Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Do you ever look back and wonder what you could have done differently in regards to your career? Are you where you thought you would be?

I think often about some of the choices I made, and if I had to do it all over again, I would change a lot in terms of my career path. Don’t get me wrong…I love what I do, I’m paid well, and I have a great work family. But I often think about where I would be had I gone straight to college after high school to pursue my dream.

My dream was to become a forensic scientist. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to find out why and how people died and to help piece together murder mystery puzzles. Weird I know. But I know I would have been darn good at it.

Before I decided I wanted to be a scientist, which clearly never happened, I had wanted to be the next Barbara Walters. I loved the news. I loved reporting my findings on just about anything. I loved thinking I could make a difference. I even took a class in school called Television Production. I think that’s when I decided I didn’t want to be on TV, I’d rather be a scientist.

Last night as I’m sitting there on FB I’m scrolling through some photos of my high school friends from my hometown of Capitan, New Mexico. There were roughly 30 of us in our grade (I left the summer of my junior year). One is now an accomplished surgeon in San Fransisco. One is a scientist for NASA. One is the vice president of overseas call centers. Several are teachers. One is a well established lawyer in Arizona. One took over his father’s construction company. One was a professional bull rider. One is a state park ranger. Basically most everyone has some amazing career to brag about. Me? I’m just an IT Specialist working for a large insurance company (who by the way has the stupidest commercial on TV right now).

As LW would say, don’t get it twisted…..I’m blessed to have a job. And I’d like to think I’m successful. I just feel I could have done more with my life had I choosen a career I was in love with. Obviously I’m good at what I do because I have been working with the PeopleSoft system for 15 years now but that will never replace how badly I once had wanted to be a scientist.

Some say I should go back to school. Honestly, by the time I’d finish I’d be in my 40’s and LW will be retired (he’s 8 years older) so I’ll be wanting to slowly get to retirement myself, because according to LW, we ARE retiring at 55. God I love that man.

So tell me…are you pursing the career you had always dreamed of? Or did you settle like I did.

Do tell…..


Allison said...

It's a great question...

I always wanted to be a pediatrician. When I started school, I had a Pre-Med focus, but soon lost interest in it. I finished my Chemical Engineering degree, but didn't use it a day in my life because by the time I reached my 4th year, I realized I didn't really have much interest in it. I still tried to get a job in the industry after I graduated, but there were very few jobs to be had at that point, especially in Ohio for someone with mediocre grades. I feel blessed to have found the organization I work for now. My start here was pretty menial, but I've worked my way up by impressing people with my knowledge and am now in a job that I enjoy, for the most part.

The job of an IT person is a really underappreciated one. Most people don't realize that they couldn't ever do their jobs without us. I think that's why it feels so unglamorous (is that a word?). But I think many people would be impressed with the work you do if they just understood it--I know I am. It's just when you say IT, I think a lot of people picture that obnoxious guy from SNL (do you remember that sketch???) and don't really *get* what all the things IT people do and how it impacts their lives.

I hope you can find something to feel fulfilled, whether that's a bit different job, or just enjoying the things outside your job. Maybe you could find somewhere to volunteer to get out that scientific urge. :)

Julie said...

For the longest time I wanted to be a police officer/EMT. By the time I was in my early 20's I realized that it was probably too dangerous a profession for me and I didn't have the toughness it would require. So, I moved on to teaching.

However, I also always thought going into forensic anthropology would be amazing. Unfortunately, I pansied out after looking at the classes I'd have to take. Sometimes I wish I would've just grabbed the bull by the horns and gone for it!

I do wonder if I've made the right choices. Like you, I'm happy with my job and enjoy the people I work with...but would I have been happier with another decision? I guess we'll never know. :)

LV said...

No, being a farm girl I was happy to succeed at anything. You are blessed and have a lot to be thankful for just as you are. Perhaps all your big time job friends are more miserable than you. You had choices and you made what you thought was the right one for you. You are doing okay, sit back, relax and enjoy your life.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I understand what you're saying but the career doesn't make who you are, who you are is defined by the love in your life. In your case, you have a beautiful family.

I've seen so many people that are in an accomplished career but feel so empty.

It's not to say that I didn't want to be a just didn't happen and I accept that that was not my path to take.

You never know what career path may jump out at you.

Sue said...

I think about this often. I was offered a mgmt position in IT right out of high school, and didn't take it. That is the first crossroads I wonder about. There have been many others along the way. Had I taken this, had I stayed here... I worked for two weeks at IMG, a company that manages sports stars. I always wonder what might have happened with that job had I stayed.

Most people are in our shoes Danica, we just go to a regular old job. Sure, there are people that have great careers, do really important things, but the majority of us just work a job and I don't see anything wrong with that as long as it allows you to live the life you want to live. For me, I get to leave my job behind every day at 4pm. I could probably have a more exciting or important career, but would that allow me to have the other things in my life? There are always trade offs.

ModernMom said...

Yep. Often! I should have ben a speech pathologist. I was scared off by the math of all things. Ridiculous. Should have sucked it up and tried.
I was happy with the career I ended up with, but if I gone the spech path route I could easily do some work from home. Le Sigh.

gayle said...

You know I still don't know what I want to be and it is now time for me to retire. Sad but true!! Wish I had never gone back to work.