How did you know that your job will eventually become your career?
I am currently a senior in high school and often ponder about what career is right for me? How was this experience for you? #career #job #career-choice #career-development #careers
You also don't have to know right away. When I graduated from high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. As a matter of fact, my parents chose a major for me (Industrial Engineering), based on my grades and what I seemed to be good at and I just went for it, because I had nothing else in mind. After one year in college, being in the types of classes an engineer would need to take, and having an "Intro to Industrial Engineering" class, helped me understand that it wasn't for me. So I changed majors after a year, and ended up doing IT instead.
When interviewing, I had no idea what field I wanted to be in either, and I was just going with the flow to see what field the interviewing was going to lead me to. As a matter of fact, when I got interviewed, one of the interviewers suggested a career path where they thought I would be a good fit . They told me they could see me as a good fit in their forensics data analytics practice, and I did not even know what Forensics meant at the time, but i was open to hearing and learning more about it. I am 30 years old today and I am in this field that they thought would be a good fit for me. Do I love it? Yes and No. It all depends on many factors. Do I think that is the only future for me? Absolutely not. I still don't know where the future may lead my future, but I am open to landing on a different career path, if that appears to me as a better fit, even if that is 10 years from now.
- figure out what you want to do and what you DON'T want to do
- it's about the journey, not the destination. you will learn a lot along the way.
- the company you work for will make more of an impact than any one role. find a company that allows you do to what you like and learn about topics that interest you. also find a company or industry that values what you value.
- skills are transferrable between industries. all knowledge is useful.
- utilize volunteer opportunities to learn skills you might not usually have access to learn
- go after things that add to your energy and joy
- don't be afraid to go after internships for the learning opportunity and don't be afraid to start over
- find a mentor and learn from them
- it's less about the major or degree and more that you had the commitment and work ethic to complete it that is important to employers
- your job should not be all of your personality or self worth. it's okay to find yourself and your passions outside of your career.
I've had the same challenge. I didn't know I wanted to do with my life until my first week at college. I chose a major that I knew would lead to a job that sparked my interest. I also chose a major in a field where I felt that I would be successful. Once I graduated, I chose a job that I knew would be part of my career journey. That is probably the best way to go. Once you do that, the job and career with go hand in hand.
That's such a profound question and you'll hear so many diverse thoughts and experiences from folks on this. What you might learn is that not everyone attending college has a clear career path in mind. Most often that not we accidentally discover the careers we are in- it's not planned. And the honest truth is that many working professionals in the industry like me also tend to question our current career trajectory from time to time and might consider switching or exploring new careers that excite and help us grow intellectually. This is okay and important to keep growing. Knowing what you don't like is the best way to find out what you DO like and enjoy doing!
I am currently a User Researcher (or User Experience Researcher) at Hover.to and my job is to observe and understand customer behavior and interactions with our products and communicate all of that to the designers and engineers who build these products for our customers. This is how we improve our products and stay user-focused. So I am the in house psychologist and researcher because I design and run experiments with our customers to learn all of this.
Here's my story..
I have switched career tracks many times in my life. As a child I was always interested in studio art like drawing, painting etc. (and equally literature and science- especially astronomy, geology, philosophy). I admired teachers and wanted to be teacher as well. And so with so many interests I wasn't very sure what I would being doing when I would grow up.
I ended up pursuing a degree that I was least interested in (Commerce & Economics) because of my average grades. That's how things worked in my country India, back then that your cumulative performance would decide if you would be placed in one of 3 career tracks - Arts, Commerce, Science, with top performing students getting into the coveted Science stream and going on to become doctors and engineers. I was clueless about what I wanted to be and had no vision as such, but given the tech boom in the late 1990's I continued to pursue my passion for arts by taking courses in digital art (graphic design, web design, and animation). While wrapping my degree in Commerce & Econ, I also accidentally discovered psychology through a course in Industrial/Organizational behavior and fell in love with it instantly but didn't think much of a career in this field. I graduated from college and found a job as a Graphic designer. Later, I moved to the United States.
Fast forward a few years, I went on to pursue both a Bachelors and a Master's degree in Psychology (in the areas of Cognitive, Research, and Education) and Human Computer Interaction. The common thread here is psychology/human behavior, scientific thinking, design and tech. I wanted to be in a career that helped me understand human behavior through experimentation & design in the tech space. But I didn't realize this until I was 2 years into community college and accidentally discovered research methods, spoke to professionals and professors who advised me about a career in this field. During this process of discovery I also tried a bunch of things like teaching an elementary class by volunteering at a local school to see if a career as a teacher interested me and if I should pursue a track in teacher training/education. I took courses in Computer Science to see if programming was a viable option. I figured that these didn't interest me at all :)
In closing, I'm working in a job role that didn't even exist when I was a teenager and I never knew this is what I would be doing today. But it seems like my interests and hobbies in art, science, and tech have led to my career as a User Researcher. The bottom line here is that you can only know so much at a certain point in time and much of your future is built on the go, as you discover people, opportunities and experiences. All of these influence your career path and goals. So don't be afraid to change paths, switch gears and try things out.
Knowing what you don't like is the best way to find out what you DO like and enjoy doing!
Archana recommends the following next steps:
I really didn't at back when I was in high school. It was only once I entered the workforce that I was able to learn what I enjoyed doing, which for me is programming. I also learned what I was and wasn't willing to do for money, another very important thing. Getting a job doing that, however, was the real challenge. I was a hobbyist programmer for a long time and I knew that programmers were in demand and well paid so I pursued the role with a much effort as I could spare.
I would recommend taking a survey of your hobbies and interests to see if any could translate into a career or at last give you direction.