What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

So you’re 16 and how many times have you been asked, “What do you want to be?” I asked a 10-year-old girl if anyone has asked her this question and she said, yes, many times. Really?!? How in the world would you know at age 10, 15, 20 or even 30 (And by the way, ask 40 or 50 year olds if they know what they want to be when they grow up!). Life is about discovery and college is the beginning of that journey. Ask anybody under the age of 25, and you’ll hear “what, spend 40 years at the same job? You’re kidding me, right?” And yes, we are kidding you.

So, no wonder that the thought of “choosing a career” (AKA choosing a major) has the young adult market tuning out, and setting the volume higher on their earphones. And let’s just note, the average person will have over seven careers in a lifetime! But, listen up, a career/careers are something you attain by discovering and trying many things. Let’s repeat that: a career/careers are something you attain by discovering and trying many things. And change as you grow.

Some kids who, when they are five, say they want to be a doctor or a vet, and then follow that dream to opening up their own practice. And to them, we say, “congratulations.” Most of those same kids, despite what they thought at the age of five, grow up into high school students, soon to be college freshman, and have no clue what they want to major in, because they have this innate fear that they have to choose one major that will be their future career for life. For the rest of all time. NOT TRUE!

Say you take up marketing and learn all there is about advertising, creating copy, learning about the history of media, making up your own ad campaigns. Think of all the talents you’ve acquired. Writing, learning about media, being able to communicate, having an eye for style, taking on a leadership role with the groups you work with.

A friend’s niece spent a fortune at a fashion school in NYC, learning about design, with a desire to work as a fashion buyer. She took all the required courses, and despite all her training in design found that as the years passed, she found another interest she liked better: learning about people, interviewing them about their skills. Eventually, she began working at a high-end fashion company in their HR department. She took the field she was just interested in, and along the way, combined that interest with her innate talent into a successful starting position.

All you need to know is that you need to discover, and not just in college but throughout your life. College gets you your first job out and then your life leads you. I can assure you your path will not be a straight line but a road filled with curves and surprises at every turn.