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Sometimes you don’t know how your life is going to turn out, even when you plan it. When I was in high school, my parents hired a career coach for me. She was basically a life coach for 16 and 17 years old and her goal was to help us navigate the next few years of our lives.
As she evaluated my strengths and passions, she suggested that I pursue a career in Marketing. At the time, I knew I wanted to be in business but I was more interest in Human Resource Management.
I got my degree in Management (Human Resource Management) and Management Science. I was planning to pursue a career in Human Resource Management when I landing my first job as a Training Coordinator. I had no idea at the time how that first job would lay the foundation for a career in Marketing. 🙂
I starting learning how to build websites. I took a few continuing education courses in web design, HTML and other web technologies popular at that time. I even redesigned the website for that company. When I started looking for a new job. I realized that I had more experience in marketing education programs and building web experiences than I did in Human Resources. So, my next position was a Marketing Project Manager.
When it comes to finding our calling in life and starting our careers, most of us will go through a similar process that has very little to do with what we actually want to do or went to school for. If you fall into a similar situation like me, someone else’s insight was correct. My high school career coach saw marketing and even though I studied something else, I ended up in marketing.
For most of us, our jobs are not a matter of design so much as luck and divine intervention. Perhaps you finish school/college/university and you find yourself at a loss for what to do, so you take the first job offer that comes up – which is stacking boxes for an event company.
Then maybe you find yourself somehow rising through the ranks and becoming the head of logistics. Maybe this then catches the eye of someone at a major corporation and you get head hunted to become the head of international logistics and transportation.
Great! So now all your experience, all your skills and all your qualifications make you the ideal fit for that job. That job that you never had any interest in doing. Never mind that you studied in college to become a Robotics Engineer. 😳
How the heck did that happen? 🤦🏾♀️
Basically you allowed your skills to form as a result of your experience. Our strengths are partly natural and partly acquired through our experience. The latter actually tends to play a larger role though and certainly from the perspective of someone looking to hire you. Never mind that your love of computer science, mechanical and electrical engineering – you’ve got 10 years of experience in logistics!
In other words, your strengths will be largely shaped by your experience, so if you want to make sure you don’t just “land” in a career you never planned, you need to ensure that the experience you’re getting is highly relevant to whatever it is that you want to do.
Obviously this is out of your control to some extent. You don’t always get to choose the job offers that come your way or the advancement courses you get offered. But most of the time it will be up to you. And it will be up to you to make your experience relevant to the career path that you have chosen.
So don’t give up on your dreams and don’t stubbornly hold out for that perfect job either. Instead, plot yourself a course and steer yourself as much in that direction as possible, looking for opportunities wherever they arise to mold your strengths, talents and abilities to be a fit for whatever your passion is calling you to do with your life.
Are you in a different career from what you went to school for?