Career paths: Are you who you wanted to be?

by Peter Crocker

The other day, I caught the end of a radio report on recent research into career paths and happiness. The researchers asked: “Are you doing what you’ve always wanted to do?” and, “Given the chance, would you change careers?”

Unsurprisingly, the answers showed that most people don’t end up doing what they really wanted to do as a kid.

My almost seven year old daughter recently told me that she wants to be a part-time vet, part-time teacher and part-time flower shop assistant. She’d previously wanted to be a chicken holder, nurse and singer.

I remember wanting to be a gardener, psychologist, writer, cricketer and architect. Mum tells me the one consistent thing I did say was that I didn’t want to work in an office all day.

And a specific piece of career path advice my dad gave me was “Don’t be an accountant!” A career he’d been in for decades.

So why, after all that, I chose to study business and went straight into an office job for five years is still beyond me! A lot of people, myself included, tend to just go with the current and end up in an unsuitable career.

A majority of comments in response to my recent article, I don’t love my work, do you? were from people who really do love what they do every day. From this, I’ve deduced that starting a business is what people do once they know what they love.

I eventually managed to make a career out of writing, something I do enjoy, but only after several jobs that I didn’t.

What about you? Are you doing what you always wanted to do? Given the chance, would you choose a different career path?

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