Cindy R.’s Answer
Great question! As a person that has worked in various jobs over the years and an HR professional, I do not believe that anyone is ever stuck in a particular career path. If you are committed and willing to do what is necessary, you can have many different career paths. There are many people who go through career transitions over the course of their lives. There are also many people that obtain a degree in a particular field and never work in that field. The process is different for each person. Some people know exactly what they want to do and they go to college to get the necessary degree to reach that goal. Others are not sure and it is a learning process over time for them to figure what they want to do.
For me personally, I went to college for two years and then stopped. When I stopped I worked in various jobs (banking, insurance, etc.) for the next ten years, being careful to select jobs there were skill building/career enhancing, such as office related jobs as opposed to fast food/retail industry. Over that ten year period, I used my work and life experiences to figure out me and what I liked and wanted to do with the rest of my life. I also learned the true value of education and that if I wanted to achieve certain goals and have a competitive advantage in the job market, having a degree was necessary. So, I started to focus on finding my career path and I noticed that there was one common theme with all the jobs that I had and that was they were all in the service industry and I had a passion for helping others. From that, I began to research "Helping" occupations and discovered my career path. I them went back to school and obtained three degrees, with the last degree (Masters) resulting in another career transition for me.
The main take away from this is that there are many different paths to take to get to where you want to be and some may take longer than others. However, you are never stuck in anything if you are willing put forth the effort to make the change.
Cindy R. recommends the following next steps:
- If you are trying to figure out a degree to select for college, doing research on occupations is a good place to start. A few tools you can use are: 1.) job shadowing someone in a position that you think you might be interested in; 2.) look at the job advertisements in the newspaper/online of various careers to learn about them and the requirements you need for the job; 3.) research occupations on O*NET at https://www.onetonline.org/.