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Look For What Makes You Excited

Dear Harlan: I recently graduated from college and have a job that leaves me feeling empty. I can’t believe this is what I worked so hard for. What do you say to someone who hasn’t figured out what he wants to do or what will make him happy? — Searching

Dear Searching:  Stop trying for “happy”; instead, go for “excited.” Happiness comes later. It can take several years to find it. Excited can happen by the time you’re done reading this answer. Most people don’t find happiness the first time around. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, the average person born in the later years of the baby boom held 10.8 jobs from age 18 to age 42. Nearly two-thirds of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 27. You probably will have even more jobs because you’re younger. Figure out what you love to do. Even more importantly, figure out what you don’t love to do. Instead of looking for a lifetime of happiness, look for something that excites and interests you. Give it a year. Throw yourself into it. Surround yourself with people who are doing what excites you. Get to know these people. These people will lead you to more answers and happiness. Instead of giving each job so much weight, call them “microcommitments.” Spend the next five to 10 years figuring out what you want. Give yourself permission to spend your 20s figuring out what excites you, and trust that happiness will follow.

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