What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This question has been haunting me for quite some time. I’ve always been surefooted and known what I wanted. In high school I wanted to go to college and study art history. Then I wanted to get my masters in architecture and become an architect. My plan was as simple as that.

I graduated college with a degree in art history and decided that I wanted to work in a museum. I started applying, but soon found I needed office experience. I took a temp position working in an office and was shocked to find out that I was actually pretty good at my job. I was promoted (twice) and really enjoyed managing people to help them meet their full potential and gain new skills.

I enjoyed working in management so much that I even thought about going back to school to get my MBA. I kept telling myself that it might not be a job where I get to be creative, and I might not love working in the mortgage industry, but I like the people and I liked being a manager. I could totally do this for the next 40 years. Right?

Wrong. Not long after my last promotion I started to get the itch to be creative. I did all sorts of things, redesigned my bedroom, worked on logos for my dad’s company, brochures, and I even tried to teach myself Adobe Flash (still working on that…) I realized that if I wanted to change my career now was the time. I’ve got no kids, no mortgage, hell, I didn’t even have a lease on my apartment.

I decided to leave my job and pursue a different career. I keep reading that my generation changes careers all the time so I thought this would be easy.

Turns out it’s not as easy as I thought it would be to find “Your Dream Career”.  A month ago I thought maybe I should become a teacher, for a while I was sure I’d go back to school for architecture. Currently I’m enjoying graphic design, but I’d also love to get into interior design. I also thought HR or becoming a career counselor would be fun…

See where I’m going with this?

It’s tough to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, and although it’s easy to get pigeon holed into a position that’s not right for you the reality is that people aren’t expected to stay at the same company their entire professional lives, let alone stay in the same career.

In the meantime I’ll give graphic design a shot, and if that doesn’t work out I’ll try something else. Either way I figure as long as I’m learning new skills, networking and striving for happiness in my career I’ll end up on my feet and in a career that fits my personality and makes me happy.

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3 thoughts on “What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?”

  1. I have thought a lot over the years about whether you find passion or make passion…do you need to find the perfect career or does something become the perfect career once you commit to it and develop your competence?

    The conclusion I have come to is that we tend to think about this the wrong the way. We think about passion in terms of careers, titles, companies, professions. Instead we should be thinking about what we have a passion for doing.

    The logic typically goes “I like writing so I will try to find a job as a journalist.” But, getting a job at a journalistic institution probably means you will do lots of administration as you “pay your dues” before you ever get to write. Alternatively, you can just start writing (as you are doing) and develop that skill from day one.

    The people who are most successful are the ones who just do what they are meant to do. If you like to write then just keep writing and find ways to allow yourself write more, get more exposure, etc. You don’t need the job title to get started. If you like to teach then find someone to start tutoring or mentoring. If you are putting yourself out there the opportunities will find you before you know it.

    1. Gregory- thanks so much for the comment! I apologize for my delay in getting it on the blog! I completely agree- if you have a passion for something just do it, regardless of getting paid. There’s always jobs at Target or at the mall that can tide you over until you get that offer from “The New York Times” and in the meantime just write to your little hearts content.

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