The One with All the Careers

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Are you doing it now?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that generally up until at least late high school, most people are just shooting in the dark about what they want to be when they grow up. 
For instance, my answer to the question, from first grade on:

Ardist (who needs to work on her spelling)
Once I realized I had no talent, I moved on to:
Press Secretary for a Politician
Employed…anywhere (college graduation will do that to you)
Non-profit Management (that’s what I do now!)

Most of the time, I was just saying stuff I thought sounded good but probably wasn’t something I’d actually be good at. Until I got to teacher. I still think I’d really enjoy being a teacher. 

In college, I pretty much changed my mind every year, twice a year. And I think that’s a-okay. Cause you know what? I had no clue what would actually make me happy. For the record, the average person these days changes careers 7 times in their life! It’s never too late to change your mind. 
I do feel like these days, there are some careers that are just cooler than others.
I think we can all agree that being an accountant is never going to sound glamorous (but it’s stable and pays well!). But let’s talk about a few that have been popular in the past, or just sound really good when you say them.

Doctor: This is just always going to sound good. It just is. I went into college as a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major, thinking I wanted to be a doctor. Turns out? I’m not quite that brilliant.

Marketing: Some years back, Marketing folks were the cool kids. They made decisions about how to make the company more popular. But then the economy squashed this a bit, as marketing departments are the first thing to go during cut backs.

PR: As Marketing made its way out, Public Relations started to sound really good to people. It sounded like a great way for people like me to put their Communication degrees to good use. And yet, it’s a field with not too many jobs available. Huh. So while it seemed like almost every sorority girl wanted to work in PR, most of us actually didn’t.

Publishing: This is the hottest career right now, from what I can tell. I have multiple friends who are trying to work in publishing. Can anyone tell me what they actually do in publishing? Besides make books? I mean, I’m all for being the person who reads books and decides if they’re good. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the only thing they do in publishing. But it sure sounds good when you say it.

From what I’ve seen, most of the time, people who wanted to do any of the above probably wound up finding their niche somewhere else.

For instance, I now work for a foundation that helps fight childhood cancer. Never in a million years would I have said 5 years ago, “I want to go into non-profit management”. But I wound up here and I love it. And just in case you didn’t know:

Thanks, Lauren for putting that up and spreading awareness!

Is what you do now what you thought you’d be doing? 
I know I’m not the only one who changed her mind a million times.
Do share!

  • I love this!! I totally had so many ideas about what I was going to be doing and what I do is so different. I thought I was going to be a politician or at least work in politics. Then I thought I’d be a lawyer. Then I thought I’d be a diplomat. Then I actually worked in college admissions and loved it. Then I worked in college counseling and loved it. Now I’m working in the study abroad field and I love that too! Travel, planning trips, working with colleges…I love it! 🙂

  • Thank you for posting about Childhood Cancer awareness month! I think a lot of people think when they raise money for Relay for Life or something like that, it goes towards any type of cancer. I learned when my little cousin was diagnosed with a brain tumor that it doesn’t. There are separate organizations (like yours) for childhood cancer that we need to be aware of because they raise money specifically for kids. Thanks for doing what you do 🙂 I’m a new reader/follower and I really like your blog!

  • Growing up I didn’t even think about my future! I never had the ambition my youngest sister had (at age 4 she wanted to marry a pig farmer). And now after trying out several different fields I’ve realized I’m meant to work at home making felted wool jewelry…go figure!

  • I work in publishing! It’s SO much more than just making books. I sell domestic rights for our company – this covers anything from Audiobooks to Serials in newspapers and magazines. It’s an exciting, and challenging time to be in the publishing industry. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to (try) and answer them! – Jenna

  • Your job sounds wonderful and very fulfilling!

    I started out as a communication major (with the goal of doing PR) but quickly changed to English and figured I’d decided what to do after I graduated. After 3 post-college years of bartending, construction, childcare, and other randomness, one day I woke up and decided to be a teacher. So that’s what I am now 🙂

    7 times is a lot to change careers!!!

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