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kukasö

Choosing career and your place in the world

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My sister is making a career self determination program, as she says - to save the world  :biggrin:

She doesn't like how it's done now (at least in Russia) and wants to help future generations :)

 

So she asked people in her facebook to write about their career choice and I thought it would be interesting to read the stories of people all around the world.

 

So if you'd like to share your story here are the questions:

 

How have you chosen your career? What helped you? What interfered with your choice? What could have been useful to make your choice easier? Have you chosen right from the beginning or changed everything in your life in future? Maybe you are stil looking for your place? 

 

I'll really appreciate if you share your story. If you'd like to share anonimously you can write me a PM.

 

Here is mine:

When I was at 9th grade my parents and me decided it'd be useful to have language education (in a way it is useful, I can talk to you :)) and sent me to the school where languages where learned more and the program in general was formed so that it was easier to enter language institute for high education, I have been choosing between studying for a lawyer or economist with the second education as interpreter. 

But after the 10th(there are 11 grades here) grade I suddenly decided that I want to be a designer  :ohmy:  

We were rebuilding our country house and I've drawn some sketches of how it should look like. Then I understood that it's much more interesting than laws or economy (now I can't even imagine me there). There was a problem because I had absolutely no art education and I needed to draw and paint to enter some art specialty.

Actually that's why I hadn't even thought about it before though now I realize that all my childhood I was drawing houses for some tiny toys, those were house plans actually.

 

I think my parents helped me a lot because they supported my sudden decision and I think they'd supported any other decision too. Most of all helped a coincidence, I think if there was no rebuilding I wouldn't have tried and went to study for a lawyer.

 

The problems were mostly because of lack of opportunity to try different things, my personal psychological problems, some stereotypes about artistic professions(that it's not serious).

 

I think that was a good choice but not the best. I'm still looking for my place in the world. I definitely don't want a career of interior designer. I realized recently that I like to organise things not necessarily in that profession but in general. And I hope to find out soon what I'd like to organise most of all  :happy:

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I started college at 17. My intention was to "change the world" by becoming a journalist. I also have a great interest in history but I really would have needed to obtain a PhD to teach at the university level and I didn't want to involve the time and expense in that. I have no interest in math or science.

 

I chose to take a child development class in my first semester. With that class, came a requirement for an internship. I chose a school for intellectually disabled children and was assigned to the youngest group.

 

I walked in the door for the very first time and I knew. I knew that journalism wasn't my purpose. I just didn't know the specifics. I thought about becoming a teacher but there was a glut of teachers at that time. I started a speech therapy major and discovered there was science in it. Other fields considered were juvenile justice, psychology, and social work.

 

I love social work, the people, their families, working with other agencies. Since then, my career has taken me from: an internship in a juvenile corrections center, work in special education classrooms, a little work with the geriatric population, a level 14 psychiatric residential treatment center for children, employment in an acute care psychiatric inpatient unit for children and adolescents (some adult unit work), a break in my social work career which included work in a state agency regarding unemployment, and currently in a social work position providing case management to persons with developmental disabilities, in particular, with dually diagnosed clients with both a developmental disability and mental health condition and with people who have autism.

 

Unless your choice of career is very restrictive, I've found that education can take one in many directions.

 

I'm writing this at work on my break. :)

Edited by Ryrin

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I share Ryrins thoughts about wanting to be a PhD in history, but not having the time nor willingness to invest it. I loved history in high school, and math and computer programing/games, so I was thinking either "history teacher" of "computer programmer" my junior and senior years in highschool.

 

When it came time to apply to colleges and choose my major, it was 2000 in Massachusetts - the height of the .com boom - and the radio waves were flooded with ads for companies "hiring qualified software engineers" and I never once heard an ad for history teacher.

 

So I chose computer science, and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Ten years into my career I don't doubt my choice for a second.

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I never had an image of what I wanted to do as a career - I didn't even know what a "career" was, except for its other meanings, until relatively recently. I was schooled mostly at home and then when I finally got out on my own at 17, for awhile it was just about surviving because I was incompetent about alot of social things and I virtually had no identity of my own, didn't have any self-esteem. Pretty much all I was sure on after what I came from was I wanted to be free and I didnt want to get attached to much of anyone I didnt already know because I think I was aware, though on a less-refined level, that attachment and involvement with most people usually comes with investment in all the pointless and misleading games they play which makes you lose sight of real wisdom and the people who would help lead you to it. I've had all kinds of jobs due in part to that - a lot of them have been manual labour in agriculture because they are generally seasonal and I don't hold them for long, while anything else I have picked up has never been more for several months or at the most a couple years at a time as well. I have been in agro and forestry as well and the people and connections I made there were pretty fortuitous in a number of ways. 

 

I have lasting investments in what others would call hobbies and causes though. I have always loved other species and I knew from early on I wanted to help them and help those people who I think deserve it. I get involved in projects to help build the community and I've been involved in a number of political movements. It seems like as I've gotten older, being useful to good causes and helping the worthy has increasingly become my focus, particularly since I never really have been able to develop myself personality-wise outside of being a vehicle for causes and ideals. I dedicated myself to my religion just before I got very sick,  and getting through that has in many ways focused me even more and now I feel like I should exist only to make the world better and I need to everything I can in my capacity towards that aim (with the exception of "settling in" in to one occupation for more than a few years, as I am of the philosophy right now that anything that demands that is corrupting and it will damage my ability to help. Probably has some relation to my aversion to being tied down). I've made a commitment to start earning my PhD in biology, specifically an interdisciplinary ecology programmme, beginning this fall because I know it will be a tool to enhance my ability to do this - will definitely be the largest investment of time I place in any one thing at a time, but I am willing to do it because it is obviously temporary and I will have to move on afterwards.

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I started out wanting to be a veterinarian but can't really handle blood and needles so that was out.  Then I wanted to breed Arabian horses but to make a small fortune in horse breeding you have to start with a large one (or at least more than I had access to) . . . so that was out.  My dad said I had to go to school for something so I chose an easy route and went for an Associate's degree in "Office Systems Technology" (formerly known as secretarial science). The skills I learned in that program got me a job at the place where I still work, albeit in the clerical field. It didn't take me long to realize I was in a dead-end job so I started taking night classes with the thought of getting an engineering degree.  An engineer I worked with tutored me in Algebra and gave me tasks outside my job description but which were beneficial in my then still-just-a-plan-not-sure-it'll-work career path.  I kept at it, got most of my "general ed" courses at the local community college then, once I had my 3 years in and thus a permanent position at my workplace, applied for and was accepted into the cooperative education program.  As a co-op student, I moved back and forth between home and Auburn University from Fall 1991 until December 1994 (as a co-op student, I went to school one quarter, worked a quarter, went to school a quarter . . . ).  Upon graduation, I came back home and was converted from co-op student to engineer.

 

The decision to become an an engineer was somewhat ambitious for me since math was not my strong suit in high school. As an adult, though, and with some time under my belt with what I saw as a pretty much dead-end job with no opportunities for advancement, I reached the point of "I'm going to get this if it kills me" and I busted my butt and did pretty well, even in math (algebra and trig and calculus) and physics. I even skipped a mandatory pre-calculus course (which should never have happened but my advisor missed the fact that I hadn't take it when I signed up for calculus) and managed to still pass with pretty good grades (although I did have occasion to regret the decision to skip the class; my grades and understanding could have been SO much better had I taken it). 

 

I've been working as an engineer since early 1995 in the in-service arena (vice research & development) and am now attending (via distance learning) the Naval Postgraduate School to obtain my Master's of Science in Systems Engineering. It's rewarding but can be frustrating, especially when we are trying to do so much with so little resources.  Most resources go into R&D so those of us in Operations and Sustainment have to make do with what little we get.  :rolleyes:

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Thanks, Ryrin!

How have you made your choices? For example, when you chose to become a journalist? Did you do something journalist like at school or you knew some journalists who inspired you?   Had you any support from your parents, teachers, friends? Or maybe you had to fight anybody's opinion? And when you changed to social work did you have any support or otherwise? We have a lot of influence usually, especially from parents and your story sounds like you were absolutely free - trying, choosing. Or was there interference?

 

Thanks, Tyzack!

Had you any support from your parents, teachers, friends? Or maybe you had to fight anybody's opinion? Or nobody interfered and you were free to choose whatever you like? Maybe oyur parents saw you as history teacher and were shocked? :) 

 

Thanks,Taltos!

I guess you had not much choice when you worked in agriculture and forestry. When you chose religion did you have any support from your family, community, teachers, friends or somebody advised you against it? Was it important, helped or it was absolutely your independent decision? And about PhD in biology had you any support, advises or you desided it on your own?

 

 

Thanks, Dar!

Why have you chosen ingineering? Were you interested in it or it was just a close opportunity? What is it for you to be an ingineer now? Is it just a job for money or it gives you something else?

What about your dream about horses? You have horses now, right? 

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When I was in school all the way up through high school there was one profession I knew I didn't want, and that was teaching. I didn't want it, because I saw how much they worked, and I also saw how awful certain students were towards them. I was unsure about what I wanted to do when I was finishing high school, so I decided to take a year at a folk high school and focus on music while also trying to work out what I wanted to become. 

 

I felt slightly out of place at the music folk high school I was at, given that a majority of the students were really serious about their music and wanted degrees in performance. I didn't feel good enough to ever pursue that, so I found my group at that school. A group of special ed people my own age, who were learning about and enjoying music at their own pace. They were the sweetest people I've ever met, and the teachers who taught them were all trained music therapists. That's what I wanted to do with my life.

 

However, in order to be accepted as a student of musical therapy I needed a relevant bachelor's degree, and since I wasn't going to do performance I decided to start on a degree in teaching, where music was one of the areas of focus. 

 

My first year we were in practice at an elementary school, and we were assigned to the 7th grade. In that classroom, with those kids, I felt like I had found my calling. I didn't want to pursue musical therapy anymore. I wanted to be a teacher. I still had years to go with my studies, but I knew and I got an identity. 

 

Now, after 8 years in middle school, I still feel like I made the right choice. I enjoy hanging out with these teenagers, and teaching them and guiding them through some of the most turbulent years of their lives. I still look at vacancy ads though, and keep looking for an even better match, but to be quite honest I'm not sure if that exists out there. Only time will tell I guess, but for now I'm happy where I'm at!

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Thanks, Dar!

Why have you chosen ingineering? Were you interested in it or it was just a close opportunity? What is it for you to be an ingineer now? Is it just a job for money or it gives you something else?

What about your dream about horses? You have horses now, right? 

 

I chose engineering because it was a close opportunity that I found interesting once I was working with engineers. I think the issue I had with math in grade and high school was lack of confidence.

 

As for my dreams about horses, I never gave that up. I do still have horses. I used to show horses and I loved it; however, once I had kids, time and money for showing was just not available any more.  So while I have horses, my dreams have changed a bit. My drive to show and succeed in the show ring has quieted and now I am content to hang out with them at home as much as I can (which isn't much lately, now that I'm in grad school).

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Thanks,Taltos!

I guess you had not much choice when you worked in agriculture and forestry. When you chose religion did you have any support from your family, community, teachers, friends or somebody advised you against it? Was it important, helped or it was absolutely your independent decision? And about PhD in biology had you any support, advises or you desided it on your own?

My family is pretty much all the same religion as I am and the ones who cared were all in support of it except for one of my brothers. The only suggestion I ever got from any of them when they cared to give me advice on what I should do with my life was I should be a priest, so it was something that was always hanging over my head and I sometimes felt like I was disappointing others by not doing what they thought was best. My brother was against it because he wanted me to go to school and he thought I wouldn't have time to do both, and at first I didn't between the first few years and being sick, but I have alot more freedom now and I am doing better healthwise so I think I will be able to do it if I really work for it. At any rate, part of it was peer pressure then but I think also on another level I felt like I wasn't really doing as much as I could with myself, whether in self-improvement or helping others, and that it would be a step to improving that. I think it definitely has been - I think I am wiser and I have certainly gotten more confident, I don't think I would have ever tried to go for a PhD if I hadn't started this first and had a mentor who has supported me and helped me find the way for me to build up my own self-esteem.

 

As far as going for post-graduate study, my brother, as mentioned, was one of the only people who encouraged me to do it. He is one of the first in my family to go to college (and definitely the first in my immediate family) and he thinks very highly of it. Some of the people I met and worked with in forestry years ago also encouraged me; I had an advisor in something like an internship, who I also used as a recommendation in my applications, who said, when I told him I didn't have any plans to get an advanced degree, that I definitely needed to go to post-graduate school, I belonged there. I have a lot of fond memories of him, lol I remember when I sort of fainted because we were fogging an area and the smoke got to me, he immediately rushed over and helped me out of the area until I recovered. There has been a lot of instances where I have been belittled by others or barred from certain considerations in the scientific community simply because I didn't have an advanced degree, and I wanted my work to be taken seriously and reach a wider audience, so that was what really drove me to finally apply. The rest of my family didn't care and they were surprised when I said I had been accepted to one of the places I applied, but they weren't adverse to it - a lot of them have been very proud, particularly since I am going to be the first in my family who gets a PhD if I stick with it (my brother is going to get an MD).

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Thanks, Sooh! My sister is a teacher too so she loves stories about teachers most  :happy:

 

Thanks, Dar and Tal for explanations! 

 

My sister says that you all write such great stories with explanations and all  :happy:

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Thanks, Tyzack!

Had you any support from your parents, teachers, friends? Or maybe you had to fight anybody's opinion? Or nobody interfered and you were free to choose whatever you like? Maybe oyur parents saw you as history teacher and were shocked? :) 

 

Well, I wasn't the best student all around, so it was hard for me to get into "Engineering schools" which generally required higher grades than I did, so they saw the CompSci/History as "What he wants to do"/"What he can do", I think.

 

My teachers doubted me, and my history teacher actively encouraged me to go into education, but the choice was mine. Also, my friends were all going in for comp sci as well, though at different schools, so there was a social element as well.

 

However, I got to college, and made dean's list 3 out of 4 years, so, it was really all about motivation.

 

Also, my father in an engineer (EE), so he was warm towards that career path.

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I knew that I wanted to be a doctor from a young age, I don't recall exactly when, maybe 8 or 10. Both of my parents are doctors, both with backgrounds in surgery; one a neurosurgeon, the other a gynaecological surgeon. When you grow up in such an environment, hearing their stories from work everyday and the things they did, you can't help but be influenced and interested, even if only by osmosis.

My parents encouraged me to strive for excellence and achievement in all aspects of my life, and were (and still are) always there to give the support I needed when the going got tough. I enjoyed all of my subjects at school, but always had a particular affinity for science. Once I knew I wanted to go into medicine, I gave it my all, and with the support of many people, got into medical school. 

What particularly helped me in making my choice was having grown up appreciating the realities of what the job actually entails. People often go into medical school doe-eyed and naive, imagining their life will pan-out like a medical drama, a world in which CPR has a 100% success rate and you almost always win. And this is unavoidable: until you're doing the job yourself, until you break the cancer diagnosis, until your pager goes off in the middle of the night because your patient is arresting, until you're fighting the system and the admin and the ignorance you encounter on a daily basis, you have no idea what it is to be a doctor. But I was perhaps a little more prepared, in that I got small insights from my parents who were windows into that world for me. They would hide it, no parent wants to burden their child, but I'd notice that they were often coming in late and leaving early, and when they had experienced a rough day and didn't want to talk about it. 

Medicine is so broad a field, and the education you get can pull you in so many different ways. The childhood psychiatrist, the transplantation cardiothoracic surgeon, the radiologist examining CT scans - they all learned the same fundamentals, starting in the same place. This breadth was also a major attracting factor - its a broad degree you can do a lot with. And that's often the real decision you face - at med school, it seems that the majority of people are excited about a different speciality every week, and soon after, you're pushed to make a decision as to which way you want to go. For some its easy, for others it isn't!

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Medicine is so broad a field, and the education you get can pull you in so many different ways. The childhood psychiatrist, the transplantation cardiothoracic surgeon, the radiologist examining CT scans - they all learned the same fundamentals, starting in the same place. This breadth was also a major attracting factor - its a broad degree you can do a lot with. And that's often the real decision you face - at med school, it seems that the majority of people are excited about a different speciality every week, and soon after, you're pushed to make a decision as to which way you want to go. For some its easy, for others it isn't!

 

Which way did you go?

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Medicine is so broad a field, and the education you get can pull you in so many different ways. The childhood psychiatrist, the transplantation cardiothoracic surgeon, the radiologist examining CT scans - they all learned the same fundamentals, starting in the same place. This breadth was also a major attracting factor - its a broad degree you can do a lot with. And that's often the real decision you face - at med school, it seems that the majority of people are excited about a different speciality every week, and soon after, you're pushed to make a decision as to which way you want to go. For some its easy, for others it isn't!

 

Which way did you go?

 

 

 

I wanted to ask the same but thought if he hadn't written he doesn't want to tell  :smile:

 

Hey Tyzack and Kukaso - feel free to ask away. I'm applying for training programs in cardiothoracic surgery later on this year. Want it very much!

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