It’s Okay to Have No Idea What You’re Doing

I wish I had heard that it’s okay to have no career goals more often in university.

I ended up taking inspiration for my career from my surroundings rather than having a predefined idea of what I wanted to do. When I was 18, I walked up to my dad and said, ‘I want to go to university for theatre!’ -  sheepishly grinning since my dad had worked for the Toronto Opera and the Stratford Festival. I wanted to make him proud with my decision. Drama was also the only subject I wasn’t bored with in high school.

I still remember the package I got from the University of Waterloo with ‘YOU’RE IN!’ in big letters on the front and feeling ecstatic about starting my degree. I actually performed the role of Beth in the Health Services-produced Single & Sexy before eventually being offered the role of stage manager for the show, and felt much more at home as the latter. That’s when my passion for arts admin started.

Edinburgh International Film Festival T-shirt

My volunteer shirt for the Edinburgh International Film Festival – I served Bill Nighy coffee!

I had a bit of a crisis of career when I graduated (drama kids are… tiring), and decided to move to Scotland for a year to think things over rather than make any serious decisions. This is when I started to realize that I didn’t really have goals in the way that others around me did (I was friends with a lot of engineers at UWaterloo). I began to follow what I liked doing rather than a specific industry, and had an inkling that film might be more fun in particular. I started volunteering, did some work on film sets, and then found myself yearning for a desk in an office. I picked up some contracts at film festivals, feeling fulfilled but also frustrated with the impermanent nature of it. It was tough to excel when I wasn’t really sure where I wanted it to all end up.

In another career twist, I applied to a job at The Second City. It was a permanent position which is always horribly exciting for an arts professional to see on a job posting, and it sounded like something I would enjoy doing even though I had zero experience in comedy. I’ve been here two years now and recently got promoted into the role of database administrator – not exactly a through line for someone with a BA, which I kind of love.

If someone asks for career advice now I say volunteer and follow your skills – especially if you don’t have any career goals. I think we as alumni should be telling new grads that they don’t have to know everything right away; looking back I realize how much of a tiny baby I still was when I graduated, and how glad I am that I was able to figure things out along the way with the support of those around me.

Kate Teddiman laughing with her father

Me and my dad at my sister’s wedding, ironically enough when I asked if it was okay to use this photo he said ‘why wouldn’t I? You’ve made me very proud!’