Many of us know how confusing finding a career path can be; whether in memory, or because right this second we’re feeling lost.
At Indy Hall, we meet so many people who are feeling stuck in their field and looking for a way out.
Often times they are:
- Recent grads who are feeling dubious about jobs in their field of study
- New parents who need to restructure the way they make a living to accommodate the needs of their family
- Hopeful industry switchers who are looking for a big change, (like me!)
- Aspiring entrepreneurs who don’t know how to get their business off the ground
- And folks who are somewhere in between or a combination of the above
Getting off the treadmill of traditional careers can seem impossible, scary, and wrong. We’re all so entrenched with the common expectations of what a career even is: a narrow, linear, upward path in a single field.
But we, the community of people carving out their own career, are proof that expectation isn’t for everyone.
In my conversation with Taylor Hopper, I wanted to understand her challenges as a recent grad and discover how we at Indy Hall could help her carve her own path.
Stuck in the School Whirlwind
“In high school, I was super intrigued by human behavior, and I chose my majors (psychology and criminal justice) at Michigan University based on that. I got caught up in the whirlwind of what school was and everything that came with it, I never had a break.”
“I took a gap year, intending on going to grad school to pursue psychology, and I finally sat still for a while and really thought about it. I came to the realization that there’s so much more out there that interests me, and the more I explored that the less I was interested in pursuing psychology.”
Taylor still had some interest in psychology, but those feelings were muddled by having no expectation of what a career in psychology would be like. “I wanted to explore careers in psychology more before committing to grad school, but you have to be in grad school before you can get clinical experience. Well, what if you’re in Grad school and then you realize you don’t want to do it?”
Now that’s she post-grad and post-gap-year, Taylor has some ideas of what she would have done differently. “I would’ve waited to go to college for sure. – You’re still such a child when you graduate from high school, you’re still like growing and developing all throughout your college years. So your interests will most likely shift.”
The Indy Hall Connection
Taylor was stuck, but not helpless. In true JFDI spirit, she spent months cold calling and emailing dozens of companies and businesses. Her ask? “Let me learn from what you do.”
That’s is how she met Amanda Thomas, an Indy Hall member since 2013 and co-owner/publisher at Lanternfish Press. Amanda knows that Indy Hall is a great place to find inspiration and support before setting off on a nontraditional path, as Amanda found her own non-traditional path by starting a publishing company with a fellow member after they met during one of our Show & Tell events.
So, Amanda referred Taylor to us, suggesting that Taylor could find support and inspiration for herself. “When I came here I was really, really lost. I didn’t know what to do.”
At the first meeting with Taylor, it was clear that we could help each other out. “I describe Indy Hall as a place where people come to sculpt their most ideal career. You provided me with a beam of light, a direction. I was like, ‘Thank god for the helping hand.’”
Moving Forward with New Confidence
Anyone who’s been lost in a sea of possibilities can tell you, eliminating options is a relief.
After sitting down with Amanda, Taylor did just that.
One of the things she had been considering was going to grad school but quickly realized that path wasn’t going to satisfy deeper ambition. “I can help one person and like slap the bandaid on, but at the end of the day the problems are systematic.” This clarity helped her choose to forgo graduate school. “I’m more interested in fixing the system, and I realized I don’t need to get a graduate degree for that.”
But when one door closes, a whole Monster’s Inc. conveyor belt of doors open. “[Amanda] helped me realize I don’t have to be constrained in a box. Just because I went to school for [psychology] and because I’m interested in [psychology], it doesn’t have to stop me from doing something completely different in five years and loving it. She told me to be curious, to keep learning and keep doing, to keep following what I want to be doing. It was inspiring and enlightening. The conversation really took a weight off.”
Taylor hasn’t got everything is figured out yet. She does have new confidence in her choice to take the long, weird, winding road towards making a career that fits her over finding a career to fit into.
“Deciding that I didn’t want to continue my education in my major was such a scary thing. It makes you feel so alone, it makes it feel like you feel like you’re doing something wrong. But, coming here to Indy Hall, I realize it can be right.”
Taylor’s journey is super familiar.
Taylor trusted her gut which led her to seek out other options, that lay beyond the path of least resistance.
It’s a journey many of us at Indy Hall have already taken, and if not we are somewhere in the middle of it right at this moment.
As Taylor said, it can feel extremely lonely to set out on your own, do things differently, and reject the traditional career path. But you don’t have to figure it all out alone.
We’ve been working on formalizing a way to help career switchers and students who are lost in the sauce, so Taylor’s hopes to find some clarity in the experiences of our members presented us with an opportunity that we’d been waiting for: figuring out how to best help folks in transition.
We learned a lot from working with her, and we’re excited to do it again.
So I have to ask…
What path are you stuck in right now? Where would you go if you weren’t?
Fill out our little quiz below so we can figure out the best way to help you carve your perfect path.
Let’s see where we can go together.