Tips that pay off: Figure out what to do with your life


You’ve earned the obligatory undergraduate degree. Maybe you’ve been coasting at a safe, steady job since then. Now it’s time to figure out what you actually want to do with the rest of your life.

Don’t panic — yes, there are infinite career paths to choose from and a superfluity of conflicting advice from your friends, extended family and the internet. But you’ll be okay if you step away from Google: We’ve curated a definitive guide to deciding what the hell to do with your life.

Maybe you’re intrigued by the prestige of a graduate degree but can’t decide if it’s worth the student debt (plus the all-nighters you swore off after undergrad)? Maybe you’re not fulfilled by your current job but can’t imagine what your calling is? Here’s to figuring it out.

Tip No. 1: Let your personality guide you

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How do you figure out the job — and career path — that will fit your skills well but also actually make you happy?

We spoke with career experts and reviewed research to find you the answers. The goal: to make sure your next job isn’t just another “job,” but your next step toward a rewarding and meaningful career that will leave you excited and motivated every day. These five simple, personality-centric steps will get you there.

Tip No. 2: In that vein, focus on what you hate — not what you love


The truth is that finding your calling is just as much about figuring out what you don’t want to deal with as it is about discovering what you love.

We’ve compiled a list of jobs across many different industries that will appeal to people with common pet peeves — like those who loathe waking up early, dislike chit-chat or hate being cooped up indoors.

Tip No. 3: Read your way to professional enlightenment

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These five summer reads are not just enjoyable — they will also help you make more money, change careers or otherwise inspire you to find greater happiness.

Each approaches the topic of money and success in a different way — from applying ancient Buddhist wisdom to picking the brains of today’s top investors — but the ideas in all of them will make you wiser about your financial future.

Tip No. 4: Figure out if grad school is a smart move for you


Whether or not graduate school is worth the cost is a subject that’s rife with controversy. Depending on who you talk to, getting a Master’s degree or other advanced degree is either a great decision or a huge waste of time and money. What’s more, you can find data to support both assertions.

Whatever you decide, be sure to think through your decision carefully before making the leap. Here are three things to consider before you decide.

Tip No. 5: Most importantly, like your mother always said, be yourself


By emulating your bosses and mentors, the thinking goes, you can learn to be like them and achieve similar success.

But then you get seemingly contradictory advice to just “be yourself,” since overpreparation for job interviews, for instance, can make you seem rehearsed and inauthentic. So what should you actually do?

These three pieces of specific evidence suggest that being yourself really is a winning strategy at work — and explain how to do just that without going overboard.


Sign up for the Payoff— your weekly crash course on how to live your best financial life. Additionally, for all your burning money questions, check out Mic’scredit,savings,career,investingandhealth carehubsfor more information — that pays off.