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What was your biggest inspiration that led to your career path?

I want to know what made people choose the current path they follow. Do they enjoy their job or are they doing it for the money? Was there a large event that happened or was there an underlying passion for your career? #career-choice

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Francisco’s Answer

Hey Edwin,

This is a pretty cool question. For me there are two main things that inspired me and led me to my chosen career path. For context, I am an industrial engineer, so here are my stories.

In high school I was sure I wanted to study psychology. I was really good in math and science, actually in all subjects, but I was sure I wanted to study psychology and become a therapist. My mind was shifted after a friend of mine invited to join a team for an engineering competition. Together we wrote a proposal, designed, and built a wake-up alarm mat out of sustainable materials. We competed at a national level and won 2nd place. This was a months long process in which I was investing an unreal amount of time on it and just realized these kind of things were my true passion. I immediately changed my direction and new engineering had to be my career. Eventually landed in industrial engineering as it combined both the technical and engineering aspect of things with the orientation for people and the path for leadership and management.

Now, once in college I knew I had made the right decision, but it wasn't until my first internship that I meant one of my lifetime mentors. He was the industrial engineer for the plant I was working at, and he was my manager for 3 months. He became an inspiration and he truly invested time in guiding me and teaching me how to be a proper engineer, professional, and human being. Overall, I owe the kind of professional I am to his teachings and the work ethic he taught me. He is one of the most influential people in my life, and he allowed me to properly define the career path I wanted to develop in the future.

Hope my stories answer your question, and I look forward to you having your own stories to tell. Best of luck in the future!
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Joseph’s Answer

For me, I chose my career based on what I enjoy and what I'm good at. In terms of events vs underlying passion; a bit of both. I had an underlying passion for science throughout childhood, particularly for physics, although I didn't really know how I wanted to apply that in the real world for a long time. I did have a bit of an underlying interest in nuclear which came from a trip to the visitor centre for a nuclear site as a wet-weather activity on holiday when I was little, but I didn't consider that a significant event at the time; for a long time I was more interested in astrophysics and cosmology, and was also considering a career in the air force rather than going into further academia. I eventually decided to study astrophysics at university, but towards the end of that found the astrophysics getting a little too challenging. However, we covered a range of other physics topics along the way, and I quite enjoyed the nuclear parts - so I re-specialized into nuclear by adding on a Masters in nuclear technology - that decision was certainly a significant event in my career path.
From there, I was applying to a whole range of nuclear industry subfields, and it took quite a lot of applications and interviews to get my first actual job offer - in a laboratory doing environmental radioactivity and chemistry monitoring. Accepting that position was another big event in really narrowing down my career to a particular subfield, and I've been working on radiation detection and measurement physics in several roles since then.
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Julio’s Answer

Hey Edwin!

This may be a bit of a hot take, but for my entire life I've never felt as though I've felt passionate about anything and I never dreamed of working any job for the rest of my life, I'm pretty anti-work and my "dream job" really doesn't exist.

In high school, I thought my passion was science, but as I progressed and my school failed to teach me any math courses above Algebra 2, I was set back in my dreams of becoming a scientist. I decided to chose a science that didn't require as much math for me to begin so I went with Biotechnology in college, but I soon started to realize that math was not for me, I struggled to even pass Pre-Calculus and failed Cal 1. At this point, I decided to take a semester of courses full of standard courses for any major such as English, History, and all other General Courses. I researched dozens, maybe even hundreds of potential careers and majors that my school offered and ended up with Business Administration. The reason I chose BA, was the same one that many others had; because I didn't know what else to do and I was running out of time. I am now a senior in Business Administration and my "dream job" is to become an academic advisor or a high school teacher, which is a pretty big change from where I started.

The reason I chose to become an advisor or teacher is because I've done so much research about the many majors and careers out there that I have good knowledge about most of them; I want to help students realize what their "dream job" is as fast as possible and set them on the right track. My academic advisors when I was a lost freshman in college didn't help me like I wish they would've and my teachers in high school were no help either and that's one of the few reasons I decided on these career paths. Try not to focus too much on the stories you hear about people having a huge life event that made them realize what their "dream job" is and instead think about what you like to do, the things that make you happy, and think about 20 years from now if your lifestyle fits the career you think you want. Do you want to retire early?, do value time or money more?, Do you want to be famous or make a big impact in the world or live a quaint, but fulfilling life?. People tend to overthink about salaries, benefits, and the tiny pieces of careers, but think about the big picture instead. For example, I'm leaning toward teacher because I value time more and my significant other is also becoming a teacher; spending summers off together is a dream and the pay is decent where I live and those were some of the things I thought about after I knew that time was way more valuable than being a renounced scientist or a rich executive working in Biotech.

My advice for you is think about:
1. The lifestyle you want in the future.
2. What you value most in life. (ie. time vs money)
3. What makes you happy? Can you make a career out of it?
4. Don't wait for a major life event to decide what career you want in the future; just go for what makes you happy and do it confidently.
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Lenka’s Answer

Hey Edwin,
That's a very good question. I am sure your question is relevant to many people independent of their age, job or stage of their career.
Based on my personal experience, I think that following your passion and turning your hobby into a full time job can be really tricky. People may think that what is satisfying and fun becomes work. Cool, isn't it? However, I find hobbies very different from full time jobs. An activity becomes our hobby because we like doing it when we want, how long we want, and how we want.
I personally cannot imagine doing a job just for the money but I believe we should not forget that compensation is important. Speaking from my personal experience, I much prefer to separate my hobbies and work. I did not see it this way when I was younger and decided to study a field that was my hobby. When I finished my undergraduate degree, I realized that my future job would not have allowed me to live a life I wanted. In addition, I realized that transforming my hobby into a full time job undermined the enjoyment I initially found in it. I was very disappointed at first but I decided to return back to school and pursue a degree in a field that I did not find so exciting back then but that allows me to pursue my passion while I also have a fairly good life standard. I am paid for my job and I would not do it if I was not paid, so it is not truly a hobby. However, I enjoy it because it allows me to pursue my passion, it is meaningful for me and is aligned with my goals and values.
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Michael’s Answer

The desire to help people a d make a difference in this selfish world. I started as a high school teacher. I taught for 22 years. I really got tired and frustrated by society and parents wanting to take easy way schooling instead of actually learning and knowing. I went into retail and customer facing. My number never blew anyone away BUT I still have some customers from 15 years ago contacting me and asking for advice. I hope I've made a difference......it's my desire.
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