Don’t Rush to Careerify Your Interests

There is nothing wrong with turning your interests into a career.  In fact, it can be one of the most wonderful and fulfilling ways to live.  Doing what you love for a living is great if possible, and it’s a lot more possible than people realize.  Don’t mistake me for saying it’s a bad thing.
The danger lies in trying to tie your interests to a currently existing job title from a drop-down of a dozen or so industries at a career center or in a course catalog.  There are two reasons this is problematic.
First, you don’t know enough yet.  You know very little about all of the various careers and roles and ways to create value out there.  There are so many more than can fit on a survey or simple list.  Even if you know a job title, you may be completely unaware of how that job compliments your interests.  Maybe you love puzzles and problem solving.  It’s possible computer programming would be a great way to turn that interest into a career, but if you had no exposure to coding and no clue what it was like you may never know that.  Maybe you love speaking in front of a crowd and therefore assume you should try to be a public speaker or teacher.  But maybe the reason it excites you is because you love rallying people around a vision and public speaking is the only way you currently know about to do it.  Maybe you’d love being a manager, but you have no idea because you’ve never been exposed to it and the title “Manager” conveys very little that appeals to your interest in rallying people to a vision.
Second, your interests may not exist in any current career.  You might have to create it.  This is a huge opportunity.  Often the things that never existed before you created them are the most valuable and fulfilling.  You couldn’t plot a path ahead of time based on a college major or industry.
An additional benefit of resisting the early careerification of your interests is that it lets you accumulate a truly unique combo of skills and knowledge few others will have.  It’s often the “outsiders” in an industry who do the innovating.  Someone working in one field with deep knowledge and interest in another has a perspective few can match.
You need to get off the conveyor belt and get into the world and start experimenting and experiencing things.  Go work for and with and around people doing a lot of different things and see where your interests intersect with your ability to create value.  You might be totally surprised.  There are far more jobs than you know about, and an infinite number that haven’t been invented.
Keep the exploration open.  As long as you don’t hate it, try it out.  Don’t stress too much if what you want to do doesn’t have a title.  That just means you can create it.