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How difficult is it to change careers?

I'm a senior in high school and upon entering college I am becoming more and more worried about my future. I don't really know what I want to study in or make into a career path, so I was wondering how locked in are you once you declare a major and begin your career path? #science #majors #theatre #changing-careers #multiple-interests

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Subject: Career question for you

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Holly’s Answer

Hi Teal, Very nice to see you back asking questions.
Dont worry life has a way of making a path for you. These things fall right into place for you. Take general education couses, so you can get all that out of the way. By then you can fidgit around with friends and talk with other buddies and found out what you may or may not like. I would not be so worried about that right now. When you go to the college they will ask for you to declare a major on your application, just put general ed. That is the best I can do for now. There are many tools to help you make a decision about your future. I thought I wanted to be a forest ranger. I was the type that felt the need to be different. Look up fields that intrigue you. What type of stuff that you like to do at home. Garden? Cooking? Computers? Animals? Trees? Nature? The Beach? Then look under careers for these areas. Good luck I hope that has helped some. I hope to see you back again asking more questions.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice this is really helpful Maeve
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the continuous help and advice, Holly. I really appreciate it. Teal
Thank you comment icon Thanks, Holly, this advice is really helpful! Sage
Thank you comment icon Its really not hard changing your career for example if you plan you r career in your freshman year then you would still have time to change it before your senior year LoLo
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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Teal!


You sound just like I did when I was in high school. My friends were all bragging about how they knew exactly what they wanted to be: teacher, lawyer, doctor, cop, etc. I had no idea what I wanted to do; I could only be 100% sure of what I didn't want to do. I have always been the kind of person who has had so many interests that I could never just choose one. I ended up being a communications major in college with a minor in psychology. I chose communications because it encompassed three of my major areas of interest: film, literature and writing. Having a minor allowed me to explore one possible career path and, though I enjoyed the classes, I ended up realizing I didn't want to pursue a career in psychology.


My advice to you:




  1. Apply for Internships: Even as a high school student, you may find some internships you can do over the summer or after school. Not all internships pay, but the experience you get will be something you can put on your resume. Choose an internship in a career you could be interested in pursuing; it will give you a real hands-on taste of what a career in that field will be like. For example, I have always loved event planning and when I was in college I considered becoming a wedding planner or event planner. I interned one summer for an event planner in NYC who planned parties for celebrities. I thought this internship was going to be the start of something amazing. To make a long story short, I am glad I interned first before deciding to make event planning my career. Through the internship I realized that I did not like strangers making outrageous demands to me and that I did not enjoy a job that required me to work all week and weekends too. In the end, I settled for doing minor event planning for friends and family because I enjoy it, but not as a full-time career.




  2. Job Shadow: Seek out professionals in careers you could be interested in pursuing. LinkedIn has the resources to put you in touch with all kinds of professionals. Let's say you are interested in film editing, seek out a few professional film editors and shoot them a message. Politely explain that you are considering a career in their field and that you would greatly appreciate being able to shadow them for a day or even just have a chat with them. I have done this before and the person was eager to let me pick her brain and answered all of my questions.




  3. Career with Flexibility: If you find that you have a wide variety of interests, like I did, try to pick a career that gives you the flexibility to pursue your other interests in your spare time. For instance, if you become a hedge fund manager you may not have the time to pursue culinary courses. I greatly appreciate the flexibility my career has offered me because I am able to pursue all of my other dreams on the side. I have written a book which will be published soon and I have created a successful baking business, all while having a stable, everyday job.




  4. Research: The careers you see on TV are not the only ones out there. For instance, I have always had the habit of pointing out visual or story-line mistakes in movies or tv shows. I had no idea that was an actual job I could get paid for (Continuity Editor)! Take a look at your interests no matter how small or far-fetched they may seem to you. There just might be a career out there for that exact thing. Imagine getting paid to do something you love! That is true success.



Thank you comment icon Wow, thank you for taking the time to get really in depth on this answer. Teal
Thank you comment icon I would like to echo the advice on Job Shadowing. Professionals are typically very willing to allow job shadowing if you show a genuine interest in their profession. You will also discover what it is REALLY like to be in that profession or have that job. I personally discovered that the major I had chosen wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I took my profession in a different direction with no regrets because I never had to wonder what I was missing. Also, do NOT stress out about your career path this early in life; enjoy what you are learning and (get ready for a cliche'), let what you are passionate about guide you. If you really do pursue what you love, what gets you out of bed in the morning; the money will pour in. Bill Crawford
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Srinivas’s Answer

Changing career isn't an easy task. Some of them are easy ex: science graduates getting into banking. If you're changing your career it has to be for good. Don't go to friends or relatives for advices. I would suggest identify the career stream you want to change, do research, learn more about it. The most successful way is to take career counseling from experts.

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Praveen’s Answer

It is crucial that you first identify your Interests, Values, Skills and Personality Preferences in order to make a well–informed decision.


Learning about your interests will help you identify opportunities to pursue and the topics you are most naturally drawn to, making school and work more motivating and enjoyable.


Values are the things that motivate us and move us toward certain decisions, behaviors and goals. Values greatly influence the career decision making process, job satisfaction and, ultimately, life satisfaction.


Skills are the things that you are good at and have the ability to do well. Assessing your skills allows you to determine which ones you want to acquire or further develop, the specific ways to accomplish those goals, and how your skills match with potential careers.


Personality Preferences & Interpersonal Needs are related to your individual, innate nature and tend to be consistent over time. Understanding personality and interpersonal needs allows you to see correlations between the way you make decisions and your work style.

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Kate’s Answer

Hi Teal- I think that it's great that you are already thinking ahead to maybe your 2nd or 3rd career you have out of college. And to be honest, most people in your generation will have 7+ careers during their working life!


I felt the same way coming out of high school. I had a general idea of what I was interested in, but not a clear career path in my mind. I think part of the issue for me was that I hadn't been exposed to a lot of careers outside of education or the careers that my parents had-- I really had no idea what was out there! I was also intimidated my first year of school when I'd meet people who would tell me they had already decided on pre-med or pre-law when I was still struggling to choose classes for that semester. It also turned out that a lot of these people ended up changing their minds too.


Please don't be intimidated or feel the pressure to make a decision quickly. You have the opportunity to explore a lot of different career paths your first year or two of college, so take advantage of it! It might help you learn about what you are most interested in. If your university has a career center or career councilors available, consider making an appointment to see what advice they have. Take advantage of career nights, when business people come to meet face to face with college students. Also see if there are any job shadow opportunities available so you can get a sense for what working in a hospital/office building/ academic center might be like.


Don't be discouraged or intimidated! The most important thing is that you work hard and find something that you are interested in. And take the time to do that during your first few years, so you don't end up changing your major your senior year and are required to add on a few extra semesters as a result.


Best of luck!

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Royze’s Answer

Hi Teal,


It's great of you to be proactively seeking advice about your future. I agree with all the above advice - it's best to explore, work hard, and let your career path, just like all other areas of your life, unwind as it should. When I graduated from college, I had a completely different picture in mind, and didn't expect to be where I am today.


My advice to you is this:


1) You will not always have the perfect job or career, but take pride in your work product and make sure it's always top quality -- whether it's on a small scale, such a spreadsheet or an e-mail, or on a large scale, such as a long-term project management effort. You never know who will find talent in you, so be intentional about the work you share with others. Your work should always speak for itself.


2) When you start working, build strong, meaningful, and genuine relationships with all types of people. Try to learn from as many people as possible because everyone has wisdom and insights to share about their own career trajectories, which may be helpful to you someday.


3) Talk to people who have the roles you aspire to have or are interested in pursuing a few years down the line. When I started working, I had the perception that if someone graduated with an English degree, then they would be confined to careers that mostly involved writing or editing. But that is not always the case. I have met people who started off as engineers and became attorneys and people who had English degrees who built careers in Business.


4) Develop core and transferrable skills. Some examples of these skills are: written and oral communication, quantitative and qualitative analysis, etc. Having skills that are transferrable will help you explain to employers why you are able to transition from one field or role to another that may be unrelated to your current role.


Good luck!

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Angela’s Answer

This is a great question! I made this difficult decision 7 years ago. I was in an industry that I loved and thought I would retire from however the market was crashing and I thought if I want to make a change I should do it now. I left my job without a new one and spent six months researching and discovering what I did and did not want to explore. It was a great time but a scary time in my life. Thankfully for me it worked out beautifully and I am at a wonderful company that I've been blessed enough to learn and grow in. I think the one main thing I learned was it was ok to kind of 'step down' from a title perspective and get in on the ground floor. This decision is certainly unique for everyone but believing in yourself and giving yourself time to discover is key.

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Richie’s Answer

Many colleges do not require that you declare your major when you start. In fact they encourage you to explore different courses to see what you like. On the other hand you need to be careful not to finish up with a degree that is not particularly useful when looking for jobs.


To keep your options open you should try and get solid knowledge of the fundamentals of math and science, as well as writing. Those types of skills transfer to many careers.


When I went to college, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was good at math, so I became a math major. Because I had to take science courses towards that degree, I wound up taking Computer Science classes and I discovered that I loved programming.


On the other hand I regret that I avoided course that required writing when I was in college. In my career I have to write a lot, so I had to spent time learning this on my own (I'm lucky because my wife is an English teacher, so she helped me).

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the info, Richie Teal
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