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Blackberry's avatar

How did you pick your career? Or why are you going to pick what career you're working towards?

Asked by Blackberry (31011points) February 22nd, 2010

Did you end up in your ‘dream job’? Did you already know what you wanted to do and simply worked hard towards it? Or did some extenuating circumstances cause you to pick another way of life, but which turned out relatively well?

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25 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

I picked my career out of a hat. The mind and body at times seem to know you better than you know yourself; strange. I made a decent choice considering I was not a well-informed, well-researched teenager at the time. I worked for two years, and that has put me in a position to be able to re-evaluate my path. I have read many books on the subject, have spent a lot of time thinking about who I am and what I prefer, and am now working to “try on” potential new jobs through internships and formal studies. Hopefully I figure it out soon so I can get on with my life. I have never had a “dream job”. There is nothing that I love and am passionate about more than everything else – this is one of my problems, which interestingly enough I have learned is typical of my personality type.

noyesa's avatar

I’m still finishing up college, but I love what I do. I got really lucky on that front.

I started college as an engineering major for the wrong reasons. My dad and brother both got engineering degrees so I was sort of brought up in a household full of engineer types. I decided to major in Computer Engineering (CE) because I liked computers a lot.

My freshman year I took my first CE class, which was an Introduction to Computer Programming—and I loved it. It was fun, intellectually challenging, and something that I enjoyed doing. Then I realized that the rest of my CE curriculum included absolutely zero programming, it was mostly electrical stuff, which it turns out I really hate. A lot.

So I switched majors to Computer Science.

I’m pretty lucky to have caught that break, since lots of people go into “good bargain” fields like Engineering which are high earning out of college, but don’t really like it. I kind of cracked out of my “non-engineering-or-science major” phobia and picked a major that I really enjoy and I do love it. I’ve worked as an intern and done some jobs professionally while in college and this is the stuff I live for.

All, seemingly, happened by chance.

TheBot's avatar

Great question @Blackberry!

I wouldn’t say I know for sure, but I am now looking to start a career in the media industry (particularly the music business). Two years ago, I was convinced the hospitality industry was for me, but an internship later, I wasn’t so sure anymore. Then I thought real estate services. I enjoyed my second internship there, but realized that I really had to pick a sector I was passionate about to get enough motivation, to get this impression of contributing to something greater than my bank account.

It depends on your values, but also as you can see from my experience, on the things you go through in life. Also notice, I base myself on sectors, industries, and not functions like marketing or finance. That’s because I realized that all I needed was the right backdrop (ie industry) to be happy. Except for accounting and legal which I dislike, I have no real preference in function. That might not be the right method to pick a career for everyone. I know most of my classmates are choosing according to function, but I know through my internships that it would not work for me.

Val123's avatar

I picked teaching because I was going through a divorce. I wanted a job that would allow me to be on my kids schedule so that I could support them financially and give them the emotional support my presence provides (ie I wanted to raise my kids my self, and not have them in a day care.)

Blackberry's avatar

@lilikoi The feeling is mutual, I have two fields I’m interested in, but it’s only because they are the two I’m not as apathetic about lol. I think I’m going to just wing it and do General education credits and see if I feel passionate about something in the future.

lilikoi's avatar

@noyesa I laughed when I read your response because that is so me! I studied ME. It was a good deal – full scholarships and great starting salary, very stable industries, easy to find jobs. But I don’t like it. I may have liked working in industries other than the one I was in, but that would require a move I don’t want to make right now. There are some things that I really do enjoy about engineering – the stuff that is hands on and relevant to solving meaningful problems (meaningful to me, that is). I liked materials science, also work with corrosion and concrete, but didn’t enjoy engineering school all that much because most of the professors were extremely theoretical and obsessed with military funding and employers the same; neither shared my values.

I enjoyed programming, too. What do you think you’d have done for a living if you hadn’t found programming?

lilikoi's avatar

@Blackberry That’s not a bad idea. I think if you’re not certain, it can help to try everything and see what you like…

noyesa's avatar

@lilikoi Honestly most of the things I’m interested in now are other things I became interested in taking prerequisites in college. Urban Planning or Political Science were probably 2 and 3. I know a number of graduates from my school, which is pretty well esteemed in both fields and the pickins are pretty slim in the job market, so I guess I’m pretty glad I found my love for computer science. Given that, I’m not sure I would have ever conjured up the balls to dump Computer Engineering for something like Urban Planning (sorry to any urban planners here that I might offend, lol). It’s worth noting that I also have a degree in Computational Mathematics, which was a fondness of mine since high school.

Buttonstc's avatar

I sort of stumbled into it by accident and then realized how much I truly loved it and how perfectly it suited me.

My HS guidance counselor steered me into going to college even tho my nitwit parents just assumed I wouldn’t. He advised me to apply to teacher’s colleges as they were the most affordable at that time and they weren’t paying my way.

Because English was the only thing I was really good at, I majored in the teaching Secondary ( HS) English program.

However, one summer job I ended up being a camp counselor for kids 8–10 yrs. old and realized how delightful kids in this age group were to deal with.

So, I happily ended up in my first job teaching 3rd and 4th grade and absolutely loved it and never looked back.

Looking back, I’m really glad I didn’t end up teaching HS as English is mandatory for the students and the one subject that the majority of them detest.

Little kids love just about everything ( or at least can usually be talked or coerced into it). It’s just an all around great age group to work with as they are not as dependent as younger grades. They can tie their own shoes, put on their own coats and boots, etc.

But they are still young enough to not yet have developed that snotty attitude sometimes exhibited in older children.

So a happy confluence of events at critical decision points in my life contributed to landing me in the perfect career path for me.

Blackberry's avatar

@Buttonstc Sweet. That is a good age of children, I wasn’t incompetent or rebellious at that age either lol.

babaji's avatar

My step dad, bless his Soul was a Building Inspector for the Navy, and a General Contractor, and owned a lot of property with rental units, so by the time i was 13, i had a handle on so much of what he knew.

SeventhSense's avatar

I’m going to become a mercenary. Job security.

susanc's avatar

I floundered a bit in college, dropped out the instant the dean told me I couldn’t take any more art courses, went to secretarial school (my parents insisted), went to art school on my own dime, couldn’t understand commercial art, got married, worked as a secretary/framer and supported us, continued to work as a secretary after divorce from useless eternal student, got a job teaching college art accidentally because the dean of humanities fell in love with me, loved it, got another one, loved it, filled in as secretary, sign painter, babysitter, cocktail waitress whenever I couldn’t get a teaching job (I only had a BFA), and finally knuckled under at age 35 and went for an MA in art therapy. Private practice and teaching night classes at community colleges for oh maybe 17 years, then taught again for a few, then inherited some money and retired.

I never had any ambition at all, except to make paintings. But you have to work, and if possible you want to do something you feel is of value. I loved being a therapist. Who wouldn’t? People walk into your room, trust you with unbelievably interesting secrets, listen to you a little, give you money, and leave. It’s pretty darn fun (most of the time).

Gee, I think I need to start up again.

Buttonstc's avatar

Funny you should say that. Being a therapist is the only other job I could picture myself being happy doing.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

From an early age I had wanted to help others through some sort of counselling. Once overcoming a crisis of confidence despite excellent grades, and after floundering through a number of careers that I rationalized were analogous to counselling, I undertook studies toward a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Personality. By the time I graduated, I had become very accomplished in doing Research and Statistical Consulting.

Since my spouse through graduate school undermined me in every step I took toward my principle goal including refusing to allow me to move with her and our children when I was offered a tenured position at a University that courted me and further refused to allow me to do a Clinical Internship without giving up my children, I focused on what I could do where we were.

As a reward for giving in to her demands, she broke up the family by moving out to live with another woman and then, after abandoning the children, she fought me for custody of children she never bonded with and whom she ultimately forced into foster care rather than allow them to live with me.

After the divorce, I was in debt above my head and I had kids who were so messed up, they couldn’t function well at home and my original career options took a back seat to survival. I ended up loving what I did until disability from a car crash ended all hopes of continuing any career for which I had trained.

Despite all this, I remain a positive and generally cheerful person.
If not for my present and forever wife, I might not be able to deal with my life at all. Her love seems to make the joy in my life possible.

thriftymaid's avatar

Interest and aptitude

J0E's avatar

I picked my career because it’s something I don’t hate doing, although my classes are doing their best to change that. :/

Val123's avatar

@J0E I gotta talk to you! Go to Inq and answer my last question, if you can! Put that edjacashun to some good use!

SeventhSense's avatar

Bravo to a life well lived. I’m sorry about your kids.

TheBot's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Yours is a very moving life story…

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’ve wanted to be an axe-murderer all of my life, and I’m still studying the masters.

Val123's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence How heart breaking…..

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I appreciate the support although I was not consciously looking for validation.
This is a great community! I wish I could invite you all to my house!

SeventhSense's avatar

That would be one hell of a party to clean up after.

Ron_C's avatar

When I was young (9 or so) I was fascinated by two things, electronics, and the ocean. When I graduated from high school and started college I learned that I was also fascinated by writing.

I talked my dad out of finishing college and joined the Navy as an electronics technician. It turned out that I was more interested in using electronic to make things happen than for radar and communications.

I eventually found myself out of the Navy and into Industrial Electronics and then Process Control. I greatly enjoy seeing the result when those little electrons are directed in such a was as to make real physical things move and even create other things in the real world. I also enjoy fixing them when everything goes wrong. The, to me, is a rush when a piece of equipment or process is fixed and running as it should, all due to my efforts, knowledge, and ingenuity. I also write technical manuals so I even get to use my interest in language.

Yep, I found my ideal job, I just wish it paid a little more.

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