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Author Topic:   How did you discover what to do with your life?
taylor_31
Member (Idle past 4032 days)
Posts: 86
From: Oklahoma!
Joined: 05-14-2007


Message 1 of 32 (413687)
07-31-2007 10:42 PM


With college looming, I'm starting to grow worried on what to do for a living. It's not that I don't want to learn: On the contrary, I have lots of different subjects I'm interested in, from history to English to music. The problem is that I want to pick what's right - really right - for me in the long term. I don't want to look back one day and regret the decision that I made.

So how did you discover what to do for a living? A lot of people say that they "just knew" what their careers would be; others have regrets because they didn't take a risk and study to be a musician or a writer. Yet others search for years in many subjects before they finally realize what they want to do. How about you? Any recollections or advice on picking a career?

Thanks for any input :)


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AdminAsgara
Administrator (Idle past 411 days)
Posts: 2073
From: The Universe
Joined: 10-11-2003


Message 2 of 32 (413689)
07-31-2007 11:10 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
jar
Member
Posts: 30935
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 3 of 32 (413695)
07-31-2007 11:26 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
07-31-2007 10:42 PM


Still searching
Well, I am still discovering what to do with my life. Just a couple years ago I decided to try something totally new. Hopefully, you will have not just one, but many, and may you enjoy each one of them.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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ikabod
Member (Idle past 2602 days)
Posts: 365
From: UK
Joined: 03-13-2006


Message 4 of 32 (413728)
08-01-2007 3:07 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
07-31-2007 10:42 PM


I found the best thing to do for a living is live it ..yes trite i know .... what ever it is .. working takes up a major chunk of life ..i found after going to collage and Uni and trying a number of jobs , some totally unconected to my degree , that for me , the actual job mattered little .. ok its not boringly repetative and im not in nasty conditions ..but beyond that the content is less important than being able to finish work at the end of the day in a good mood , ready to get on with life , doing my stuff , seeing my friends , having time to indulge my real passions ...
i did have to accept that there is no great carrer ladder for me to climb and ill never earn a large wage .. but unlike many friends i m not stressed out at the end of the day ....and i still have the funds to live the way i want ..
However it does take effort and the willingness to look for a job you can live with , i spent 2 years changing till i got lucky ....

btw you are never to late to "take the risk" ...)..
remember you work to live , not live to work ...


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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4018 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 5 of 32 (413745)
08-01-2007 5:56 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
07-31-2007 10:42 PM


taylor_31 writes:

The problem is that I want to pick what's right - really right - for me in the long term.

'Tis not possible. You'll change your mind one day.

Anyway, I can recall my choice. I am a transhumanist - human enhancement has always interested me, and it became a goal of mine to see it come into being. Thus, I wanted to learn how to make humans better. I chose to study neuroscience because nerves control everything, and so any sort of prosthetic device will require connection to the nerves to be properly controlled.

The more I learn about what is possible, the more I want to stay in the field. Just imagine a future where you can learn a language by downloading it into your head; where you can communicate to another person by thoughts or where you could lose an arm, leg or organ and get a seamless replacement that could even outperform your old one.

However, part of my wishes I did zoology, just because it really interests me. But the other part knows that I will be bored of it eventually unless big things are happening in that field, so neuroscience is a better choice.

I could have done genetics too, as genetic engineering is another interesting area of research, but I think it may be too restricted for human use, too unpredictable, and ultimately too weak in comparison to cybernetic enhancements. Oh, and biomedical engineering would be interesting too, but ultimately I thought it to straightforward in comparison to the neurology side.


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macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2036 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 6 of 32 (413786)
08-01-2007 11:52 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
07-31-2007 10:42 PM


i'm still aiming and we'll see if i get there...

i knew from age four that i was going to be a researcher, an academic, a professor. i had a different field in mind then, sure, but the aim was the same. i picked my field by taking classes based on what i thought would be interesting rather than what my major was. i'd recommend the same. but know this. i was lucky and my "what i want to take" added up to a degree. if you spend four years aimlessly taking classes, you may not be so lucky. the last semester of my senior year i took a class on hitler and nazi germany. between that semester and my first semester of graduate school, i decided i wanted to work in genocide. now after two more years in it and a wonderful conference in sarajevo a few weeks ago, i know i've picked correctly. in my path lie hopefully a stats class this spring so i know what i'm doing, another master's, a doctorate, and hopefully a job somewhere. if at some point i end up working for an ngo or something else, i'd love the adventure.

someone else suggested that you work to live, not the other way around. i think that depends on what interests you. i live for research. but never be tied to any one thing. allow adventure to happen to you and always be willing to change.


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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2020 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 7 of 32 (413803)
08-01-2007 1:13 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
07-31-2007 10:42 PM


Trial and Error
I wanted to be a musician because music was what I enjoyed to do the most. When I tried to do it professionally though, it became a job and I lost all the reasons for why I enjoyed it in the first place.

Then I switched to something that I also enjoyed but was also something I felt I could succeed in which was computers.

That being said, after completing my degree I short of understood why the university made me take all those core classes that I hate. Even though most of them sucked I had a few that introduced me to other fields that COULD have been an alternative for me.

Looking back, I really wish I had taken geology sooner in my education so that I could have done more, perhaps minor in it. My only regret I think is that I waited until the end to take many of my "extraneous" courses.

This is also in contrast to other fields that I dabbled in. I generally liked history before college but like music, I found it to be more of a chore in many circumstances to study it in strict academia. Even though I liked geology very much, I absolutly hated physics and chemistry which I had tried prior because I thought they would be more "usefull".

My advice would be to try a bit of everything at first. Pick a hard science (physics,chem,bio,geo,astro,etc). Pick a soft science (socio,psych,history,etc). Pick an art. Pick a pre-engineering (math,computers). Make a list of things that you are sort of interested and dive right in. Don't be afraid to change as you go.

Also, if you are in no hurry and have the resources, take your time. Nobody says you have to finish college in 4-5 years. Don't expect to be "done" either if you really do enjoy the process of discovering what you like best.


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
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Stile
Member
Posts: 3437
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 5.2


Message 8 of 32 (413808)
08-01-2007 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
07-31-2007 10:42 PM


The important thing is you
taylor_31 writes:

Any recollections or advice on picking a career?

The best advice here already that I'd agree with is this:

brennakimi writes:

i think that depends on what interests you.

I think this should be stressed. I'd even say it soley depends on what interests you.

Personally, I'm a lot like ikabod. My work, or my career, is simply "what I do during the day to make money" in order for me to take part in the non-money-making pastimes I love to do at night or on weekends. My job's purpose is to give me the money I need to have a place to stay, eat food, and do what I like to do (hang out with friends, enjoy a few recrational sports, etc...).

But, this only works for me. I personally don't care too much about having lots of money. I don't care too much about my job, or work. I don't care too much about my career. I don't want to be focused on my career, so that I can clearly focus on my personal life (family, friends... whatever).

If you do care about those things, and tried my approach, you'd become quickly dissatisfied.

So, my advice is to figure out what's important to you:

Do you want to be focused on making a lot of money?
Do you want to be focused on your career?
Do you want to be focused on your family?
Do you want to be focused on travelling?
Do you want to be focused on learning?

Figure out what you want, and gear your lifestyle choices along those lines.

It would be nice to be able to have all of these things, but some are just impossible.

For instance, it is impossible to be extremely focused on your career/job, and also be extremely focused on your family. If you're focused on your job you'll work lots of overtime, you'll want to bring your job home and you won't mind travelling for extended periods of time for the sake of the job. And if you're focused on your family, you'll never work overtime, never work weekends, and never travel for the job in order to spend as much time with the family as possible.

So, it all depends on what you find to be important. And only you can answer that question.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Sour
Member (Idle past 356 days)
Posts: 63
From: I don't know but when I find out there will be trouble. (Portsmouth UK)
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 9 of 32 (413819)
08-01-2007 2:11 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
07-31-2007 10:42 PM


People change, and situations change. Changing situations change people. Long term plans tend to be brittle unless you are either very lucky in your initial choice, very very determined, or flexible enough to go with the flow and adapt.

It may be cheesy, but I think Baz Luhrmann summed it up well :

quote:
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t.

I also like what he says about advice :

quote:
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than
it’s worth.

So you should probably ignore me, but in the same breath I'd like to contradict myself and concur with those who've said try a bit of as many things as you can... There's plenty of time.


This message is a reply to:
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Phat
Member
Posts: 12254
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 10 of 32 (413832)
08-01-2007 2:35 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Stile
08-01-2007 1:29 PM


Re: The important thing is you
Stile writes:

My work, or my career, is simply "what I do during the day to make money" in order for me to take part in the non-money-making pastimes I love to do at night or on weekends.

I agree with Stile. I work at a grocery store making enough money to pay the bills and a wee bit more, but my passion is the volunteering work that I freely do with the State of Colorado and the incarcerated youth.

I love those kids, and there was a time that I thought of a career in Human Services, but when I realized that a volunteer actually has more allowable latitude to speak whatever they decide to speak into the kids lives than does a salaried employee, I stayed with the volunteering. I can talk with them about more things than even Social Services can do. (and no...I don't always insist that they get to know Jesus, but it comes up when they bring it up! :) )

My advice, Taylor, is nothing more than what has been said. Don't worry so much about finding the perfect job or career at such a young age. You have time to explore your options!

All I know is that if I had it all to do over again,i would have taken 6 years to finish college and done so at a less stressful pace...taking perhaps 3 classes a trimester rather than 5.


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macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2036 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 11 of 32 (413833)
08-01-2007 2:40 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Stile
08-01-2007 1:29 PM


Re: The important thing is you
For instance, it is impossible to be extremely focused on your career/job, and also be extremely focused on your family.

nonsense.
that's one of the magical things about the career i've chosen. in academia, it's very easy to incorporate your family into your work life. you keep limited office hours, how much "overtime" you do depends on how intensive your research is and what you're studying, classes are fairly simple to teach and t.a.s can do the grading, research trips and conferences can easily become family vacations, departments can become extended families, department and campus parties are wonderful for bringing your family to, the school year includes several extended holidays... it goes on and on. further, there's nothing to keep my family out of my office daily. also, the way publication works, there are some fairly long periods where you may be doing nothing on a given project except waiting for journal acceptance or editor feedback. it's a great time to start a new project, or just take the extra time for your family. it's a very flexible way of life, and one i greatly look forward to... just as soon as it stops costing me money.


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molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 750 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 12 of 32 (413834)
08-01-2007 2:44 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Sour
08-01-2007 2:11 PM


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t.

As a 41 y.o. who spent 15 years in NYC as an artist and who is currently pursuing a PhD in Biochemistry, I gotta agree with ole Baz.


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6531
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 13 of 32 (413839)
08-01-2007 3:05 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
07-31-2007 10:42 PM


Heh. I double majored in physics and math in college because that was what interested me. I really didn't give a career much thought -- just majored in what I felt was interesting.

Then I did some graduate work in physics. That's when I decided that I really didn't have the aptitude for doing science as a career.

A stint in the Peace Corps made me realize that I wanted to be a teacher, and I decided that I wanted to be a high school math teacher. I went back to graduate school to bone up my math credentials.

While there, I considered a career in mathematical research, but decided it really wasn't for me, so I decided to become a college math teacher instead.

Right now I pretty much have the job I feel is right for me.

So, in a nutshell, this is what I did. I studied what I was interested in while in college. I didn't shut out any possibilies, and I changed my path a couple of times as I went through life.

Might not work for other people -- I only started my current career a few years ago at the age of 41. If you're not worried about getting a late start in life, then don't worry about taking a few different paths and making a few major changes along the way.


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Legend
Member (Idle past 3115 days)
Posts: 1226
From: Wales, UK
Joined: 05-07-2004


Message 14 of 32 (413860)
08-01-2007 4:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
07-31-2007 10:42 PM


quote:
So how did you discover what to do for a living?

Jesus came to me in a dream on the road to Cirencester. He asked me to go and spread his message to the world. I said "what about the other twelve, I thought you asked them the same thing too, did you forget?" So he got mad and turned me into a lobster. And that's what I've been ever since.

No, seriously now, don't fret over it. At your age you have neither the experience, nor the self-awareness to make such decisions - god knows I hadn't! Have a stab at the things you enjoy doing and if you find something you're good at , hey presto! decision made. If it doesn't work out then try then next thing on the list.

If you find something you're both good at and enjoy doing then you'll know you made the right decision. If you don't, at least you'll know you tried.


"In life, you have to face that some days you'll be the bug and some days you'll be the windscreen."
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taylor_31
Member (Idle past 4032 days)
Posts: 86
From: Oklahoma!
Joined: 05-14-2007


Message 15 of 32 (413872)
08-01-2007 5:15 PM


Doddy writes:

Just imagine a future where you can learn a language by downloading it into your head

That's really interesting; it sounds like The Matrix. I wonder if that technology would mean the end of school?

brennakimi writes:

between that semester and my first semester of graduate school, i decided i wanted to work in genocide

That sounds very interesting, and I'm glad that you found what you wanted to do. Do you research genocide, like a history professor? Or do you help countries to recover from genocide?

Jazzns writes:

I wanted to be a musician because music was what I enjoyed to do the most. When I tried to do it professionally though, it became a job and I lost all the reasons for why I enjoyed it in the first place.

This was similar to my experience: After twelve years of intense piano studies, including a long stint with a university professor, I recently decided that I didn't want to go into music. Needless to say, my mom was furious. ;) Now that I've stopped officially preparing for a professional music career, I can play whatever I want to play; I've found that that is far more musically rewarding.

I think that everybody has various subjects that they're interested in, but most subjects are pretty superficial; they eventually grow boring over time. Those select few subjects that don't become boring, even after years of work, are the best areas around which to build a career. My goal, then, is to weed out those subjects that are superficial, and to focus on the subjects that can last a lifetime.

Stile writes:

Figure out what you want, and gear your lifestyle choices along those lines

Yeah, I'll try. It can't be that hard; it seems that everybody pays the bills somehow. For me personally, I'd like to accomplish two things: to pick something I love to do, and to be very good at what I do. If I can manage that, I'll be happy with life.


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