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jca2's avatar

Is the job that you do, or the career you were in, what you went to school for?

Asked by jca2 (16459points) July 26th, 2023

Is the job that you do now, or the career that you are or were in, what you went to school for?

I know many people change careers and for many, what they went to school for is not the work they end up doing.

I have a Bachelors in History but I worked doing Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable, then was a caseworker and then was a union rep and Treasurer for ten years. Now, thanks to the beautiful pension, I am retired but may do something else in the future.

How about you?

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25 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

I was an engineer /scientist since I was in elementary school. I loved experimenting from day one!
I took advanced placement courses in high school: chemistry, physics, and math.
I was accepted into a great engineering school where I got a post graduate degree. 5 months before graduation I was recruited to work for a large auto manufacturer in advanced engineering and started one week after graduation. After retiring from there I started my own company doing what I enjoy.

I have truly been lucky!

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Same, I was a tinkerer from as long as I can remember. I always got an A in science. Started on the tech school path and quickly realized I was shooting too low and continued my education by going to a good engineering school and then graduate school. I worked as an electronics technician and electrical engineer during school. I’m currently the subject matter expert in a couple areas for a large power company.

chyna's avatar

I have a business management degree and I’m an office manager, so I’m in the area I went to school for.

canidmajor's avatar

Nope. I got a degree and got certified in elementary education, but the closest I came to using it was homeschooling my kiddo for a transitional year. I never really was into it, but my mother pushed and I caved. I wanted to study either marine biology or marine engineering/architecture, but those were deemed “unsuitable” and therefore unsupported.

I was a yacht broker (fun, but I was lousy at it); had a little yacht detailing business; worked in restaurants, worked retail books, worked on a tiny, hyper-local, marine publication, all sorts of things.

My work life was all over the map, I loved everything I did, I was fortunate to be able to indulge in choice.

kevbo1's avatar

I have an English degree. My career-level work has been in communications and publications, so yes, but I’ve also worked as a driver, lower-level office drone, and theater tech. As we speak, I’m waiting on an outside chance to become managing director of the nonprofit I work for currently, which would put me in the world of management, budgets, operations, and strategic planning.

zenvelo's avatar

The question has a presupposition that people go to school with a career in mind. But I really did not know what I wanted to do when I was 18.

I started as a Math major, but switched to Economics, and then Business Economics which had required Accounting classes.

The very last class I took in college ended up being my career. It was Investments. I completed that course in August 1979. I started working for a stock exchange in January 1980. Been with them ever since.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes I started in highschool actually and my mother went to college for the same career at one point as well. Primarily journalism, languages and media. In college I had no clue so thankfully I started early.

jca2's avatar

@zenvelo I can assure you that when I went to school for History, it was only because I loved history and I had no idea what to do with the degree.

gondwanalon's avatar

No and then yes (when I changed my mind). I eared a BA in Zoology with the intention of becoming a veterinarian. Didn’t get adequate grades or had the money or had the networking pull to get into vet school. So I just took a few more classes in clinical science and became a Medical Technologist and worked in hospital labs for 38 years.

I know now that I wouldn’t want to be a veterinarian. I’m not a people person. HA!

Forever_Free's avatar

Yes. A Technologist since birth. Engineer and Computer Science Major. I have been employed in the field since freshman year during college. Originally Hardware Engineer and evolved into Software and Technology.
As a kid I would take things apart to see how they worked and would improve on their design.

seawulf575's avatar

Interesting. When I was 19 I tried going to college. I was living on my own and paying for college and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I ended up going into the Navy where I got trained to be a nuclear technician, specializing in chemistry and radiation controls. After the 6 years in the Navy I turned that training and experience into working in Chemistry and Environmental positions at 2 different civilian nuclear power plants. I spent the next 32 years in this field. Along the way I kept getting told if I really wanted to move up I would need a degree…any degree. So I went to an online university and got a business degree which was the quickest, easiest, and cheapest degree of any use I could get. Never got into a business position. After getting laid off from my second power plant I realized how stress-filled my life was and had been so I dropped nuclear power altogether. I ended up delivering beer and wine, then supervising beer and wine delivery drivers, then managing the transportation section for delivering beer and wine. Nothing like my training or education.

janbb's avatar

Yup. Went to a small liberal arts college that you know @jca2 of so I got a broad liberal (should I say “lefty” ^^) education. i worked on a bookmobile as a clerk for a year and then went back to school for a Master’s in Library Science. I worked in libraries for most of my career except for some years while my kids were growing up when I worked in administration at my family’s insurance agency.

Caravanfan's avatar

I changed my career choice in the middle of college but it was the same classes, so I suppose the answer would be yes.

filmfann's avatar

Not at all.

Smashley's avatar

I had no particular idea what I wanted to do, my interests were too broad to exclude anything from my vision board, but thankfully the Canadian school system taught me that I was a disappointing, low class fool with no prospects, and my options were whittled down for me. Joining the military was an option, but in 2003, it didn’t seem like the right fit for a 140 pound queer kid with enough sense to see warmongering for what it was, with no desire to die for such bullshit. So I went to theater school, with dreams of fame and fortune. Unfortunately, or fortunately, for me, a couple of years in I could tell that, though there was a niche for performers who just liked to entertain people and tell new stories, the paths I had dreamed of were, in actuality, journeys of deception, facade and prostitution with few guarantees. So I ran away, took what I could get, and ended up in food service. There was something so comforting about blue-collar work after the experiences of my life, that I never really left it. I had seen a world of divorce and abuse and falseness and unhappiness and hate and exclusion and isolation in pursuit of some bizarre idea of what success looked like, so I just rejected my middle class suburban programming completely. I settled down in a lovely small town eventually, built a couple houses, grew up a family, had a bunch of lovers I genuinely loved, planted things, and worked honest jobs for honest pay. I never stopped dreaming, however, and eventually worked my way up to putting out my shingle in the food trades. How it works out long term is still unknown, and climate change may just fuck us all in the end, but I feel proud of my accomplishments, nonetheless. College was a part of my education, but life provided much more (but you still have to read books).

flutherother's avatar

I had no idea my schooling was for anything and I left school not having the faintest idea what I wanted to do. I saw an advertisement for a job with local government that paid me to go to library School so I went and spent the next 32 years working in various libraries before taking early retirement.

LostInParadise's avatar

I have a degree in math. My first job was as an actuarial trainee. I left that job for a civil service job with title of mathematican. I did not do much math but got trained to do computer programming, which is what I stayed with even after I left civil service.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I’m still waiting to finish my psychology degree. My only steady job was night shift cashier. In 2001–2003.

cookieman's avatar

I have a BFA in communication design and illustration and an MFA in graphic design.

I worked as an artist and designer for 30 years then became an associate professor teaching art and design, in 2018.

I’m full time at one university and part-time at three others, including Tufts, which I just started this summer.

It’s honestly amazing to me that I’ve been able to make a living at what I went to school for.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Went to college for engineering for two semesters and worked for an aerospace company as an engineering aid. Changed to general studies for a year and then changed to Psychology with my strong math background (statistics was required).
Graduated over 50 years ago and went to work the day after graduating building swimming pools (pick and shovel) only 20% of class had a job). End of the summer is approaching . . . went to auto parts store with a friend that was doing a brake job on his MGA. They had a “Help Wanted” sign in the window, I asked what they were looking for and manager took me aside asked a few questions about cars and mechanical items. Told me to bring my SS card on Monday at 7:30, hired right there. Driver for deliveries and outside sales.
Worked there for almost a year and got a call from the aerospace company, I had interviewed as a senior in college. Went to work as a Material Scheduling and Inventory Control management trainee. Did that for ten years, moved up to supervisor. Layoff was coming but my manager sent me to a branch plant for shop scheduling and I had almost 900 different parts that I had to plan starting over a 13 week horizon, the department went from 42% on time deliveries to 96 % with a lot of team work.
Worked several other jobs including jet engine design, mechanical engineering ($2.1 shop milling machine installation), purchasing, computer system design, training and worked for a dot com company for year.

Not what I went to college to do which was psychological testing and proctoring IQ tests.

jonsblond's avatar

I studied Travel and Tourism Management and did work as a travel agent for a few years until I quit to stay home with my young sons.

Twenty some years later I’m now working in healthcare.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I went to college training to be s teacher and now I’m a teacher, so that’s a yes.

However, I don’t use a lot of the things I have learned. Kids in real life don’t behave like the vacuumed environment we were taught in. As soon as I started working I abandoned everything I learned and adopted a new lifestyle. It was quite a shocking experience to me and it took me a long time to finally adjust.

cookieman's avatar

@Mimishu1995: I love so much that you’re a teacher. If there is anything right in the world, it is that.

Zaku's avatar

No. I did take a few computer classes, but I mostly self-taught myself my professional skills. I have a degree in English Language and Literature (and the college of liberal arts, so I took a wide range of other classes). I have had a few jobs that did use my English skills (as editor), and of course, language is useful for almost every job.

RocketGuy's avatar

When I was a kid I wanted to be an inventor. Went and got a BS in Mech Engr, and went to work as a Mech Engr. It was unchallenging to went back and got an MS in Materials Sciences. Had 2 jobs in a row in materials. Transferred to Mech Systems Engineering and ultimately into satellite safety (which needs Mech Engr and Matl Sci). So I have put my college education to use the last few decades.

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