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Subject: How did you pick your career? rss

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Rob Cramer
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I am having a tough time right now. College for me currently is creating some of the roughest times that I have ever experienced. I have had to step back and figure out what I want out of my life in the next 5 years.

Sorry to get heavy for a second, but I was curious how others got to where they are today. Did you pick your dream job, but had to settle for something else? Did you drop out of college? Did you take career tests, and if so, which ones?

Any advice, suggestions, or encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Michael Carter
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I turned a hobby, computers, into a career. I was originally going to go into the medical field, but got bored with chemistry.
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Billy McBoatface
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I had about the easiest time picking a career I've heard of.

In 4rd grade, my family got a computer (TRS-80 model I). I was bitten by the programming bug instantly. As soon as I learned how to write a few lines of code I knew that this was the work I wanted to do for the rest of my life. On to a computer engineering degree, followed by 22 years of professional computer programming, and I've never regretted it for a moment. Never dropped out of college, never seriously tried anything else, every step of the way was straightforward and not difficult for me to do.

Encouragement? I guess I'd say that sometimes you know exactly what you want to do. If you find that, just go for it. If you don't know exactly what you want to do…well, then I don't know, it must be harder then.
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pick?


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Blorb Plorbst
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wmshub wrote:

In 4rd grade, my family got a computer (TRS-80 model I). I was bitten by the programming bug instantly.


I got started on the TRS-80 as well. Went to college for Mechanical Engineering, decided that the ME course work was really going to cramp my college experience, switched to English Lit. I graduated and got a crappy entry level job at a large national bank, doing phone collections on credit cards. (Because that's what an English Degree qualifies you for)

But, my affinity for programming computers got me moved into other roles and I eventually ended up in IT, designing databases, doing data integration and writing reports. And I really love the work that I do.

So you could say that I just did some stuff that I enjoyed and things sort of worked themselves out.
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Froggy McFrogface
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My original plan was pursue a career in acting, but luckily, before it was too late, I realized what a disappointing life that would lead to.

So I dropped out, and reconsidered what my Life Goal was to be. I soon realized it was to build my own house.

I quickly ticked-off a number of careers that sounded dreary to me, and settled on becoming a woodworker.

That was about 30 years ago. I am now an accomplished architectural millwright, a successful actor, and live in a house that I (mostly) built myself.

I also play boardgames.
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fightcitymayor
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See, that's the tough thing: Most people don't have their life's work planned out by 4th grade. But there is this false expectation for people to be able to say, by age 18, what skillset they want to acquire to subsidize the rest of their natural lives with. That is a difficult thing. And what happens if you... GASP... change your mind?!?!

Personally, I went to college (again, because "you're supposed to do that") and bounced around a comp-sci degree until I figured out I liked computers but hated "programming." Thus another data monkey (writing SQL code, creating Access databases, and cooking up Excel files) was born.

I feel for people who feel they have to make that choice, but aren't ready. God knows I don't know how many years of doing data monkey shit I can deal with before I say "fuck this shit" and end up with a one-way-ticket to Cat Island to become an itinerant fisherman.


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Chris Berry
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I picked my career when I got to college and decided Engineering wasn't for me so I went into computer science for programming.

The better question is how do you want to spend your days in the future. If you don't pick, life will pick for you and it might not be what you want to do. College is an expensive time to change careers midstream.
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Mark Hamzy
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wmshub wrote:
In 4rd grade, my family got a computer (TRS-80 model I). I was bitten by the programming bug instantly. As soon as I learned how to write a few lines of code I knew that this was the work I wanted to do for the rest of my life. On to a computer engineering degree, followed by 22 years of professional computer programming, and I've never regretted it for a moment. Never dropped out of college, never seriously tried anything else, every step of the way was straightforward and not difficult for me to do.


That is exactly my story! Except my high school had TRS-80s and I had a Commodore 64 at home. I even remember buying a TRS-80 Model 100 and returning it (but not why I did).
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jeff
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fightcitymayor wrote:
..."fuck this shit" and end up with a one-way-ticket to Cat Island to become an itinerant fisherman.




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howl hollow howl
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My life story:

Went to college for math education. After the student teaching gig in my last semester, realized that avoiding conflict was too important to me.

After graduation, spent several years in retail. Best years of my life, but ended up way beyond broke.

My college roommate and best friend went on to get a PhD in CompSci, and had (has) a successful & lucrative career. I told myself that if that dumbass can make it, it should easy-going for me. Took classes, got into grad school, yadda yadda yadda, successful & lucrative career in software engineering.
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hamzy wrote:
wmshub wrote:
In 4rd grade, my family got a computer (TRS-80 model I). I was bitten by the programming bug instantly. As soon as I learned how to write a few lines of code I knew that this was the work I wanted to do for the rest of my life. On to a computer engineering degree, followed by 22 years of professional computer programming, and I've never regretted it for a moment. Never dropped out of college, never seriously tried anything else, every step of the way was straightforward and not difficult for me to do.


That is exactly my story! Except my high school had TRS-80s and I had a Commodore 64 at home. I even remember buying a TRS-80 Model 100 and returning it (but not why I did).


Mine too. TRS-80 Model I & III's in HS (2 floppy bays baby!) I was hooked immediately after writing some BASIC and even COBOL. I went straight from HS to Purdue getting a B.S. C.S. degree in 4 years. I'm coming up on 27 years as a developer and still find joy in it. I've been an independent developer finding my own gigs since '98 and I've never been without one so I guess I'm lucky.



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Rudy
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Halfway through my senior year of high school I found out that I had a chance to go to college, which came as a huge surprise. I had to rush to find a college and choose a major. Eventually I chose computers because I figured that that's where the money was. So I went and graduated from college majoring in computers. Ten years later I am working the same tech job I got after I graduated. I'd love to try something different but I don't have a clue what I'd like to do.
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wmshub wrote:
I had about the easiest time picking a career I've heard of.

In 4rd grade, my family got a computer (TRS-80 model I). I was bitten by the programming bug instantly. As soon as I learned how to write a few lines of code I knew that this was the work I wanted to do for the rest of my life. On to a computer engineering degree, followed by 22 years of professional computer programming, and I've never regretted it for a moment. Never dropped out of college, never seriously tried anything else, every step of the way was straightforward and not difficult for me to do.


While software development wasn't my first choice, like Mr. Shubert, it was my logical choice.

When I got out of the Navy I had a choice of going to college, or going to commercial dive school. While the money was good working on the oil rigs, I thought at the end of the day settling down an having a family would be hard, so I chose college

I went into college wanting to be an Architect. I got through a year at Taliesin and had a mentor tell me straight up to expect many years of apprenticeships, and then fight the multitude for the very few jobs out there.

I thought, screw that, and went to a regular university in electrical engineering. I hated fields and wave and circuit analysis, but loved logic computing and software(Like wmshub, I was raised in a household with a TRS-80 and a Commodore).

I ended up getting a degree in Computer Engineering with a minor in History.

I would have loved to get a full degree in History and take it further as I love history, but Software was booming at the time, and the money was too good.

So here I am, a software developer for the last 15 years.
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Ken
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I was full of righteousness and youthful indignation a young man. Thought I wanted to go in to politics and law and change the world.

Then I interned in our state legislature and worked a couple of campaigns.

That was enough for me. Two things one should never see being made: sausage and politics.

//shudder//

Been employed as an educator and now an administrator at a community college since then. Community colleges do amazing work and change lives daily.

But a completely accidental career choice.
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I figured that I wanted to do computer architectural design, back when CADD was barely an acronym, and computers were mainframes in heat and humidity controlled rooms the size of small apartments.
No school offered what I wanted, so I applied to two different schools-- one for computer science and one for Architectural design technology.

I was put on a waiting list for Architecture and got accepted into Computer Science, along with 200 other students (and I'm not exagerating here-- the core classes were broken up into three groups, and held in a "theater").
I had been at university for about a week when the other school phoned; I was in there now, if I wanted it.
Too late to pull out, I was a Compu-sci major.
I scraped through first year, and the university now winnowed the ranks down in 2nd year and made it REALLY hard. I flunked out.

A few years later, after working fast food places and goofing around, I reapplied for architecture and got into a 2-year certificate program.
Bill Gates had just incorporated Microsoft at this point. Everything that did know about computers, and programming (pretty much), was rendered unuseable.
I graduated in Architectural Technology, and got a job in an engineer's office doing the one thing that I swore I would never do, in school: Manual drafting (pencil drawings, by hand, mostly for precast concrete profiles).
I had a wife, and a kid on the way, though, and needed money, so onward I went.

I ended up in sales, of decorative architectural products, and own my own business now.
My best friends all went to university with me, and my second level of good friends came from the architecural course at the other school.
Despite flunking university, I learned things and made friends, so none of my education was a real waste.

Which is a very long way of making my point. Take whatever courses interest you, and you'll find a way to combine them, somehow.
Life works out that way, more often than not.
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I don't like dealing with people.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very good at it. But I prefer to work by myself, with no supervision, and no one to deal with. So I aimed for accounting.

Coming with that was knowledge of computers, problem-solving, etc. So my work bounces back and forth between accounting and management. Most of my jobs are in management and either handling the accounting, or overseeing it. I enjoy it. I like numbers, I like not having someone over my shoulder, I like calling the shots.

But ultimately, I just don't like dealing with people.
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hamzy wrote:
wmshub wrote:
In 4rd grade, my family got a computer (TRS-80 model I). I was bitten by the programming bug instantly. As soon as I learned how to write a few lines of code I knew that this was the work I wanted to do for the rest of my life. On to a computer engineering degree, followed by 22 years of professional computer programming, and I've never regretted it for a moment. Never dropped out of college, never seriously tried anything else, every step of the way was straightforward and not difficult for me to do.


That is exactly my story! Except my high school had TRS-80s and I had a Commodore 64 at home. I even remember buying a TRS-80 Model 100 and returning it (but not why I did).


I started with the TRS-80s in high school too. Had an Atari 800 at home. Tried college for a semester, dropped out and got a temp job at a warehouse. Took over running their computers and have been employed in the profession since then.
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Luke Morris
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I'm not in what I would consider my "career" yet.

Since leaving university I have....
Worked as a qualified youth sports coach.
Worked as a teaching assistant/dinner lady/1to1/activity leader in an infant school.
Trained as a hairdresser.
Worked in a video games store.
Worked as an English teacher in Japan.
Working as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant/PE Teacher/Learning Mentor in a primary school.


So there are definitely themes there.
Ideally by the time I retire I want to be running a small bar with only myself, my bank and my suppliers to answer to. That'll do me.
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BuckWilde wrote:
I am having a tough time right now. College for me currently is creating some of the roughest times that I have ever experienced. I have had to step back and figure out what I want out of my life in the next 5 years.

Sorry to get heavy for a second, but I was curious how others got to where they are today. Did you pick your dream job, but had to settle for something else? Did you drop out of college? Did you take career tests, and if so, which ones?

Any advice, suggestions, or encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


I was a veteran freshman.

Right out of high school I went to one quarter of college, then dropped out.

The following fall, I went to one quarter of classes, dropped out again.

Later that school year, I was working at a large cafeteria-style restaurant, living at home, basically screwing off. Then I realized there were people working at that cafeteria trying to support families on minimum wage jobs. I had to go back to school, and I did, the following fall.

Then after a year, I switched majors from engineering to political science. But I stuck with it, enjoyed polisci, and ended up falling into a pretty good career.

But there isn't one path that you have to follow. Stick with things you find meaningful. A little time off is not fatal, if it helps. And heck, if you find something meaningful to do that doesn't require college, that's okay too.

Good luck.
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Jeff
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I actually love telling this story - I tend to be long winded, but I'll try to keep it short!

When I was about 4 years old, we went to pick up my grandma at the airport. As I stood there with my face pressed up against the window of the terminal (in those days, of course, you didn't have a security checkpoint keeping you out!) the pilots came off the walkway and saw me. One of them came over and asked if I'd like to go look inside the cockpit. I got to go in and look at what looked like about a hundred square miles of switches and controls... it was AWESOME! (and one of the few memories I can recall from being that young - it's a little fuzzy, but I still remember looking out of the cockpit window...)

I was probably only there for a few minutes - and the pilot probably never knew, but that few minutes pretty much set my course; from that moment on I wanted to be a pilot. My friends changed their minds many times on career plans through school - I always wanted to be a pilot. matter of fact, my high school geometry teacher still owes me a steak dinner - he said he'd bet all of us a steak dinner at the best place in town that whatever we wanted to do at that moment would not actually be what we WOULD want to do (or be doing) by the time we graduated college.

Then I met with my guidance councilor right before high school graduation to talk about jobs - yep, I still wanna be a pilot! The councilor says, 'Well, OK, how are you going to pay for flight training?' I said "Oh, no, see, when you're a professional pilot, people pay YOU to fly, don't they??' This followed a pretty long conversation that led me towards the military to pursue my plan - I'd join the Air Force, because that must be the place for pilots, right?? (note to my fellow navy/army aviators: Yes, I know now - but hey, I was young then, give me a break!!)

So I ended up in Air Force ROTC, with a pilot training slot, and graduated in March of 95.

...20 years ago.

...which, ironically, brings up the next problem.

...after you've done what you always wanted to do.... what do you do next? I'm having a little trouble with Life After Air Force - but, hopefully with the changing environment, the airlines will pick me up, and someday that guy reading you the preflight announcement on your commercial flight may be me, still sitting up front looking out the window, and being shocked that someone would pay him to do this!
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Gerald Lynch
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I didn't pick my career, It picked me.

Growing up with no money, paying someone to fix your car was not an option so i learned how to do it myself.

Career-> Mechanic/Autobody/Collision

One of my hobbies was computers so i went to school for it while working at a collision shop. Found out i hated doing it for anything but a hobby. Wasted my time and money on schooling and went back to working on cars.

Recently i looked around in my field and found it difficult to find anyone alive over the age of 60 and most in their 50's have cancer or some sort of major respiratory problem.

So, long story short I just left and I have no idea whats next for me, other than a board game i started designing.



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Do what you love and you never have to work a day in your life.
tired saying, but true.

I went thru a LOT of jobs, but from my preschool days to now, all I wanted to do was art.
I remember telling my dad in gradeschool I wasn't going to college and I only sort of did. I went for art classes and found that in 93 all the art jobs were gutted because of clip art. So I got a graphic design degree and am still doing that. I am good at it and quick. I worked in the art when I could. The recession has now gutted the freelance work. So I am going back to art. It seems now people want real art because they can identify clip art a mile away. yay! I've recently started painting children's books and selling more sculpture kits. It's been a busy 30 years since hs graduation where I worked with the trs-80! (I apparently am the only one who thought, "Screw this, hundreds of lines of code to make a skull bounce across the screen?" LOL!

As it is, I make a lowly living, but am happy with it because I am doing what I love. I pay the bills and am not starving. Sure it's tight, but I get to draw and make toys for a living. What's not to like!


Now, if you're just looking for money...then I have no idea.
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Bartosz Trzaskowski

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I had ZERO CLUE what to do after getting Master's in Chemistry (Polish equivalent of BSc at that time).

So I applied to become a graduate student, which offered low stipend, but also a lot of freedom, exciting research and great opportunities.

I loved it.

I'm an assisant professor in chemistry now and enjoy every day of my life, working on the stuff I love.
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Daniel Schulz
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I used these criteria...

1. Does it pay enough to provide a decent living?
2. Can I do the job without getting bored/go insane? This is a guess, of course.
3. Do I have any natural abilities that align with the work?
4. Is there a demand for the job?
5. Is the degree difficult to get? This prevents the field from becoming over saturated. This is one of the few times in life you have complete control. Challenge yourself - aim for the top. If you are willing to put in the effort, difficult degrees are not difficult to get. Learn to recover from failure, and never give up.

My first choice was aeronautical engineering, then switched majors to computer programming after 18 months. Although I enjoyed programming, I thought it would become tedious as a career. After a year I switched to mechanical engineering, and focused on getting a job in product design. I've been doing design for 25 years, and don't regret it, although I hate not having a job outside. My first choice was marine biology, but there's no money in it, and it's very difficult to get work (I'm guessing). I think I would be happier with a job in science, but it's risky. Many, many people don't end up using their science degrees.

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