Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to Choose a Career | Wordy Wednesdays

How to Choose a Career
Hi Ladies,
Late last year I was introduced to a post idea by The Ladders to suggest career advice for soon-to-be college grads. If you are a regular follower of my blog, you know that I had a "few" things going on at that time and was going through an early mid-life crisis. So, at that moment, I didn't have the time nor feel qualified to give anyone advice, so I declined.

A few months later, after the dust storm that was my life settled, I started wondering what I would have written in that article. No doubt, if President Obama had been writing it, he would've told you to reach for the stars. (Heck! Why stop at being a Noble Laureate? You can be President of the Free World too!) Former President Clinton would tell you to make sure you get the most out of your company's perks. (All of it's "perks".) What about me, though? Could I come up with something equally wise, but true? Actually, the answer for me became very simple. If I'm being honest, I'd tell you to choose your career very wisely. Your company's culture can make or break your experience and money, really, really isn't everything.

Yeah, right though...I was told this a million times in college and didn't listen. Well, I listened, but I didn't know what it meant. I think it's one of those thing adults say, but find it impossible to communicate the actual meaning. Even now, I wonder what I would've done differently. Strangely, the one piece of advice that I remember being given, is not what you would normally consider as advice. I have no idea where I read it, but this is the gist: "when picking your career, think of the one situation that you would hate working in and the one thing you would do if money was no object. Then you should do the thing that you want to do, but in the situation you hate." See, I told you it was strange, but hang in with me for a moment...

For me, I would choose being a babysitter as the one thing I would hate to do. (Sorry, but I'd rather stick a hot needle into my eye than take care of someone else's kids.) On the happy side, I would love to do something that involves cats. Therefore, when I put those two together, the answer was simple: I should be a cat babysitter! Makes sense, right? Well, interestingly enough, that job does appeal to me at face value. I would love to be paid to play with cats all day. It sounds great!

However, if we dig a little deeper, certain concerns arise. I also like being able to pay my bills and being a cat sitter doesn't sound like a very lucrative career. My income would be cut even smaller, because I would also only be able to be around happy, healthy cats. I’m one of those people who tears up in Pet Smart when she sees all the kitties in cages with no owner to love them. I can't imagine there being enough Prozac in the world to keep me sane, if I had to deal with a sad situation involving cats.

So, where does this leave us? By now, you've probably put together that I'm saying that you don't know and can't possibly understand the impact of the decisions you are making now. (No matter how many internships you've done.) I'm also saying that there is a lot of crazy/ crappy career advice out there and you should be very careful who you listen to. However, all is not lost! Here's my advice: take a chance, do whatever, listen to your parents, ignore them, become a computer scientist or major in history. Just choose whatever career you think is going to make you happy, then graduate from college and do it! If you catch yourself one day, looking at the last few years and thinking that you were miserable for most of them, then stop! Take some time to yourself and think. Be aware of how you felt working those long hours or how you felt only being able to afford Ramen noodles.

Next, look at your options. Don't just look at the far off options, for instance if you were once a real estate attorney, but feel that you've earned the equivalent of medical degree diagnosing your mystery illnesses on WebMD, don't just look at becoming a doctor. Consider it, but also consider small tweaks to your current role that might make your quality of life better. Perhaps you could find a less strenuous law firm. Or you could meld the two fields together and focus on suing doctors for malpractice. There's plenty of opportunity in that! Anyway, I sincerely mean everything I've said and wish you the best of luck and happiness. I doubt  that this is the only way to handle this decision, and I certainly would've had a nervous break down in college had I know I was going to be doing this, but I can only share my life experiences as they are. And there you go...

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  1. Good advice and I would add don't let money decide your career path, do something you really love doing! Love your hair up too!

    1. Totally agree! That's such a hard decisions to make bc we all love money, but you are so right. BTW...Thanks again for the support yesterday :-)

  2. Excellent advice, Merrie! I was just talking about my little theory last night about how I don't think 18 year olds should be rushed off to college. Unless you are a prodigy or do know exactly want you want to do - college should be for when you turn thirty! All of my husband's older students are his best and most enthusiastic. Why make kids go into debt over something they aren't ready for! Spend your 20's figuring it out - having fun - waiting tables - volunteering! That way when it is time to go to school you'll be ready and have a better idea as to what you want to do!
    I must say though - the only problem in doing what you want is that you may end up like me - really good at doing something that makes no money - like cat sitting - or acting - or blogging - or animal rescue! lololol
    btw, I loooved that pic of you on Twitter with the engineer hashtag! So freaking cool!

    1. Thank you! Yea Cynthia...I hear you! I've got a lot of passions in life that cost me more money than they earn me. Here's to finding something in between!

  3. This is great advice! I think it is great to not get so stuck in one idea and consider other options and what else you could do!


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