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How did you know you wanted to pursue your career?

Did you know right away?
What made you want to do this career?

Thank you comment icon Career is a journey. While moving through your career you become a different person, with different knowledge, awareness and expectations. Hence you will adjust your trajectory as you go. Roberto Villa

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Subject: Career question for you

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Kyle’s Answer

Hi Allison!

When I was 16 I knew for sure I wanted to be a physical therapist. I felt like I possessed the qualities and got good enough grades to do exactly that. 7 years later I achieved that goal. I worked in the field for a few years and enjoyed the job and loved helping my patients. One thing that surprised me is how let down I felt with my career. I didn't see a path for career growth outside of just being a therapist and I felt stuck. I felt determined to get out of the field and was willing to go back to school to pursue a new career path, but I didn't know what. I did a lot of reaching out to friends/family who I knew were all in different fields and picked their brains. I did this for about 2 years and was still undecided. I ultimately decided to go back for business/tech because it offers a flexible career path.

Long story short everyone gets to a point in their career where they feel stuck and wish they pursued a different career. The things we like to do will change as time goes on. This could likely happen to you at some point. I would just suggest to always be a career learning and never stop picking up new skills as a transition to a different career could be just one connection away.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Allison,

I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to share a bit about my journey with you. There was a time when I was blissfully unaware, my knowledge about the world was quite limited.

It was Christmas of 1969 when my parents gifted me a small telescope, and I found myself marveling at the vastness of the cosmos. This newfound fascination led me to study physics in high school, with a dream of becoming an astronomer.

However, life had other plans. I was struck by two tragic events. My uncle, at the young age of 38, succumbed to a severe heart attack. This was too soon, too young. Not long after, my father also passed away from the same condition. These untimely demises sparked a desire in me to aid those suffering from diseases.

In college, I found myself tutoring future dentists and doctors in Biochemistry. This led me to further my studies in nutrition and dietetics.

Through my research, I discovered how their dietary habits had contributed to their premature deaths. But it wasn't just their diet, there was also a genetic predisposition that caused their coronary arteries to choke up with cholesterol.

Luckily, I had been dabbling in computer programming since 1972. I noticed that my attempts at dietary instruction and nutrition education were not as effective as I'd hoped. People were struggling to choose foods from various food groups.

They were overwhelmed by the options: 4 breads, 1 cereal, 2 fruits, 2 starchy vegetables, 1 legume, 4 proteins/meats/chicken/fish, 5 light salad vegetables, 4 fats/oils, and 2 liters of water. What they really wanted was a two-week menu with specific weights of foods and volumes of liquids.

In response to this need, I created MENUWISE. This program was the pinnacle of my career, and I am proud to say it has made a significant difference in people's lives.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Wishing you all the best,
Jim.
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Jacob’s Answer

Choosing a career can be a deeply personal and evolving process, and it’s not uncommon for people to explore various options before finding their true calling. Here are steps to help you discover your career path:

1. Self-Reflection: Start by reflecting on your interests, passions, values, and strengths. What activities make you feel fulfilled and engaged? Consider what you enjoy doing in your free time.
2. Assess Skills: Identify your skills and talents. What are you naturally good at? Sometimes, our strengths can guide us toward careers where we excel.
3. Set Goals: Define your short-term and long-term career goals. What do you want to achieve professionally? Setting clear objectives can help you work toward a specific path.
4. Research Careers: Explore different careers that align with your interests and goals. Use online resources, speak with professionals in those fields, and consider internships or part-time jobs to gain firsthand experience.
5. Networking: Build a professional network by attending industry events, joining relevant organizations, and connecting with mentors. Networking can provide insights and opportunities.
6. Education and Training: Determine the educational requirements for your desired career. Some professions require specific degrees or certifications, so plan your education accordingly.
7. Internships and Volunteering: Participate in internships or volunteer work related to your field of interest. This hands-on experience can help you confirm your passion and gain practical skills.
8. Seek Guidance: Talk to career counselors, mentors, and experienced professionals in the field. They can offer advice, share their experiences, and help you make informed decisions.
9. Trial and Error: Don’t be afraid to try different jobs or paths. Sometimes, you need to explore a few options to find what truly resonates with you.
10. Evaluate Lifestyle: Consider your lifestyle preferences, including work hours, location, and work-life balance. A career should align with your personal values and lifestyle.
11. Passion and Purpose: Ultimately, aim to find a career that not only pays the bills but also fulfills your sense of purpose. A fulfilling career can provide long-term satisfaction.
12. Adaptability: Be open to adapt and pivot in your career if your interests or goals change over time. The professional world is dynamic, and it’s okay to evolve your path.

Remember that the journey to finding your career can be a process of exploration and self-discovery. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers right away. Over time, your experiences and insights will help you make more informed decisions about your career path.
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Niha’s Answer

Oh it was a winding road for sure! I knew I wanted to help people, and I knew I couldn't sit at a desk job for long periods of time. I also knew I wouldn't be able to handle blood, so nursing and being a doctor were out. I actually started out thinking about Pharmacy, but I couldn't get into the classwork. I looked into physical therapy after needing it myself, and found myself really loving the movement of the work, and the pure anatomy classwork. It's not perfect, no job is, but I'm pretty happy with being able to go to work every day and just exercise and talk to people!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Esh
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Alan’s Answer

Allison, I think the answer to that is "yes and no" for most people. Most of us have an inkling, something relating to their interests, hobbies, experiences, skills, values, etc. When we're young, we have fantasies, like becoming a superhero or astronaut or President or Barbie. But some have a good sense at a very early age. And we're also often groomed in a direction, by our parents, teachers and surroundings. I was an early writer and very opinionated. My childhood nickname *sigh* was "the Little Professor." So the fact that I ultimately became both a writer and a professor is pretty self-explanatory. Yet, that wasn't the direction I initially intended. I loved baseball statistics and was good in math, and my mother was an accountant, so, as a pre-adolescent, I thought I wanted to become *sigh again* an actuary. College fixed that, between humbling me with calculus and awakening a desire to do something to help people. I had a vague idea of becoming a teacher, but I didn't know what that meant tangibly. As for writing, I would always write, but it's not something one can rely on to make a living. I spent a couple of years after college doing a job job and hating it, finally being encouraged to go to graduate school and pursue teaching. I never expected it would be with young children, but there must have been some psychological reason why that fit. Along the way, I made some moves within the field, from preschool teacher to administrator to college instructor preparing the next generation of preschool teachers. And when I retired, I began pursuing my first love, and probably talent, writing. So, as they say, you never know... except what you do know. What are your passions? How realistic are they? How realistic do they need to be?
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Kami’s Answer

I didn't know initially that law-enforcement was my calling. I was lead to the profession by chance, and upon learning that there is more to policing than jail, investigations, and court. I became more intrigued about the profession. Policing can help fulfill a sense of supporting the local community, it can help a person feel joy in knowing they've helped someone on their worst day, it can also allow individuals to gain skillets that can be used in other occupations if the person chooses to do things other than policing.
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Liana’s Answer

Hi Allison,

It's good to hear from you! I used to study Psychology at a University in LA, and I wanted to become a Sports Psychologist. Once I got admitted to a famous University, I changed my major to Graphic Design. There were many reasons why I changed majors. One of the reasons was that in the field of graphic design, I could use the software to create many cool, creative, and artistic designs. On the other hand, when I majored in Psychology, it wasn't the best fit for me because I usually had to memorize Psychological terms, and terminology, write a lot of essays, do research, perform many live presentations, etc. I feel happy that I'm a graphic designer.
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James’s Answer

Well I started welding in high school as a way to easily make grades to play football, after leaving high school after working several different jobs in different career fields , I had taken a job in the welding field and learned that when you do what you love it's not work at all, its your passion and the love of what you do will bring success.
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Allison !

I have answered this question many times and each time I do, I always think that I may be one of the few who knew at an unusually young age what career I wanted. That being what it is, I agree with Alan Weber in that many do not make this discovery for a long time and a few discover it very early. Each person has their own experience in their own time.

I was about six years old and decided, without hesitation, that I would be in acting when I grew up. It was part environmental influence yet no social reinforcement whatsoever. It was something I carried around till I was 18 and was able to make it happen by going to college and majoring in Theatre. My first semester confirmed my choice and I definitely knew right away. College was the confirmation I needed.

What made me want to do this career was the idea that acting is story telling, people watch and listen to a story, and I wanted to be part of that. It was bigger than life, a reflection of life and also, in some forms, communicates life messages and educates. As a kid, I also liked the idea of entertaining people, gee, acting is very useful, I thought. I never had the affliction of wanting to be rich and famous, just to be a professional who makes their sole income from acting. I thought that realistically, it's a job like anything else and for some reason, the star system was never part of my interest. It was also fulfilling to create scripts which I mostly did in college.

The drive towards a career can happen at any time in your life. I believe my experience is sort of rare and I chalk it up to me being such a curious and focused child. I wasn't looking for a career at six years old, it just sort of grew, was dormant until I could do something about it. So do not worry if you are not sure what your future holds. You have a lot of time ahead of you. Keep in mind the things you love, your personality and the current labor market choices you have. It's not unusual to not know and it's not unusual to choose one career and than change your career path decades later. Enjoy every step of the way !
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Yordan’s Answer

Hello, Allison!

I've experienced some changes in my career path, however, I've always been driven by the passion for learning something new and getting good at it. I think this is a crucial element for your future career development.

Choose something you want to do with passion and not because it's now fashionable or because your parents pushed you to choose this profession.

For example, when I went to university, I chose to study philology (letter studies) with the intention of becoming a journalist. I was good at writing, I was attending some journalism workshops in high school, so this was my passion. However, when I finished the university, the situation with journalists became very complicated in my country. Then I chose to wait a bit and found a corporate job, using my language skills.

The situation in the media business hasn't become any better since then and over the years, I developed some business skills and started thinking about working in Sales. It took me some years to get in there but then I realized that this was one of the best jobs I've ever had.

Now I also collaborate with one TV show, making reports for Spanish topics, thus I also work as a hobby journalist.

So, it's important for you to remember that if you choose some area, it doesn't mean you can start working in it until pension.

Nevertheless, I insist, choose something you are passionate about.

Good luck!

Yordan
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Alison’s Answer

Great question! And I think this might change over time.

My advice is
1) try a lot of different things (summer jobs in high school, internships, do a practical assignment "experiential learning" with an organization vs. a written assignments for school, co-op, contracts, etc).
2) Keep notes on what you like and don't like and why
3) talk to as many people as you can about how the different jobs/careers they had and why, what they learned, what advice they have
4) be open to and make the most of opportunities that present themselves
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