Careers and Direction

Round, round we go, where we end up, no one knows.

What is aimlessness? A lack of direction? A lack of dreams? A response to poor decisions?

This is something I have struggled with recently. Throughout college, both undergraduate and graduate school, I sort of drifted. I chose degrees on a half-baked idea and now I am stuck with student debt and a skill set that qualifies me for jobs I cannot make myself excited about. I went to a  job interview where the position consisted of sitting in a fourth floor windowless cubicle moving data from one excel spreadsheet to another for 8 hours day. The company struggled to fill the position.

I am not writing this to complain. I find I understand myself better and the situations I find myself in if I write about my problems. Plus I doubt I am the only one with career regrets and problems.

When you went through college, what kinds of career advice or counseling did you receive? My program relied heavily on the unpaid internship model. I could not afford to work for free over the summers, which meant most employers in my degree field did not want me. No internship experience, no interview. The sole career advice I received in college was major in a STEM subject and you will get a job. No one made me sit down and actually think through my life and goals.

I know I could have worked harder or sought out more career advice, but I did not know where to look. Everyone has advice on what you should do, which generally is to just replicate their life choices. I think the current model of high school to college to cubicle is a broken system. Unless you are able to work for free or have a fully formed idea of what you want to do, college will not help you figure out what you want out of life. The whole system either pushes you towards graduate school or into whatever subject you get the highest grades in.

What career advice, or lack of advice, have you received? What did you wish you had done differently?