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How did you know that your career choice was what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?

My main problem with choosing a career path is that I am scared I am going to commit to something and realize that it is not what I want to do for the rest of my life.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Giulia’s Answer

Spoiler: You don't need to do it for the rest of your life.
Also, most people don't know the answer to this question. Even the successful ones.
I didn't see myself in any specific career once I was finishing college. And after three years of studying Psychology, I changed my degree to Computer Science Bachelor. When I was choosing between the degree options, I didn't even consider Computer Science, and I realized that I needed to go through that experience to understand that Psychology is something that I love to learn, but not work with. It is not easy to do this 180 degrees shift, but it is worth it.
We finish school very young and there are some things we don't know about ourselves yet to make this career decision. Try to keep in mind that this is a process and only by taking the first steps will you see clearly the pathway that makes sense to you. In practice, don't focus only on the fields you've learned in high school, but pay attention to what skills people appreciate in you or on what fields people see you as a reference. With that, search for jobs that fit with them and try to see you there - are you happy? struggling? learning?... Also, consider whatever motivates and thrills you - they are a good tip for what you would like to be doing even when you are being challenged in your career, and do not give up in difficult moments.
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Jacqueline’s Answer

hi Taylor , it's great to see that you are thinking about your career choices. :) for a start, you can consider that interests you most and have a go at it , and keep an open mind.

for few people, major career decisions start early. for most people, it changes (often quite dramatically) because we get exposed to different people, perspective and gain new interests. Sometimes, technological advancements also means jobs could change, new jobs arises and some jobs eliminated. What helps in career advancement are the people skills and knowledge you gain in jobs that prepare you for different or bigger roles

there is no need to fear making a big wrong decision or commitment, because you will definitely make changes and adapt as different options come up. For now, think about something that you are interested, it helps to reach out to talk to people doing those jobs/ in the industry just to find out more

be curious and try :)

hope this helps
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Daniel’s Answer

Hi Taylor!

First things first - that's ok. Most people do not know what they want to do the rest of their lives and it can be stressful to think about. I felt the same way a couple of years ago right before I graduated high school. My suggestion is to go to a community college to obtain your basics. This will help you have time to try some different jobs in completely different fields. Also, by going to a community college you will be saving money and giving yourself more time to decide on a career/job while making progress on your degree. Don't let people put pressure on you that you have to decide now on the rest of your work life. I had a teacher in high school tell me that I would be a failure if I did not know what degree/career I wanted by the time I graduated high school. Well, I did not by graduation but decided a year later on what I wanted to do and absolutely love it (operations)

I really think business is a great field to go into since it keeps your options wide open. That way you are not committing to one specific field and find out later that you hate it. Some fields in business include:

1. Operations
2. Finance
3. Sales
4. Marketing
5. Human Resources

I decided to go into Business Operations since operations touches almost every facet of the organization. I enjoy the different challenges and operations also gives me the flexibility to try new things. Another great aspect about operations is they usually support the other divisions of an organization. Since, there are many divisions of an company if you do not enjoy one area its not a big deal since you can support other areas of the business.

Many larger companies will start you in a rotational analyst program. By doing this you will get to see usually 2-4 different sections of the business. Companies offer this to not only help you hone in on your career path but many companies have realized that if there employees actually enjoy their job they will get better overall performance.

Good luck on the journey and know that you are not alone!
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Sara’s Answer

I was 30 when I discovered my career path. I went to college for one thing, graduated with a degree in something else, then took a long break before going to grad school for my current job.
It is important to avoid judging yourself if your career path is not linear. It is great to explore, to take classes in your hobbies, whether in college or in the community. You can find inspiration anywhere and there is no wrong way, as long as you are honest with what you want and why you want it.
Avoid doing things to please others.
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Qiping’s Answer

Hi Taylor! I feel you and all of us feel you. Most people don't know what they are doing for the rest of their lives. The only way to figure out is to try it and do it to see how you like it. You never know if you enjoy something until you do it. I would suggest staying curious and trying different opportunities. Even for those jobs that you don't enjoy, they are all great experience to you.
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Elizabeth (Betsy)’s Answer

I must admit, when I first joined college, I wasn't quite sure about my career path. I chose a major in communications that seemed appealing, but my plan wasn't clear-cut. Don't fear the unknown; instead, embrace college as a chance to delve into various subjects. To graduate, we had to take classes in diverse fields, some of which I knew nothing about. Surprisingly, I excelled in many of them. Not only did I gain knowledge, but I also encountered new experiences that transformed my perspective on learning. The most valuable takeaway from college was exposure to a wide array of subjects and ideas.

When my son faced a similar dilemma before college, I suggested he join a liberal arts program at a nearby community college. This allowed him to sample different courses while earning credits. It turned out to be an excellent choice. He later transferred those credits to a local university for his next degree. Like me, he truly valued the chance to explore various fields and uncover new talents.

So, my advice is to be courageous and investigate the diverse disciplines offered at your local college programs. You might uncover something captivating and life-changing.
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Lisa’s Answer

Hi Taylor!
Your question reminded me of myself when I was in high school and college. I thought I wanted to be a professional dancer and was told by many it would be too hard of a life, I shouldn't pursue it and should go to school to get a job that was more secure, would be stable and give me a good life.
Fast forward 30 years and what I've learned is this:

Get really clear on the things that you love to do, which give you high energy and leave you feeling good at the end of the day.
Think about (or ask people) what jobs might include a high degree of those activities.
Internships are amazing and give you good experience - and also teach you as much about what you enjoy as what you don't enjoy.
Get comfortable taking risks and trying things out - it will help to inform you if you are on the right track or need to try something else.
Know that while some people do one thing/profession for their whole career, there are many more who thought they would be doing one thing and ended up doing something completely different.....and loving it!
Allow yourself permission to have experiences without feeling forced in any one direction. The best parts of our learning in life are about the process, not the destination.
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. Many students have similar question. The most important is what career you have interest now. It is not necessary to commit this career for your life time. You interest may change in the future or you find opportunities that is more suitable to you. It is very common to change the career. Many people have the same experience including myself.
So, let's find out what careers you have interest for the time being. Below are my suggestions :
1. Think about what you have interest, e.g. your hobbies, favorite subjects, etc. and identify the related careers
E.g. If you have interest in Maths, would you like to be accountant, engineer, banker, financial analyst, maths teacher, etc.
If you have interest in Music, would you like to be a musician, singer, music composer, music teacher, music producer, etc.
2. Find out more on these careers and determine what you have interest
3. Speak to someone who are working in these careers. Seek guidance from your mentor, school career counsellor, your parents, etc.
4. Shortlist 1-2 careers you would like to pursue
5. Explore the entry criteria of relevant subjects in the college
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Julia’s Answer

Taylor,
It's thenrare person who actually knows what they want to do while they're still In highschool amf college is not for everyone. I have 3 sons and they all took different directions. One knew he wanted to be a dr so he went to college got into med school and is now finishing his residency. He has a twin brother moved out for a couple years then moved back in and went to college and their younger brother went military. So there are so many options while you're trying to figure it out. If you do want to go to college but don't know what you want to do, go to community college and get your "require" courses out of the way but it's usually a cheaper route to explore career paths until you decide. Just make sure your credits will transfer
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Vivian’s Answer

Hey Taylor! I completely understand your concern, as I've experienced the same uncertainty myself. CHOOSING A PATH for college was so confusing! I was torn between becoming a vet, a designer, or even a business administrator. Like you, vocational tests didn't provide any clarity for me. Ultimately, I decided on business school, thinking it would offer a broader range of career options.

What I discovered along the way is that it's often more crucial to know what you DON'T want to do and use that as your starting point.

Post-college, I joined IBM and have since switched careers around 4 or 5 times. I've worked as a billing analyst in finance, an auditor, and now I'm in IT. I've enjoyed each role, but it wasn't until my mid-30s that I truly realized leadership is my passion. It's great to finally know, but I'm always open to change. Remember, don't be too hard on yourself. You can always make a change later on.
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Mark’s Answer

First off just know that this is very common and more often than not people change careers a few times in their lives before they settle on one thing. Sometimes you have to try new things before you will truly know if you like it or not. Even so, do not feel you have to tie yourself to one career for life because who you are now will change in 10 years. What you value and what you need will change constantly throughout your life so, why wouldn't your needs for a career interests and goals change. I'm in my late 30s and it is only within the last 5 years or so did I find a path that I like, which is career services. Since earning my bachelor's, I have been fortunate to never be without a job but I have had a few jobs in different fields. As I got older and performed certain tasks in certain industries I learned things about myself. For me it was about finding something fulfilling where I could see the difference I was making in someone's life. I also learned that I needed something hands-on working directly with people and not behind the scenes doing paperwork all the time.
My first piece of advice is to talk to people who work in careers that you are interested in. Take the opportunity to really dig deep and ask them things like why the chose this particular path and what keeps them in the field. Ask them to share their experiences, both the good and the bad.
I hope this gives you something to think about.
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Robyn’s Answer

You don't need to settle on a lifelong career, which is what makes it thrilling! It's important to be well-informed when selecting a job, but remember, you can always change your mind. If it's not fulfilling your needs, feel free to make a switch! Some people might stick to one job or field forever, and that's perfectly fine. However, most individuals do change jobs and careers throughout their professional journey. With each job transition and role, we acquire valuable knowledge that helps shape us into leaders! Stay adaptable and embrace new opportunities during your career. That's my advice for anyone stepping into the working world! Pursue what genuinely interests you and always remain eager to learn in every role you take on.
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