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partyparty's avatar

Have you followed the career path of your choice?

Asked by partyparty (9129 points ) March 31st, 2010

When at school did you opt for a certain career? What was this?
Did you manage to follow that pathway? Are you happy with your decision, or are you frustrated and unhappy with your choice? What would you like to do instead?
Did you fall along the wayside?
Do you wish you had tried harder at school?
Lots of questions – sorry

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29 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher, but I was always good at math, so my first real job was account clerk, and I took courses to upgrade my skills to become head bookkeeper, among other things. I became a stay at home mom and home schooled my sons and grandsons when I married my third husband.

JeffVader's avatar

Sadly, I managed to go through school, college, & university without having any idea what I wanted to do. At the time, the goal was getting a degree. It really wasn’t until I was in my mid 20’s that I realised what I wanted to do, which was teaching. Unfortunately due to personal commitments I’ve never been able to pursue this…. to date.
In all honesty, I’m very disappointed with the ways things have turned out. Basically I stumbled into the motor trade, probably because it’s so easy to get work there, & stayed there for 10yrs doing jobs I hated simply because I had to be working. I have changed professions & now work in mental health, so at least I’m doing something worthwhile now, but it’s still unrelentingly unsatisfying.
Yes, I wish I had tried harder at school. However, I also know that given the circumstances I lived in, I’m lucky to have achieved what I did. The single thing that I’m most disappointed with is my degree. I’ve not got a bad result by any means but it could have been so much better. I definitely let myself down there, so much so that my certificate is hidden away in the bottom of a drawer, as I feel no sense of pride from it what-so-ever.

partyparty's avatar

@YARNLADY Wow you must have worked really hard at tutoring your children and grandchildren. Good for you! Are you proud of their achievements?
@JeffVader You should be proud of achieving a degree. Could you use this degree to start another career path, or perhaps go back to learning to achieve your ultimate goal?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes, and it came very easy for me. My problem is that it was so easy for me to achieve what I wanted that I’m not so sure I want it any longer. Very grateful nonetheless. I don’t give back nearly as much as I should. That’s the big goal now.

JeffVader's avatar

@partyparty Well, thank you, I appreciate you saying that. Funnily enough I have started to reconsider the teaching option. Financially things have shifted a little recently & the option of taking a year out for teacher training is a realistic possibility for the first time. So fingers crossed :)

Vunessuh's avatar

When at school did you opt for a certain career? What was this?
I’ve known since as long as I can remember that I wanted to have a career in the arts, but didn’t realize that screenwriting was my calling until middle school.
Did you manage to follow that pathway? Are you happy with your decision, or are you frustrated and unhappy with your choice? What would you like to do instead?
I followed that pathway and I’m very happy I did. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Did you fall along the wayside?
I’ve had my ups and downs in this industry. I’ve been appreciative of every challenge and obstacle because it’s been a chance for growth, not necessarily a setback.
Do you wish you had tried harder at school?
I did really well in high school, but I didn’t care for it. People ask me all the time if I regret not going to college. I don’t. I was going to go to the LA Film School before people told me not to waste the money on it. The real film school is just working directly on a set. There’s no better way to learn the ropes of something than being hands on with it. Sitting in a classroom isn’t for me. I took that advice and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

jrpowell's avatar

I took a odd path..

http://www.fluther.com/disc/50910/does-anyone-here-have-a-degree-in-geology-and-if-so/#quip709115

I actually considered it back in the day.

Option #1 Work for oil companies
Option #2 Work for the USGS
Option #3 Teach

I wasn’t really interested in grad school at the time. And all of those required a advanced degree. So I went for accounting. Contemplated suicide, and went with economics.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Not yet, but I am working towards it. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do until a few months ago, and I expect to be qualified in the field in about five years. Once I have finished my current degree and have worked for a few years to set myself up financially, I will be back studying to get what I really want.

partyparty's avatar

@JeffVader My daughter has a degree, but at the moment she is working in telecommunications. She actually applied for a teacher training course, but then changed her mind. The industry she is in pays more money, but she is still yearning to go in to teaching. Follow your dreams I say. Go for it. You may regret it later. I wish you luck.

iphigeneia's avatar

I still haven’t decided on a career path, and I’ve just completed high school (not sure how it equates to other countries’ education structures, it’s the year in which most people turn 18)

I kind of wish that I had tried harder in school, because I know that I could have done better and studied higher-scoring subjects, but I still did get a good mark and now I am about to attend university to study a combined Law and Arts (Japanese major) degree. This keeps open a lot of options for me that I like: journalism, international relations, producing, etc.

The other path that I would like to take is in the performing arts, but I can see that taking a backseat for the next 5 or 6 years if I continue with my current plan. I do wish that I had been more focused on this on the past, because I gave up a lot to work on school and now I have the time I wish I could afford to learn piano and take dance lessons again. We shall see.

Tenpinmaster's avatar

LOL when I was in high school I wanted nothing more then to follow the IT career path. I built myself up to enroll in school for IT and then the dot.crash happened and all my buddies that were going into the field realized they could not get jobs and they all started doing other things. Well I stopped going to school and got stuck in this call center for the last 10 years. LOL I would of never thought in my life I would end up stuck in a big box night after night troubleshooting alarm panels.

JeffVader's avatar

@partyparty Thank you again…. I’m sure at some point the lure of £££‘s will die down enough for your daughter follow her heart.

Exhausted's avatar

I was foolish and so damn naive, when I graduated High School, that I immediately got married and had two children. I love my sons dearly and wouldn’t want my life without them, but I regret that I went about having them the way I did. Once their father made it clear he didn’t want to raise our children responsibly, I had to step up and do it instead. I would have liked to have been a teacher or a therapist, but by the time the boys were raised and gone, it was really too late to do that much school and still have a career that would be profitable, so, here I am in my 50’s not really knowing what to do now, so I’m just going with the flow and enjoying my midlife instead of struggling like I spent my early adulthood doing.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Have you followed the career path of your choice?
For the most part, yes. I work for myself.

When at school did you opt for a certain career? What was this?
Not at all, I opted for what I was most interested in at the time. Turns out it was a variety of things, psychology, philosophy, ancient history, various sciences, etc. None of which have anything directly to do with my career.

Did you manage to follow that pathway?
I followed the path I, for the most part, chose, so yes.

Are you happy with your decision, or are you frustrated and unhappy with your choice?
I’m happy, there might be a handful of things I’d change but over all I can’t imagine having done it differently.

What would you like to do instead?
Being that I’m pretty happy where I am, not much. But I’d love to go back to school, there’s still a lot to learn.

Did you fall along the wayside?
I’m still walking the path.

Do you wish you had tried harder at school?
Not at all. I didn’t try all that hard to begin with. I was always more interested in learning and exploring what interested me than my GPA. Still am for that matter.

wundayatta's avatar

I never had a career path. I just sort of wandered from one thing to another. I did go to graduate school, but didn’t’ exactly end up doing what I went to grad school for. Basically, I ended up being a researcher, and used almost any piece of knowledge I had available. Since research skills are so generic, it really didn’t matter what I knew. I could find out what I needed to know pretty fast.

Along the way, I probably picked up quite a bit of knowledge. I almost always answer questions here without research. Occasionally, if I get interested, I’ll look for sources, especially if I am making a counterintuitive point.

Anyway, if you were to count fluther as a career, you could say I’ve been preparing for it all along. I just like answering questions. That’s what I do for pay, too. So it turned out that most of my education prepared me for this, even though I had no idea I would end up doing it.

Which is why I have a philosophy of not worrying about what I’m going to do. Education is for education’s sake. Jobs and career will take care of themselves. If you do what you’re interested in, you’ll be fine. Planning, in life, is rarely worth the trouble, unless you are terribly driven. I never wanted to be terribly driven. I just wanted to have things fall into my lap, naturally. Boy! Have they done that!

zephyr826's avatar

I knew that I wanted to teach early on, but the subject eluded me for a while. I changed my major 5 times while I was in college, floating through the humanities until I realized that I couldn’t stand not speaking French. I stuck with the teaching through a variety of minor glitches and setbacks, and this will be my fifth year. I’m pretty happy with my choice,though there are days where the kids, the administrators, and the sheer drama (I teach in a high school) can be a smidge overwhelming. But what else could I do? This is where I’m supposed to be.

galileogirl's avatar

I did what I wanted until I wanted to try something else and then I would do it. It wasn’t so much a path as an expedition of discovery.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

For the most part, I’m who I wanted to be when I grew up. I think I was 5 or 6 when I decided I wanted to be a scientist. I read everything I could find about science from authors like Willy Ley and Isaac Asimov (I still have dozens of his nonfiction books, as well as a lot of his fiction), and had read Einstein’s Relativity:The Special and General Theories by the time I was 15.

When I got to college, however, I chose to major in electrical engineering rather than a pure science like physics. I still had several courses in physics, chemistry, and a ton of math. Having seen my sister go the pure research route, I figured I could have a more secure future in applied science, and without a Ph. D. to boot. Later on, I tacked on a degree in computer science, and much later, one in education. From a standpoint of personal philosophy, I still consider myself a scientist, although I make my living as a computer programmer now.

aprilsimnel's avatar

When at school did you opt for a certain career? What was this? I wanted to be a film director long before I went to uni.

Did you manage to follow that pathway? I didn’t allow myself the opportunity. Deep down I believed that only rich people with loads of connections were allowed to be directors and writers. I assigned myself the role of peon, even though I hated it. I made the choice to not learn how to network. I made the choice to hold onto my fear of these people, and I made the choice to not trust in myself or my writing and directing talents at all. I never took my own side. Ever. Don’t you do that.

Are you happy with your decision, or are you frustrated and unhappy with your choice? I am frustrated because now I am older and I no longer have connections in the industry. I didn’t keep in contact with anyone I’d worked with because I was positive that they barely tolerated my presence. I felt if I tried to maintain contact, friendship or networking opportunities, I’d be shunned since I wasn’t some rich white guy from Harvard.

What would you like to do instead? I still want to be a writer, director and producer of films. I’d like to act in them once in a while, too.

Did you fall along the wayside? Yes, I have. I left film to do corporate media for 8 years, which I couldn’t stand, then I worked as an admin at a couple of banks for 2 years, which I hated more. The feeling that I’m now too old to start again in a very youth-driven industry has been very strong and it makes me sad that I haven’t been able to shake that feeling.

Do you wish you had tried harder at school? I wish I’d learned how to network and maintain connections at school. No one seems to teach that at any level, and it would certainly help certain populations more than others. Also, I wish I’d been able to see at school that other people are not better than me based solely on their family’s bank accounts, and I had nothing to fear from them. But I didn’t learn this. I still haven’t learned this to some degree and the idea that people who are more accomplished than I am are “better” than me still feels true, though logically, I know it isn’t. Don’t think this way. Believe that whomever you meet in whatever career you choose at whatever school you attend, you are as good as the other person and that you do have something to contribute. I haven’t believed this and have sabotaged myself. Don’t do what I’ve done. Trust yourself. Trust other people, too, until someone gives you a reason to not do so.

Coloma's avatar

I think this is another area of life that is a set up for lots of unhappiness and discontment for many.

Very FEW people are dialed into career aspirations in their youth, and follow a perfectly linear career path doing whatever it is they do for the next 30 something years.

Life is about flexability, things change, people change, desires change.

Personally I embrace diversity, never been the type that wanted the nice, ‘safe’ job, and to map out my daily routine for the next 3 decades. lol

I have and continue to work at a particular situation until it’s run it’s course, however that may occur.

I think the real trick to life and having the ability to explore new avenues is to keep your debt low, have enough in the bank to drop out for periods of time, 6 mos., a year, two…and regroup for the next adventure.

My ONLY goal in life is to maintain the freedom to make changes as I so desire.

We are meant to go with the flow not get stuck in the sewer! hahaha

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes. I met my husband in college, we were competitors in our metals class and ended up owning a fine jewelry design/fabrication business together which has been one of the best experiences and memories for me. It’s my hope to re start that business again in the future and with my ex husband as a partner or at least contributor.

CMaz's avatar

“Have you followed the career path of your choice?”

By understanding that every path comes to a cross road.

partyparty's avatar

@Vunessuh So pleased you are happy with your career.
@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You are so very fortunate
@FireMadeFlesh Good for you. Hope you reach all your goals
@iphigeneia Just keep working at your education. Good luck
@Tenpinmaster Perhaps when the job situation improves you will be able to continue following your dreams.
@Exhausted Yes it isn’t always easy is it, but you have obviously made a great achievement by raising your children. You should be proud of yourself
@wonderingwhy I love to hear a success story. You could always return to college in the future.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Throughout my teenage years I was pretty convinced I’d be a good doctor and so pre-med—>medical school and then residency was going to be my career path. I considered, given that I started doing laboratory research pretty early on in my life, going into the sciences as well. Throughout college I stuck to this goal and obtained a degree in biology. I didn’t apply to medical school with everyone else – wanted to get a Masters in Public Health first. Throughout graduate school I learned more and more of the health care mess in the U.S. and of the many issues that exist with hospitals, with being a physician with the relationship between medicine and big pharma. I didn’t want to be a part of this industry any longer, my sights were set to working with people, doing community outreach/social justice activism, etc. So I sabotaged myself in some ways and didn’t get into medical school (thankfully, I shudder to think of it now though I wouldn’t have minded going through med school just for kicks, not to become a doctor but that’s not realistic). I had two kids in the process of college and grad school and that always allowed me to pause my ambitions and gain perspective. I have done a lot of things in my life and looking back I realized I wanted to teach at the college level. So in 2011 I hope to begin my PhD in Sociomedical Sciences or in Sociology here in NYC. Eventually I want to work in queer and trans communities and teach. I am also interested in eventually pursing a career in bioethics.

Bluefreedom's avatar

When at school did you opt for a certain career? What was this?
I originally wanted to be a commercial airline pilot but things didn’t work out that way. Instead, I opted for a career in the military. While in high school, I was in the JROTC program and this helped me enter military service at a higher rank.

Did you manage to follow that pathway?
I did follow the military career pathway and I have been a military policeman for 22 years now.

Are you happy with your decision, or are you frustrated and unhappy with your choice?
The military has been good to me and for me for over two decades now and I’ve never regretted my decision to make it a lifelong career.

What would you like to do instead?
If I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing now, I’d love to be a pilot. I have a goal to get my private pilot’s license someday.

Did you fall along the wayside?
I don’t believe so but you might say I stumbled a bit scholastically.

Do you wish you had tried harder at school?
In the respect of studying harder and getting better grades, yes. This would have helped in possibly getting scholarship offers and would have improved my chances of working toward that commercial airline pilot career that I originally dreamed about.

lilikoi's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh And what is your calling, if you don’t mind me asking?

When at school did you opt for a certain career? What was this?
Mechanical engineering.

Did you manage to follow that pathway?
Yes, for 2 years. It pays well, but I missed nature.

Are you happy with your decision, or are you frustrated and unhappy with your choice?
I was the latter. Only a few of my professors in school were good, and the companies I worked for were lacking in various ways that made me frustrated. The indoor, sedentary aspect of the work only made it worse. I quit, and am now pursuing other things. I may go back one day if I find a good mentor and do independent consulting as a side job because…

What would you like to do instead?
Immediately, I am planning on traveling indefinitely. Backpacking the world. I have wanted to do this since I was in college, and now that I am a jobless hobo, I finally can. After I run out of money, I intend to go back to school, study Agroecology, volunteer with the Peace Corps while hopefully also pursuing a master’s degree, and hopefully one day run my own farm and/or do research/conservation work in restoration ecology – which thanks to @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities and the realization that that is really something I’ve always enjoyed, I am really interested in now. If all that doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll become a plumber or mechanic.

It was really hard for me to admit that ecology/agriculture/conservation work was what I’ve always wanted because the pay tops out below what my starting salary as an engineer was. I want to be the rich and powerful Addison Montgomery and the grubby, backcountry researcher that has dirt under her fingernails. I just don’t think I’ll ever truly be happy if I’m not doing the latter, so the money has to go.

Did you fall along the wayside?
Twice. Once in college when I second-guessed my major, and recently when I quit my job to figure out what I wanted.

Do you wish you had tried harder at school?
Yes and no. It’s not that I didn’t try hard, more like I had so many interests and so many extracurricular activities unrelated to my major (which is intensive on its own – by the third year, everyone except me was hanging out with other engineers exclusively – I should have taken that as a sign…) that I didn’t make enough time to focus on studying. So yes, on the one hand I wish I had buckled down and somehow managed to learn more – I missed a lot. On the other hand, I had a great time in college. I needed all of those extracurriculars to be happy and balanced. If I had focused long enough to learn everything, I would be someone else. I could have committed 100% to a program that was centered on hands-on applications (as I believe an engineering school should be), but I was being taught by a bunch of theoretical PhDs who had never had to make it in the real world, and it was annoying.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@lilikoi I was pressed for time before, so I will answer properly now.

When at school did you opt for a certain career? What was this?
For most of my time at school, I wanted to do medicine. In my final year I lost direction though, and was struggling to choose between a genetics course and mechatronic engineering. At the last moment I chose Radiography though, because of my interest in physics and the good career prospects.

Are you happy with your decision, or are you frustrated and unhappy with your choice?
I am happy with my choice in the short term, as it will get me a good job that pays fairly well, that I enjoy, and will allow me to work part time when I return to study.

What would you like to do instead?
I am working towards studying neuroscience. I have a strong interest in the brain and mind, and would love to eventually be involved in neuroscience research.

Did you fall along the wayside?
I have had times of disillusionment, but I have kept at it because I know that eventually I will find what I want and dropping out will not help me get there.

Do you wish you had tried harder at school?
Definitely. I have always had a problem with putting effort into my study, because when I learn a concept I want to move on to the next level rather than constantly revising the same simple concept. The schooling system where I live favours those who parrot information over students who actually understand concepts on a deep level and can think it through. I study much harder these days, as well as working part time. Thankfully my lack of effort has not stopped me from getting where I want to be.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes. I’m very fortunate.

partyparty's avatar

@zephyr826 You sound really happy with your career. Thanks for your answer
@IchtheosaurusRex Are you happy at what you do?
@aprilsimnel Such a lovely answer, thanks
@Coloma Thanks, great answer, but we have to make decisions about what direction we are going to follow when we are in school. Think that is so very sad, because we don’t always know what we really want to do at that age. What do you think?

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