Jane just wrote How Did You Find Your Career Path? and, in the article, she mentioned a lot of people that didn’t find their career, but instead had their career “find them.” There was the writing major friend of hers who ended up working in perfume, and the film school friend who went into advertising… And then she mentioned how people’s careers usually switch approximately 7 times in their life!
I have a friend who was a drama major who got a major role in a film that turned him off from acting. He went into teaching, loves it, and never looked back. My brother, another actor, was always big into video games and tech. He got a job during college in a video game store. He’s now a brilliant manager at that store and loves his job.
I’m finding lately that sometimes what you think you want to do isn’t actually what you want to do at all. It’s almost hard to admit here because it feels like giving up something…a part of who you are. In a post I wrote awhile ago, Help! I’m 30 and Never Followed My Childhood Dream, I remembered an episode of How I Met Your Mother. In that episode, the gang all realized that there were dream career paths from their childhood that they never followed but always held secret hopes that they one day would. Lily wanted to be a painter and someone wanted to be a rockstar…I can’t remember who. At the end of the episode they realize that they want to let those dreams go because they enjoy the paths they’re currently on even more.
It’s a hard lesson, and not always the case. Childhood career dreams sometimes become reality. Or they sometimes influence what you end up doing (all that drama school helps me see tradeshows as a kind of theater that I need to organize, occasionally direct, and always play my part in, haha). Also, childhood career dreams come in and out, sometimes reemerging as a fresh passion (Janna talks about going after her dancing and acting dreams again after stopping for awhile in Portrait of a Thirtysometing- Janna Davis.)
More than ever, I think that nowadays your career is something to create and evolve with…it isn’t a straight line but- to be corny- kind of a large garden, with seasons and fresh starts and different climates. Sometimes there’s sun and sometimes there’s snow. The soil remains the same (you), but can feel dried up or moistened (those times you realized your career path wasn’t working for you vs those moments of inspiration).
I’ve even heard before from friends that the best moments of their lives were after they got fired from their jobs. They were absolutely forced to start fresh in new jobs and situations they never would have turned to before.
That’s a scary situation and I would never wish for it. I love my job and my unforeseen career path, even though it was never my childhood dream. But I feel more and more that career paths can widen and change and twist into something far different, and maybe a lot better, than your childhood self ever could have dreamed up.