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Why did you choose this career?

What, made you do this career? What, did you do to prepare for this career? How, did you motivate yourself. When, did you motivate yourself. What, class did you need to take. What, skills prepared you for this job. How long did it take to train?

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Anna’s Answer

What, made you do this career? I wanted a career that would allow me to work remotely, and provide flexibility, variety, and a lucrative income.
What, did you do to prepare for this career? I received a BA in Business Management and Accounting and my MBA is Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting. I familiarized myself with the newest Microsoft technologies and aligned with companies that valued culture, advancement, and promoted a healthy work-life balance.
How, did you motivate yourself. Things weren't always easy during my journey. At one time I was working 3 jobs and going to school at night. I just kept focused on my end goal and continued pushing myself until I got there.
When, did you motivate yourself. Daily, but definitely during exams in school.
What, class did you need to take. I would encourage anyone to take as many Management and Leadership classes as possible. They will help you in any career you choose!
What, skills prepared you for this job. Soft skills are the most important, honestly. Communication, both written and verbal are extremely important in my career. Organizational skills and time management skills are also both equally as important.
How long did it take to train? My undergraduate degree took me 6 years, because I wasn't always sure what exact career I wanted. My graduate degree took 2.5 years. The most valuable training, however, has been through experience!
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Andrew’s Answer

I would like to offer you a different perspective to your question.

I do not “choose” my career per se. Rather, I drifted into my career. Or better say that a career chose me.

Before my retirement, I spent 15 years as a full-time Professor of Mathematics, after a 20-year tenure as a consultant scientist at NASA.

I had only a vague idea of wanting to be a scientist in my high-school years over half a century ago. It was difficult to be a foreign student competing with native English speakers on disciplines requiring language, I thought it would be best to get into an area that was a foreign language to all of us. Well, it would be mathematics and physics. In these STEM areas, I would be able to compete with my fellow students on a level playing field.

I received my bachelor’s degree of science in physics, followed by a master of science in physics. Upon the urging of my wife (then my girlfriend), I pursued my Ph.D. in geophysics.

Upon graduation, I was lucky enough to be offered a postdoctoral fellowship at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science. I was planning on a career in academia in geophysics, or solid-state geophysics.

It was difficult to secure an academic position. My wife urged me to seek opportunities outside academia, which was a much more realistic career option. I followed her advice and worked for 20 years as a contracting scientist at NASA working on geodynamics and space geodesy. It should be appreciated that my training is in solid-state physics with a strong background in computer programming.

Close to my 20-tenure at NASA, I happened to talk with a colleague about adjunct faculty at a campus nearby. I taught astronomy as well as mathematics for a few years besides my consulting work.

Again, the mathematics department in that college was looking for an assistant academic director. I applied for the position knowing that it would be a long shot at best. Well, I was hired for the position, and stayed there for 15 years before my official retirement.

Therefore, I did not choose my career. I ended up with my career by chance!

On the other hand, there have been a lot of preparations for my career. It was a solid education in physics and mathematics, which would prepare me for a wide range of career paths in the future. I was flexible enough to seize the opportunity when it knocked at my door.
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