I have changed tack entirely on what-to-do-next. For several years now I’ve been reading all these books, seeking knowledge and advice: How can I work out what to do next? I like doing UX, but I don’t want to continue with the same kind of work. Do I keep on with UX? Change to something else? I analysed my skills, strengths, weaknesses, and what I have and haven’t enjoyed doing in the past. I desperately sought my passion. I told the concept of passion to “Go to your room!” and instead considered what I could do to best help others. I brainstormed “fun ideas.” I worked on an online business idea and products. I read more books and advice. I did exercises like imagining myself in 17 different careers (in parallel universes), analysing what I liked and didn’t like about each one, and “bad ideas” exercises, like imagining myself in wildly inappropriate careers, then looking at the opposite of those careers.
I’m currently reading Tools of Titans, which contains very varied life advice (and very particular advice) from about 200 people who are considered experts in their fields. It’s not a book I’d usually read, but I’ve been trying to read more diversely. I’ve also been reading 80,000 Hours, a fantastic website that’s chockablock with well-researched career help and information. A couple of days ago, I came across this advice (I believe it was in the book or the website, but now I can’t find the direct quote, damnit!) about how you can’t figure out what to do by thinking about it – a zillion books and a zillion analysis sessions won’t help you – you have to learn what to do by doing.
So I’m going to give myself a break from feeling like I absolutely suck for not having figured this stuff out, and I’m going to try doing completely different things, so long as I’m visibly doing (something I’ve found I need, to do things thoroughly – is to keep a visual record of what I’m doing).