Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

When I was growing up, it was understood back in the deep and dark recesses of my mind (though I never thought much about it at the time) that when I turned 18 years old, I would magically and automatically know what I was going to be doing the rest of my life.

I seemingly understood that the act of graduating from high school would somehow convey the wisdom to know what my life path would be.

Only problem is......that didn't happen.  Off to college.  Still didn't know.  I was amazed that the other freshmen and sophomores at school seemed to know exactly what career paths to take.  Not me.

So I took a course of study that was strictly liberal arts.  I learned a lot of history and English and biology and geology and journalism and Spanish and military science and sociology and psychology.  Then, I got a degree.  Still didn't know what I was going to be doing.

Then, I went into the army for two years.  When I got out, I still didn't know.  So I did what a whole bunch of folks in my situation do---I took the best paying job I could find.  Did I enjoy it?  No.  Was I good at it?  I give myself a "B", but I wasn't particularly fulfilled or happy.

Well, it turns out that I am not the Lone Ranger, as they say.  It turns out that most 18 year olds do not really know what they will be doing as a vocation---even though they might think they know.  It turns out that a whole lot of those freshmen and sophomores in college who said they knew what they wanted to do with their lives did not.  It took them several wrong turns to find that out.  It turns out that is normal, whatever that is.

No, it turns out a lot of people who were trained as engineers in school end up as artists or beekeepers or accountants.  And lots of other folks who thought they were going to be nurses or doctors wind up in sales or retail or government work.

It is nice if an individual knows precisely what their interest is at age 18 or 22 or even 30---but most folks require some life experience to finally arrive at their desired life work.

How about you?  Did you know what you would be doing with your life when you were 18 or 22? 

What twists and turns did your career take?

What advice would you offer to young men and women trying to decide their future careers?


  1. A really good blog idea! I am still growing up (just don't want to grow out :~)) so I am still undecided.

    I am anxious to see what your followers have to share about this topic.

  2. I know a few folks who went thru college "sure" of what career they wanted, then once they started working in it they HATED it. Had to start over trying to find a new direction after incurring student loans on the wrong one. I was lucky enough to work into the accouting world, thrilled enough to find my "niche" role and excel at it, then now? Am enjoying a year+ break from work after 30 straight years of it. Have no aspirations for any further career. If I have to, I'll get a job out in po-dunk. And wish for permanent retirement here at Run*A*Round...

  3. Texwis---Well, that is great! You have been fortunate. I know you're enjoying your break at the RunARound.

    You know, I think at some point I'd like to get a part time job with no managerial responsibilities---just let some 22 year old tell me what to do and do it!

  4. By the time I was 21 I was a mum, but I recall when I left school I always wanted to work in a record shop loving the music as I did/do. I did succeed in getting that job then I met my husband saved up got married and the rest is history, It is harder these days for kids leaving school and college there is so much unemployment so many go after one position that is advertised,


  5. Oh so true. I graduated with a double major in English/film. I then worked in real estate, property management, collections, back to school for nutrition/personal training degree, worked as trainer, gym manager, equestrian therapist, antique wholesaler, office manager, one summer as a truck driver, and now farmer. How about them apples.

  6. I had no idea and still don't! I graduated college w/a BS in Counseling Eduction. I ended up doing sales out of college - some event planning too.

    Now I'm a stay at home mother - a job I do love. Who knows what I'll do when I grow up?! ;)

    Advice - focus on what you have a passion for and what you are good at. If you don't know what that is's OK too...finding out is part of the fun!

  7. Yvonne---It is really good that you pretty much knew what you wanted to do. A lot of us struggle with any number of issues and are never sure throughout life what we should be doing. Many times, when we do decide what we love doing, it is late in life,

  8. Jane---you pretty much epitomize what I'm talking about! But I would say you've definitely got an education along the way! Great comment.

  9. Design W & D---that's the best advice ever---find what you love and do that!

  10. When I was 18 years old, I did not know what would become of me. I have learned a trade at some and I then looked after for a long time just to my children. It was important to me than my career.
    Many greetings and a nice weekend

  11. Sabine---there is no higher calling than caring for one's children. Thank you for your comment!

  12. great question. when i was a little girl i wanted to be a pediatrician. a "baby doctor" i would say. when i got to high school i took an after school medical health explorations class and realized i did NOT want to go into the medical field. in college i chose classes that i needed to graduate... then was forced to choose a major my junior year. i went with elementary ed and psych bc i enjoyed those classes and would be able to get out in just four years.=)

    turns out teaching wasn't what i wanted to do, but it sent me on the path to where i am now, which i'm happy about. funny that i'm now a nanny, which is what i loved and started doing at an early age. i was always sitting... who knew i was training for my "future career"!=)

  13. Kelli---You are such an unforgettable person. You are able---at such a young age---to just be honest. Man, that is refreshing.

  14. I always knew what I wanted to be, from about the age of six or so I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. But, I ended studying Chemical Engineering in college, got my degree and had to work at the engineering company that sponsored my college education. And remain in the same industry and nature of work till today.

    I am open for my children to choose what they want to do and what directions they should take, my advise to them is they should take the opportunity of their young age to learn knowledge that is relevant and should benefit them and that in my opinion is engineering.

    And I also told them that if they don't want to limit their eligibility in marriage, they should go get their degree, and then they can go do what they wish to do;)

  15. I didn't know and I changed twice...but know I know what to do: To make people happy in their vacation.

    Have a beautiful sunday with a lot of fun


  16. Ocean Girl---I can't argue with engineering as a career. The world certainly needs them!

    Petra---We would love to get to Teneriffe and have you show us around.

  17. I really did have an idea of what I'd do when I was very young. I loved numbers and I loved math and knew that would be my first career would be in a math related field. With the help of my husband I was able to work while raising my family and we were both able to retire at a very early age. We travel, we write and do an occasional consulting job to keep the coffers full. Rather than setting out to find ourselves we stumbled into it. It worked for us and while we have metamorphized several times along the way we are happy people. It is important to always have a goal and understand that sometimes moments must be endured so that hours can be enjoyed. Life is a race. Those fast out of the gate get to pick the track they race on. Hey, I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  18. Mary---your comments are always full of meaning. I appreciate your thoughts.

  19. Hey there Clint.When I was 11 I wanted to be lawyer. But I became a high school teacher, then missionary, then high school teacher again, then adminstrator in two different countries, then university lecturer,then homeschooler, and now high school teacher (AGAIN). After about 5 years of dilly-dallying I finally heeded the still small voice and enrolled myself in law school (online) - at the ripe old age of 50! And I am loving it, it's my new 'hobby'. :)I don't particularly want to be a lawyer fighting cases in court (no thanks). I think I'll just enjoy the journey without worrying too much about where it's going, he he he.

  20. heheheheh Clint!
    when I was very small 4-5-6- I wanted to be a ballerina, than with 13-14-15 i want to work in mode brance... I always made a shop in my sleep room, with clothing on the bed, and I have spoken alone as I have had many people in the "shop"
    with 16 I wanted to be an genetic scientist or researcher, with 18 I wanted to be a famous singer hihihihi (a kind of "Pride of the Yankees") hihihi
    but inside me I, deep in me I wanted always to be a pianter, I study a lot too to became a painter :-)...

  21. And what a wonderful painter you are, Laura! I'm so happy to be getting to know you and your art! God bless, dear friend.