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That awkward moment when I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life

Hey, guys! Happy last week of tax accounting to me! How was your weekend? Did you miss me? Say something nice about me, it’s Monday!

Ever since I announced my plans to leave public accounting and the state of Ohio, I’ve been asked by just about everyone the inevitable question, “So what are you going to do next?” While I have been able to say with confidence that I am done with public accounting (provided I can find something else — obviously I’ll deal with the hours if I need to), I haven’t figured out a good response to the “what’s next?”. The question is valid, what AM I going to do next? But the answer remains, “I don’t know”.

I’ve never been someone that was sure about a career. I changed my major like three times in college, eventually deciding on something that would easily get me a job. I was on my own, a liberal arts degree that could keep me in food service for a few years was not an option. Accounting was safe and I managed to make it safer. I didn’t know anyone in the biz, so I started looking for internships early. Between sophomore and senior year, I managed to secure between 25 and 30 interviews. Out of these, three internships were offered to me. I made sure to have a variety of experience as well. My three internships managed to cover the bases of tax, audit, insurance, cost, and managerial accounting. I left nothing up to chance. When it came time for me to graduate, I actually had a few offers. I decided and secured a tax accountant position two months before graduation.

Eighteen months later and I know public accounting is not for me. Simply put, the hours and stress are not worth it for the slightly better salary than your average recent grad. I have no desire to become a CPA. I did find out that I do indeed like individual tax (go figure, I like knowing how much people are making and what they are doing with it). Corporate tax is the devil, but most people prefer it to individual. I learned a lot working in public accounting but my biggest takeaway was simply that you can’t do something that makes you so unhappy for a long period of time. You can definitely do it in the short term, which is great because that gives you security while you look for other things. But after awhile, when the stress keeps you up at night and you dread going to the office each day, you have to make a change for sanity’s sake. Oh and if you are staying in the same general area, I would probably suggest finding another job before you quit.

So what comes next? I have no idea actually. I’m not quite sure what I want. Or maybe I have an idea but I’m afraid I won’t get to that point. As it stands, the plan is to apply to a wide range of jobs and see what comes my way. In my experience, I have found that the Universe often has better plans for me than I do for myself. Perhaps it is time to give up a little control…

Whew, heavy. On a lighter note, here are three dream jobs that I wish existed:

World’s Official Food and Wine Taster: I could decide what foods could exist on Earth and eliminate all those with weird textures allowing me to eat anything left in the world. Then I wouldn’t have to special order all my stuff at restaurants or awkwardly tell a dinner host that the sight of pudding makes me physically ill. And the wine part is just because I love wine.

Movie Inconsistency Catcher: Oh my god, do these writers/producers/directors/actors really miss all the inconsistencies in the storylines of movies and TV shows? I see them! I could totally save these shows and movies the embarrassment of changing the differences between character’s ages in different seasons and/or films (I’m looking at you SATC).

Test Subject for Fun Things Only: So they do have test subjects, but I only want to be observed doing fun things. Watch me while I’m sleeping, eating, reading, writing, drinking, or traveling. You examine my mood or behavior or whatever it is you are looking for and then pay me for it. Also pay for my bed, food, books, laptop, wine, and trips — they are business expenses after all. No needles.

I would be a workaholic if these jobs existed. I would happily work all three at the same time. That’s dedication.

Have you figured out what you want to be when you grow up? How long did it take for it to finally click? If you could do ANYTHING in the world (make it as crazy as you want) what would it be?

[Image from Buzzfeed]

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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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