What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
It is very interesting to me as I learn about the college search process with my daughter. She is a junior in high school and we've seen a number of presentations around what she should expect and plan for, even as early as her freshman year. It is crazy the pressure on kids to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their life. They are told that they need to start taking classes as a freshman to put you on a path to not only being ready for college but improving your chances of being accepted. The irony is during the same presentation they are told that college isn't for everyone and there are lots of different learning opportunities to prepare them for a career that best suits them, many of which don't involve a four year degree. They should use high school to take a variety of classes and explore what they may want to do. But, if they wind up figuring out what they want to do requires a four year degree they could be having to catch up if they took to many electives to explore.
That is a lot of pressure on kids to figure out what they want to do with their life. The ironic part is I've been having more conversations at my work about what is the next step for me in my career. I'm at the mid point in my career and I'm trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. Like any job there are parts I really like about what I do and parts that I don't enjoy as much. There are times I think it would be better to focus on a different area then what I'm doing, but will that be any different or better than what I'm doing now?
What I've learned in my career is to not be afraid to try different roles, take on new challenges and dive in when you have the opportunity to learn something new. You might learn it isn't a fit for you (hello my years in sales and marketing) or you might learn that something you never thought you would like to do was a really great fit.
Before you are a freshman in high school you need to decide if you want to go to college or not because if you do you need to start preparing yourself on day one. It seems odd that our schools and colleges, whose job in theory is to prepare people for the real world, take the stance that they do. It is hard as a parent seeing what I go through in my career and seeing the types of decisions she has had to make when she was 14, 15 and 16 years old.
The good news though is, besides that first job out of college, your career largely isn't impacted by where you went to school and what degree you have. You want to get close, so no being an electricians apprentice if you want to become a dental hygienist, but if you are close you have opportunities in the real world to try different things, explore, learn who you are and what you want to be when you grow up.
After 22 years in my career, I think I finally have it figured out, I have no doubt you will too.