Ask Our Boss: How Do I Choose a Career?
In our monthly column dedicated to helping you succeed faster, our publisher Alison Rice is answering your most pressing career questions. You know, the stuff you really want to ask your boss but can’t. Have a question? Ask it on Instagram or Facebook by tagging #AskOurBoss.
I am 32 and I am still asking myself that question. Or perhaps these days it is more questioning if I chose this career or if it chose me. Doing my best not to turn this column into therapy so I’ll quickly move on!
You’re probably feeling confused and perhaps a bit directionless at the moment and for that I am sorry. The reason I’m sorry is I’ve been there. It was hard and at times I felt pretty down. Hang in there.
I also think societal norms and constructs, as well as our education system, don’t set us up to explore and discover our own definitions of success. We get told the “acceptable” path—do well in your final exams, go to uni, intern a lot, get an entry level job, compete to get to the top—and that career box gets ticked. But yet, so few people ever feel fulfilled professionally.
How are we supposed to know what we want to do with the rest of our lives at 18 years-old? What an enormous amount of pressure to put on someone already dealing with the rollercoaster that is young adulthood.
What if, instead, our education system focused less on specific degrees and more on real world skills we will all need in the jobs of the future? In that world, automation and AI won't be on the horizon, but very much part of our everyday lives. And it isn’t that far away.
I dream of the day when schools and universities teach not just the math equation, but how applying it could help solve a problem like climate change. Is the why behind the what the education gap?
I saw Google’s Sally-Ann Williams speak recently at B&T’s Changing the Ratio conference, and she shared her very pragmatic opinion on what young women should be studying today: Computer science x your passion. She also challenged the room of media and advertising executives to help young women explore non-linear career paths. I’ve long been a fan of the saying "people can’t be what they can’t see", and it is true for career paths and progression as well.
"people can’t be what they can’t see"
So while I know this advice sits on the peripheral of your question, I hope it offers some food for thought. Because what if the role of your dreams and the one you’ll feel most fulfilled in doesn’t even exist yet? What if actually, you can carve it out yourself?
Why not brainstorm career paths using An Organised Life's latest zodiac notebooks. Chic and personal, we've got stars in our eyes.