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How and when did you discover what career field you wanted to get into?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Pedro’s Answer

I think everyone's career path is different. Some people may know right away what they want to do and stick with it. Some people may be unsure and it might take them time to figure out what specific career path they want to take. I think it's important to remember that there shouldn't be any rush in deciding on a career path. It's important you choose what you want to do based on your interests and what really excites you. This may take some time, but it's okay!

I always wanted to do something related to business because that was what I was always interested in. I was interested in learning more about how businesses work, how they operate, and how they make money. Throughout college, I was indecisive between accounting or finance, but went with finance because that was what interested me most. Take the time to figure out what interests you most and if it fits you well. You might to have to try different things or have different jobs until you finally realize the right career path you want to take. Just always be open to new opportunities and with time, you'll be able to make the right career choice.
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Robin’s Answer

Hi, Ashley!
I was in the chemical biological curriculum in high school and I thought I wanted to be a chemical engineer. It was a good thing I applied too late to get into that college at my university. I was placed in the liberal arts college (and chose communications as my major in my second or third year), which was the right decision for me. I liked to write, was good in English, and enjoyed creative projects. But I didn't really know what I wanted to do or how to turn my interests into a career.

I thought I wanted to be in broadcast journalism but after a few classes, I was so turned off by that as a career that I didn't want to have anything to do with broadcast or print journalism. So I set my sights on doing something creative like being a copywriter at an ad agency. However, after I graduated, I couldn't get an ad agency job in my area. A tip from someone at an ad agency helped me land a job in sales at a local weekly newspaper (I know . . . ironic). I wasn't that good at sales but my education helped me move to the editorial department as a writer. During my seven years at that paper, I earned four lifestyle section awards as a contributing writer and editor.

I've worked at several places since then: in communications at a large nonprofit, as a copy editor for a small online start-up, and as a communications contractor for a health care plan. I've been at that health care plan for 11 years (10 as a full-time employee) and was promoted several times before becoming a communications manager. I lead 10 people who collectively produce, review, or edit over 1,300 documents a year.

I didn't always know exactly what I wanted to do when in high school or even college but I was able to tap into what I liked to do and what I was good at doing. Knowing my interests helped me stay in my field of communications even if I was uncertain of the types of jobs out there. Do some research in areas that interest you. Try to interview people in different jobs you might find interesting. Talk to people in your circle of friends or their parents. You never know whose tip or suggestion or referral will set you on your path to doing something you love.
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Adrian’s Answer

I am a 46 year old who's still trying to work out exactly what I want to be when I grow up, and I'm perfectly okay with that.

To put that in a slightly more serious way: when I was younger, I bounced back-and-forth between arts and sciences a lot... because school and college curriculums didn't really have a concept of product design back then. Everything was either arts or sciences, because that's how the school was structured. Design has a foot in each camp.

Working out what I want to do has been a constant process of refinement and re-assessment.

I was around 15 when I decided I didn't want to be restricted to just the sciences or the arts.
I was around 16 when I decided I wanted to focus on some form of design, but that I didn't want to lose my technical skills.
I was around 18 when I found a design degree which covered the technical and creative sides evenly.
I was around 21 when I graduated, _absolutely certain_ that I didn't want to be an industrial or product designer, so I did postgrad work in AI with web design and stage lightning as side projects for a few years.
I was around 25 when I became a professional web designer/developer.
I was around 30 when I realised that the day-to-day legwork of web design bored me, so I became a Front-End Developer - which is _almost_ the same thing, but for software as well as websites.
I was around 33 when I realised that the problems which frustrated and interested me most weren't to do with the technical side of the work... but the human-centred design side... so I started gradually focussing on those more and less on writing code.
I was around 35 when I became a user experience designer.
I was in my 40s when I gradually refined that to be what's called an Interaction Designer - something I didn't even know existed when I was starting out.

It's an iterative process. Sure, having an end goal is good, if that works for you... but it's not the only way. Look for a convergence of your skills and interests, and follow that. Accept that both skills and interests evolve over time, and that a career isn't a static thing defined only at the start.
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Uwe’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

I had a very clear idea about what I wanted to do when I started studying at university. I wanted to become a software developer. And when I finished my exam and looked for a job, I did send out applications to multiple software companies for a software development rule. However, as I live in Germany and most companies develop somewhere else I signed for a job as a support engineer at an American software company and I must say that for me personally this was a very lucky move. In that position, where I had to deal with a lot of customers, I discoverd how much I like to work with people. When I meat with developers in that company, I also realised that I had a very romantic imagination about what it means to be a software developer in a commercial company. I thought that you can develop all of your own ideas but at the end of the day it is just coding something somebody else defines for you.
So my advice would be, whenever you find your passion, try to sniff into it. Talk to people that are working in that position (Career Village is an excellent place for that). Try to do an internship.
And as others wrote, this is not a one time process, it may change over time.
BTW, I am in sales now. Something I never thought about early in my career and I really love it

Good luck for your future
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Greg’s Answer

For me, it happened a couple of years after I graduated from college. In my case, the how was more important than the when. Throughout my four years of college, a friend of our family who was in the insurance field kept asking me what I was going to do when I graduated. At first my answer was that I didn't know., but that I knew I wasn't going into insurance. The last two years, I said I was going into advertising. I didn't do well in my one great opportunity to work for one of the largest advertising firms. That taught me the important lesson of learning how to build interview skills and prepare for interviews. I worked for nearly two years after college in unfulfilling jobs. The family friend asked me if I'd meet and talk with him about careers in the insurance industry. I'd been so certain that I didn't want to go into insurance and very stubborn about it for many years, but I never stopped to listen to him or learn anything about the field. I even turned down a great underwriter trainee program job offer with a leading insurance company as I was about to graduate. I told myself I only took the interviews for interview practice. The family friend explained about the vast array of careers in the insurance industry and I was intrigued by underwriting. He helped me get a few interviews, and I got a job offer to start in an underwriting trainee program. Do you see the irony? I've been in insurance for over thirty years. I've been learning, growing, and enjoying it the entire time. This experience taught me to be less judgmental, and to actively listen and learn about topics and different perspectives before forming my opinions.
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Chia’s Answer

The time it takes to find the "right" career will be different for everyone. There will also be times where people switch careers not because they didn't like the previous one, but because they also found satisfaction with doing something different. I switched majors at least 3 times while in college. I thought I wanted one thing in high school, another in college, and ultimately went on a path that I never would have expected if you asked me when I was 18 years old. More often than not, we don't know what we really want to do when we're in high school or even college. Through trial and error, self-discovery, and the experience of life in general, that is how I found my calling.
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Marica’s Answer

Honestly, like many college students I fell into my industry. I knew I wanted to be in the field of finance and business and had big dreams of working in that field. As college was about to end, I was able to interview in the field of insurance and found that I loved it! I get a good balance of fun by building relationships and being able to be outside of the office as well as using my technical skills in the office. It's hard to decide on what you want to focus on when in college. I always say at least knowing a direction can help. Good luck!
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