Life has a Funny Way of Choosing a Career for You.

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I'm Still Searching for My Career.Every winter, I find myself asking our juniors and seniors what their plans are after (if, in some cases) they graduate.

Generally, I get the same answers; college, work, the military, get married, or the #1 most popular response… I don’t know.

As adults, whether we are administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, or parents; we all want a specific answer and an even more detailed plan on how students will accomplish their goals and become productive members of society.

We don’t want to send them into the future and have them change their mind 27 times (that being said, you know a lot of people go to college for 7 years… they are called doctors- Google it).

We want young people to pick a path in life and then stick to it.

This is well-intentioned advice, but how often does anyone pick a career in high school, and then actually stay with it for 40 years?

When I was in high school, my plan was… well I didn’t actually have a plan.

Come to think about it, I still don’t (mental note… come up with a career goal so that I can stop flopping around through life like a newly caught bluegill thrown onto the shore).

By the way, I think that was my first fishing reference (you have to admit…it was just a matter of time).

One of my greatest achievements in life is that I have never really looked for a job. Opportunities just seem to find me. If you are thinking that makes me kind of pathetic and extremely lucky… I would have to agree.

It does bring some excitement to my life. My anticipation builds as I wait until my next job finds me. Keep your fingers crossed, I am hoping for greens-keeper, neurosurgeon, typewriter repairman, or Mike Rowe’s sidekick.

Regrettably, I spend more time reading about career advice, then actually doing anything about it (pick a career blog… there are about a 1,000 of them).

As educators, we seem to push kids towards getting a four year college education. I think maybe because that was our plan (those of you who actually had one).

This is good advice, but lots of people are successful without graduating from college.

It doesn’t concern me if my plumber, mechanic, or cable guy didn’t do that well in high school Chemistry or English 4 class, or have a college education.

They have skills that I don’t. Sadly, they also probably did better than me in Chemistry and English, but that is not my point.

I often wonder if it is unrealistic to expect a 17 year old to have a plan. Most of them think the future is what will happen at lunch or right after school.

To expect them to map out a long term career goal while still a teenager seems like wishful thinking on our part.

I meet people everyday who are great at their jobs, but I don’t think they are necessarily working in a career that they considered in high school.

They probably had some idea of what they wanted to do after graduating, but life has a way of pushing us towards what we are meant to do.

Everyone’s career choice is much more complicated than meeting with the guidance counselor 3rd period and choosing one out of a book.

Money, relationships, children, health, etc. often send people into a career that they hadn’t thought of at the time of their high school graduation.

I think we might be better off having a system that has kids work in different vocational areas during high school which would give them options and ideas.

Then we could send them all to college for a year or two without having them declare a major.

That should be enough time and life experience to allow them to make educated decisions on their career paths.

Now that I have this educational problem solved, I think I will search the internet for a new car.

I’ve heard that neurosurgeons make really good money.

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7 Responses to “Life has a Funny Way of Choosing a Career for You.”


  1. Jen
    on Feb 10th, 2008
    @ 3:53 pm

    Amen. Our district officials, in their infinite wisdom, now want to start more 6-12 schools, with “themes” so that kids can pick their careers right after 5th grade. Skip that whole adolescent figuring things out step that way, eh?
    6th graders will meet with guidance counselors and map out their route to college. ‘Cause you know there are a lot 6th graders that are thinking things like, gosh, I wish I could be a school superintendent, I hope they have a program for that.”
    But that’s all fine, because now instead of finding learning fun and interesting, kindergarteners take frequent tests and sit around ‘on-task’ for hours on end. Or at least are browbeaten by teachers told to make them do stuff like that.
    Oh dear, I’m sounding bitter, aren’t I? I’ve always been a fan of public education. A big fan. But dammit, if they’re going to convince my 5 yo that school’s awful (the older two didn’t figure that out until much, much later, having great early teachers) well, I don’t know how much of that we can take.


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  7. career consulting Atlanta
    on Mar 13th, 2012
    @ 12:31 am

    These insights are indeed true! There are times that things do not happen the way we planned them, especially in the case of career choices. Oftentimes, opportunities come our way unexpectedly. All we have to do is just embrace it and everything will fall into place.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.