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Is there anything surprising about your career?

In a student in high school researching different careers that i could possibly pursue in the future. I thought it would be interesting to see what surprised you about your career. #engineer #fashion #journalism #dance #author #editor

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Greg’s Answer

I had dreamed of becoming a scientist/academic since I was a child, so it was surprising to discover (as I was finishing up my doctorate) that applied, corporate research was just as interesting and in some ways more satisfying--less scrabbling for funding, new project directions every two or three years (including 3D/virtual worlds, which was extremely fun), etc. Then a few years later I ended up doing embedded Linux for a semiconductor company--not entirely by choice--followed by large-scale web search, cluster engineering, distributed data systems...no research at all.

Each step has been something of a surprise, but all of it has been at least somewhat interesting, and almost all of it has been very interesting, challenging, and fulfilling. And even during the somewhat less-interesting periods, I could (and did) augment work with outside hobbies in other directions--open-source software, graphics, 3D modeling, etc.

You didn't explicitly ask for advice, but here's a little: stay flexible, get some background in various of the areas that interest you, treat learning as a lifelong process, and keep your eyes open for tasks/activities/responsibilities that interest you and/or that you're good at even at jobs you never considered as career-path stepping stones. Sometimes these things sneak up on you; the trick is to recognize the opportunity before it passes you by. :-)

Thank you for the helpful advice. Teal K.

Thank you for the advice Maeve K.

This mirrors my experience, too. My first tech job was with a robotics company, which everyone knows is cool. My second job was with a database company, and coming into it I didn't know anything about it other than that it wasn't considered as cool (this was just before "big data" became such a big thing). I was surprised at how much I loved working on it! Yuval Shavit

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Tommaso’s Answer

Judith, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Hm2kCf6gCQ
Be involved and learn from the environment, focus on what you like the most but keep one eye to the mile.
There is a job that you may be doing tomorrow that do not exist today.

Thanks I will definitely check out the video Maeve K.

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Lyn’s Answer

I started out in theatre, but ended up as a paraprofessional in the legal world. My family includes lawyers, so I grew up around the legal profession and had an aptitude for it. However, I did not intend to pursue that career path once I became involved in the arts. Along the way I worked as a performer, an editor and writer. Then I landed in the legal profession. Several things about this career have surprised me. My passion for contributing to business operations, which I discovered while working on complex business litigation at law firms. I found this area especially rewarding once I made the transition to working in-house at corporations. Skill sets you develop along the way will serve you no matter what you end up doing. Sometimes in ways that surprise you. It's important to keep an open mind and never stop developing your skill sets so that you can tackle whatever you ultimately decide to do-- or what ends up coming your way. There is a quote, "Chance favors the prepared mind." I have found it to be spot on more than once.

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Ian’s Answer

As a game developer, I am constantly surprised with the new challenges I face every single day. There is always a new problem to solve, and a creative way to solve it.

I am somewhat surprised that after 14+ years of making games I am nowhere near burnt out on it. I never get up dreading to go to work...which is a feeling I had every single day while in school. :)