What I Wish I’d Done Differently for My Career

Not listening to my dad is number one

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

As of late, I’ve been dealing with this weird feeling. It feels as if I fell asleep when I turned 18 and woke up a few years later. During this time, everything to do with my career feels like a blur.

I dropped out of school at 17 and by the time I hit 18, I was lost. I didn’t know what to do for a career — what I wanted from my future. I bounced around ideas before finally settling on creating a business I would end up regretting later.

Those memories and the feelings from that time play on repeat. I can’t help but think of all the things I should’ve done instead. Here’s that list.

Didn’t listen to my dad

My dad lives on the other side of the country. During my childhood, phone calls took place weekly and he did his best to keep in contact.

One of our conversations circled around careers, specifically if I already had something in mind. I told him I wanted to be a writer.

He shut that idea down quickly. “There’s no money in that,” he said.

I wish I could’ve said I proved him wrong. But, I wasn’t that kind of kid.

Instead of rebelling, I listened. My dad did pretty well for himself so I took his opinion to heart. When I asked my mom if she thought the same, she partly agreed except that I should pursue writing on the side.

I lost all hope of following my dream. Entering adulthood, I decided to take a different path, to forget writing altogether.

I wish I hadn’t.

I can’t help but think if I would’ve stuck with writing, despite what my parents said… Maybe I could’ve sold a novel by age 20. My mom always said if I finished a manuscript she’d help me find a publisher but I never completed one.

I wish I could go back and tell my younger self not to listen. To keep writing and when you’re an adult, to see how far you can take your writing. To take your writing to the moon if you have to.

Took online courses for writing

Obviously, I didn’t go to college. Once I dropped out, I was done with school for good. I wasn’t about to put myself in another situation where I’d be bullied and had to deal with crippling anxiety.

Not attending college isn’t what keeps me up at night. It’s not pursuing my writing on the side like I should have. I only thought the way to become a writer was to attend school for it.

Little did I know about online courses. If I would’ve known the dozens or so courses available for beginning writers, maybe my career would’ve taken a different turn.

I would’ve been more confident pursuing writing, knowing I had all the tools and know-how at my disposal.

This isn’t to say I couldn’t have learned on my own; there are plenty of good books out there on writing, anyway. I just never gave myself that option.

I decided to abandon writing altogether, putting me years behind others my age when I entered the field professionally. I had to learn everything, make every mistake before getting to where I am today. I still feel far behind some days, but as long as I don’t dwell on it, I can push through.

Never opened my small business

Opening my small business was a mistake.

It was comprised of handmade jewelry made by yours truly. I handled all the crafting and marketing, trying to make it successful despite my lack of experience.

I spent too much time making new designs and buying new supplies rather than working with what I had. I didn’t realize how important marketing and promotion was until it was too late.

All the effort and money poured into this business went to waste, essentially. I was in over my head and before I knew it, two years had gone by. Within two years, I barely improved the business.

Revenue was nonexistent. And so was my passion.

I chose jewelry because my mom thought I had a knack for it. She had gotten me a couple of DIY kits for Christmas one year and I was just surprised I could use my hands to make something other than stories. It seemed like fate, at the time; that this was my real calling, not writing.

Obviously, it wasn’t. It took me a while to finally own up to my lack of passion for this business — that I wanted to take a chance on writing. I did and the rest is history.

Don’t deny your dreams

If there’s something you love to do and you can’t imagine not doing it, there’s nothing to lose. Honestly, you’ll lose more by throwing that dream away than if you went for it.

As soon as you know what you want to do, do it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise or think it’s out of reach — it’s not.

Writer, content creator, photographer — helping people one article at a time.

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