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Have you always known what your career would be?

I am interested in knowing how people chose their careers. #career-choice #career-path #career

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Subject: Career question for you

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Francisco’s Answer

Hi Anna,

Great question! Quick answer is NO!!

As you can see in my profile I am an engineer, but for the longest time from middle school through my junior year of high school I wanted to major in psychology. I was sure that my calling was to help people and guide them through solving their problems. My parents and teachers were always perplexed by this as I was a very good student, showing lot of promise in mathematics and the sciences. It wasn't until my junior year in HS that a friend invited to compete on a national engineering competition for a very important university that things changed. It was through this project, coming up with a design, planning out how to build and acquire all the components, building a prototype, and presenting it to the judging panel that I discovered a new passion. This experienced truly changed something inside me and when the time came to chose a concentration for my senior year, I knew I couldn't go into the humanities, I had to go the route of engineering and project management.

In summary, you can think you know what your path is but then suddenly something may happen that brings things into perspective. The ancient greeks used to say: "Wise men are those who know when you change their mind", so don't be afraid if you start going through one path and then change direction, the main thing is that at the end of the road you are happy with the journey.

Hope this answers your questions. Best of luck!
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Amanda’s Answer

Hi, Anna! I can remember asking this same question when I was just starting out. Let me reassure you that you do not need to know where you are headed. I didn't.

When I graduated college, I knew that I enjoyed solving problems, writing, and speaking with others. Other than that, I was directionless. I spoke to several professionals about their careers. One was a professor that was a management consultant and, after speaking with him, I thought that consulting might be a path that would allow me to use the skills I enjoyed while gaining experience and learning others. So, I found a role as an entry-level analyst in a small local firm and was able to learn about different industries while using my analytical skills to help the consultants identify problems. I was able to glean from them new methodologies and frameworks for problem-solving and solutioning.

Every time I looked for a new role in my career, I would follow the same process: reassess my skills, acknowledge what I enjoyed doing, and look for roles that use those skills while allowing me to grow new ones.

I need to point out that some of the roles I took in my career scared me to death. While they leveraged my strengths, they were often used in new ways that stretched my abilities. Looking back, the roles that scared me the most were the ones that made the biggest difference in progressing my career. It's okay to be nervous. Be honest about what you bring to a job and how you would like to grow.

Amanda recommends the following next steps:

Assess your skills and personality (there are several free tools online that can help with this)
Identify the skills you enjoy using
Speak to professionals about their work and determine if any of those industries have roles that align with the skills you enjoy using
Look for entry-level roles or internships
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Dr. Sudeep’s Answer

Before I actually answer this question, I must stress that the word career to me refers to my life's work. Therefore, my answer would be a straight NO. What has been strange is that in my life when I was a little kid around the age of 8-10 years, I had dreams of being involved in sports, humanitarian activities and working overseas. Today, decades later it seems to me, those early day desires have made a complete circle. Along the way, I have had my obstacles and challenges and wondered where I was heading but strangely when I do connect the dots, I can see what we so hope for strongly at a young age can come true.
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Angelo’s Answer

Hello Anna!

Thank you for asking.

Surprisingly, i’ve always had a general idea of what I was going to do in my life, granted i’m still pretty young and I have many years of possibilities in front of me.

I’m currently a Corporal in the US Marine Corps. My MOS (military occupational specialty) is 5831 Correctional Specialist and I work in a Military Confinement Facility. Basically i’m a prison guard. However, most importantly i’m a Marine. I’ve always known I wanted to serve my country since middle school, I just wasn’t sure which branch I wanted to join. Later on in high school I was fascinated by law enforcement and being a police officer, so I joined as many programs as I could to learn more about that field of work. Before I graduated high school, I still had the passion to serve my country through the military so I decided to reach out to recruiters from all the branches. After speaking with the branches, I found the the Marine Corps to be the most suiting for me.

In Conclusion, its always best to follow your heart and do what you are most passionate about. People will have their opinions and thats okay. Listen to your gut and you will always find a way.

Hope this helps!
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