Life-changing message Yann!
When I was in my 20s we thought it was about something else altogether.
We thought that by the age of 19 or 20 we should have already figured out what we wanted to be when we grow up and that those who haven’t figured it out yet were behind.
We have grown up, so the time has come for us to make this big life decision.
None of us young people wanted to be left behind. So we all put a lot of effort into figuring it out quickly.
There was not much time because our decisions were only step one. Then we had to prepare ourselves — nobody would be admitted to law or med school just like that.
We had to act fast.
Obviously, our parents offered their support and helped us brainstorm ideas.
Basically, we had a menu from which we could choose. Lawyer, doctor, manager, engineer, dentist, architect, teacher, nurse, policeman — the basic / default options. Nobody even thought about the future of jobs, let alone ponder new possibilities or how each industry might be disrupted in 10, 15 or 20 years.
We had to pick something but we had no idea whether we will like it or not. How on earth could anybody tell what was a good or a bad choice. We never worked as a doctor, lawyer, etc. We never had a chance to try them out for ourselves. All we had was other people’s (adults’) opinions that were completely irrelevant because it was what they did or didn’t like and it was us, not them, who needed to make that tough call.
Yet, we had to base our decisions on something. We needed something else than only our vague image of each profession. So we either listened to those recommendations and treated them as absolutes or else all we were left with was our gut feeling and our strengths/weaknesses analysis. I was not particularly into math, so my parents said: “Maybe you should go to law school? Lawyers usually don’t have to worry about money and it is one of those solid professions.”
Neither I nor my parents had been lawyers before so we basically had no idea what we were talking about. All we knew back then was that this was the time and that I had to make up my mind.
Obviously, there was a lot of anxiety because we young people knew (that’s what we’ve been told) that we must choose wisely for our future depends on it.
We knew that one could change his mind and switch majors, but to us (and to our parents) doing it was unthinkable. We feared that when we switched halfway through our first choice we’d waste all those years of study and put ourselves behind everybody else.
For us locking ourselves up in that profession was almost a natural thing to do, a “normal” course of action. It was what we were supposed to do after graduating.
It was all due to this incredibly harmful myth that you choose your profession early in your life and you stick to it.
Later, when I found out that one of my friends switched majors halfway through her first choice I simply couldn’t believe it and I felt for her.
I can’t tell you enough how badly broken this thinking was.
What I can tell you is that I switched careers twice in my life so far and I know it’s doable at any time if you’re not satisfied with the path you’re on, and, of course, if you haven’t locked yourself up indefinitely in your current role. Prior to that I had spent 10+ years on legal education and apprenticeship so the investment bias (aka sunk cost fallacy) was definitely against me.