How to figure out what to do with your life?


Ask the Expert:

Question: How to figure out what to do with your life?
This is a broad question of course. What did you do? How do people know their calling?

Answer: Hi,

This is a question with an endless stream of discussions and debates. Everyone is unique yet there are patterns and similarities. The best way I can answer your question is by quoting Lewis Carroll from his epic book “Alice in Wonderland” – “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” I hope you find some perspective.

Just take an Aptitude Test to start off and know your strengths and weakness. There are many good services for students and working adults to test their skills and help select a profession. After an aptitude test make a simple SWOT analysis of your Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities in the market and Threat to some occupations in the market. I suggest this approach only because you don’t know what to do. Many people are driven by passion into a particular profession. Since you have no such passion or innate desire to follow a subject or occupation, this is the ideal solution.

People who are passionate about a job are able to overcome lack of skills and other obstacles through perseverance and self-learning.

You on the other hand would need to pinpoint your list of skills and qualifications to pick a line of work you would be productive in your life.

Even after picking a subject or profession, many more steps exist to know what exactly to do. For example, if I say I wish to be in the military to earn an income for serving my nation – what exactly do I do? If you go to a military recruitment center there are dozens of choices. The broadest choice is between Army, Air Force and Navy. If I pick Army, then still so many different divisions exist in it to train in and join as a fulltime employee. Do I become a Marine or paratrooper or a Special Ops or be in Military Police or tank driver or a gunner or a sniper or just a regular soldier with marching orders? Suppose I don’t ever want to fire a gun but still be in the Army, I could have a simple desk job as a translator or data analyst or IT systems guy or be a teacher there.

Similarly if I pick Engineering, then there are so many different divisions and subjects in engineering and many professions related to the same.

So take basic tests to evaluate your skills and personality. Then make a simple flow chart to guide you step by step into narrowing down to a single profession.

Best Wishes,
Ujjwal Dey
Ask the Expert: send your questions to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *