that you can always change course, even if you’re midway through. I did it, you can too.

It may sound simple but it’s easy to forget. Once you choose a career direction, you are not committed for life. I know several people who have had multiple careers throughout their lifetime – and successful ones, at that. If at some point you want to change, you can!

Furthermore, choosing something, in other words empowering a choice, is better than making no decision at all.

5. Put your big girl/big boy pants on

You’re no longer an in-between lecture napper, sleep in till 3pm, party all weekend undergrad…

It’s time to put your ‘big person pants’ on and get to it. Trust yourself, go with your gut and self-reflect. Are there any dreams you’ve packed away? Are you harbouring a great idea?

Yes? Then make it happen. Grab life by the horns – it’s waiting for you! You’ll be surprised at how many of us forget what we really want when the time to pursue it arrives.

If you’re about to graduate this December or if summer is your time to step out into the world, the Careers team is on hand to help. Whether you have a clear idea or no idea about what’s next, make sure you make the most of the expert advice available to you. Just login to My Career now to book an appointment with an adviser. 

Image credits:

  1. John Tenniel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  2. Peter Newell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  3. John Tenniel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Posted in Alumni StoriesCareers AdviceChoosing Your Career