Year of Being 50: Day 30: Picking Your Path
There was a recent article on Fast Company about how most of us pick the wrong career. Here’s a quote from it:
“Don’t follow your passion. Instead, follow your curiosity. What do you find interesting? The things that pique your curiosity aren’t random. They will point you to where you need to go.”
I definitely agree with this quote. I wish I’d had guidance anywhere close to this while I was in school, both in high school and in college, for what kind of career to aim for.
I went to a science and tech high school, so most things pointed toward science and tech careers, but even within those, the guidance counselor really wasn’t any help. I took interest inventories and they said I should either be an engineer or a secretary. Um, not helpful. I knew I didn’t want to be an engineer, and I knew I didn’t want to be a secretary.
So I went into computer science, because I really enjoyed and was good at my programming classes in high school. I kept enjoying them in college for most of the way through. Until I didn’t. Again, because of lack of guidance. I didn’t know that I could actually go in search of guidance, or even asking my professors for help. And I didn’t yet have the internet at my fingertips to do research.
When I was in school, I didn’t know about the sheer variety, the vast number of choices, of jobs and careers that were out there. I knew about some of them, mostly ones I didn’t want to do, like: doctor, lawyer, engineer, secretary, electrician, teacher, mid-level manager, etc. But I didn’t really think about meteorologist, surface pattern designer, author, or map maker.
These off-beat careers, that aren’t the norm in guidance counselors’ offices, were the ones that would interest me. But by the time I figured that out, I was long past graduating from college. And, by that point, I knew I would be happier working at home, which eliminated some career paths (especially pre-internet).
But I wish I’d thought to follow my interests toward a career. I did manage to graduate with a degree in American Studies, which was of great interest, but to this day I haven’t really done anything with it. A Bachelor’s degree in American Studies doesn’t get you anywhere, except maybe toward a Master’s degree in History.
Ah, well. We can’t live our lives efficiently, because most things are only clear in hindsight. I guess this post doesn’t really have a clear trajectory, and is a little rambly, but you get what you pay for I guess. =P
In short, follow where your interests lie, and they will take you where you need to go.
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