Help - I don't know how to find a niche for myself

amazzocchi's profile thumbnail
I think it's perfectly okay not to have set goals so early on. I have always been someone with very set goals, and as I'm completing my final year of my PhD I receive SO many questions about where my career is headed next and what my goals are after graduation. To their surprise - I confidently do not know. I'm comfortable not having career goals right now because I feel like I have found this sweet spot where I love my research and my work so much. As I invest more time into my work and continue to cultivate it, it is growing and presenting more opportunities to me. It sounds like this may be the same for you. I think we are in such a great position to continue working hard and following work that we love to see where it takes us. If goals aren't serving you and your career right now, put them on the back burner until it feels right to set goals. I think that time will come naturally. Going against the "norm" and not have set in stone goals can be uncomfortable and feel like a set back. Don't let that be the case though, with my own work, I keep putting in the time knowing that I am doing what I love, becoming more skilled, and am contributing in my field and they will pay its own dividends later. Lastly, I recently read a quote that relates well to this conversation and it has really stayed with me - "Take care of the minutes; for hours will take care of themselves" (Philip Dormer Stanhope).
beccawilliams's profile thumbnail
Hi Anon. We are conditioned to specialize from a young age and frequently once we start careers. For those of us who thrive on being generalists and who have many interests, that can cause a lot of internal turmoil. It's something I still struggle with, now in my 40s. A couple of things have helped me along the way. If you haven't already seen it, you might enjoy Emilie Wapnicks TEDx Talk, "Why Some of Us Don't Have One True Calling." https://www.ted.com/talks/emilie_wapnick_why_some_of_us_don_t_have_one_true_calling?language=en I've also found comfort in this article by Barbara Sher where she talks about scanner personality types. http://www.getmotivation.com/motivationblog/2017/04/barbara-sher-scanner/And one more I shared on another Elpha thread - https://firstround.com/review/the-secrets-to-designing-a-curiosity-driven-career/
shermansarah's profile thumbnail
" Is it such a bad thing that I want to make more money, learn and grow while having fun? " Nope. This is not a bad thing, and I think it's great that you've acknowledged these goals for yourself, because they are goals, at least to me - we share these goals!For me at least it's taking a while to figure out what exactly I like in my day to day work, but I'm working on it by pivoting from job to job and taking opportunities to try different skills (tried some coding in my spare time, not for me, some journalism, also not for me, UX research seems to be sticking). I also like to talk with my nearest and dearest about their experiences, and posting and reading on lovely networks like these. We've got this, and I think all the Elphas are here for you too :)
brianafm's profile thumbnail
I think you're fine just being a generalist. Think of general surgeons (I'm a Grey's Anatomy fan). There are a lot of companies who want Design Generalists because they just don't have the room for a huge team of specialists.It's all in your response. Just tell them you like being a generalist because you like having the bigger picture, or something of that nature.You've got this!
KaitlynHanrahan's profile thumbnail
I would definitely take advice like "you should have goals" with a grain of salt. Actually, take all career advice with a grain of salt; we all do this exactly once, no one's an expert.Now, I'm sure you do have some goals, right? Like there are a few directions you could see your career going. There are people you see ahead of you in their careers and you want to be there, no? It sounds like you are open to lots of possibilities and there is nothing wrong with that.I'm also a generalist. And I understand how it's frustrating being asked career questions that you don't have an opinion on and facing shock or confusion for your lack of "direction". Something that helped me figure out what I wanted was looking at job listings. I would see a job and think, "wow I would love to do that, but I wouldn't hire me for it". Seeing a few of those made it clear what I really wanted. And from there it was just a matter of filling in the skill gaps. Even if you are not job hunting, I would try reading job posts rather than just mentally pondering all the possibilities out there to figure out what you want next. Also it's totally cool to just be happy with what you do now. I got bored and anxious in my mid 20's when I had settled into my job and didn't have a clear "next". Now, in my 30s and with kids, I've bounced all over the place and I would not mind AT ALL to go back to that same well-paying job where my main complaint was it had gotten too easy, haha.
rosiesherry's profile thumbnail
Sound advice from everyone here.I'd also two years is not that long. Don't let others pressurise you.If you are up for it, I'd recommend perhaps reading books outside of your domain. In time it might help spark an interest in a niche or something else.