It’s Okay to Let Your Career Choose You
When we are young, people love to ask us what we are going to be when we grow up. Generally, this is a novelty to see what kind of cute kid answer you’re going to give. In elementary school, I was pretty convinced that I was going to be a secret agent and a best-selling novelist. After graduating from college with a degree in psychology that was almost entirely focused on neuroscience, I wasn’t so sure. So, I just took the first corporate job I could land and decided to just see what would happen.
For the life of me, I could not have predicted the events of the next few years.
So I’m In Tech Now?
Years ago, if you were to ask me if I would end up working in technology, I would have said no.
I’ve always been a gadgets girl. Since I was a kid, I’ve obsessed over new phones and devices. It started with fake spy toys as a kid and grew to a point where I became the Apple Girl in my professional and social circles. I’ve always loved technology, but I never thought I would work in it. I was, at best, a highly dedicated end user — or so I thought.
My journey into tech work began a couple of years after graduation. One day, my boss came to me with a proposition. Our tech department needed a systems analyst to oversee their work for our department. See, we had a lot of things that needed to be done that were not getting done. For whatever reason, my boss thought I could help.
When this first began, I was nearing twenty-five. At this point in my career, I had dabbled in training and support and was currently acting as a SME for our new group of temp employees. It was a nice gig, but it wasn’t my calling. I knew that then, but I definitely didn’t believe that tech was my calling at the time.
Sure, I spent all of my time researching new devices and exploring new software, but I never considered tech as a professional avenue. I played tech support for everyone in my personal life and my department, but I just couldn’t see it. Every year, I used vacation days to watch the WWDC stream and Apple events, but me and tech? Pfft. Impossible.
Thankfully, my boss at the time didn’t listen when I said I wasn’t qualified. In the year that followed, I was able to work as a very successful systems analyst, changed a lot for my department, and ultimately got chosen to be a dedicated system designer for a low-code platform during a later acquisition. At the time, it was everything that I could have wanted and more — and I was good at it too.
But, I never chose tech. It kind of sucked me in and made me its own — a fact which I am eternally grateful for.
A Blogger Without A Blog
Since I was small, I knew writing would be a part of my future. Growing up, I always assumed that I would be a novelist, which is partially true, but my professional career had other plans.
When I first started freelance writing, I just kind of offered anything I thought I could do. I put up packages for creative writing and packages for marketing content. I was paid to write fun stories and scripts and I thought that was a great way to spend time. Then, I decided to post a blogging package.
What could it hurt, right? It was popular enough and easy to do.
The thing is that I have started dozens of blogs and bailed every time. It wasn’t that I didn’t like blogging. I did. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I was good at it. Most of the content I posted was well-received. I just didn’t think it was my thing, you know? Even now, probably 70% of my income is from blogging and I only started my own true and dedicated personal blog less than two months ago. Reader, when I say that I am dense, I mean it.
So, what gives? How did blogging become my thing?
My first few blog requests were fun. I enjoyed the act of writing lighthearted content and exploring engaging new topics. I’m forever bored with what is right in front of me, which means I’m always chasing something new. As a professional blogger, that something new comes every single day.
When I set out in my freelancing career, I could never have predicted that blogging would be my niche. But, the requests kept coming — and more requests came with more five-star reviews, more dedicated clients, and more people who love the voice that I can give them. I didn’t set out to be a blogger, but hey it’s my job and I love it. Like, a lot.
Just like with my work in tech, blogging kind of had to claim me before I ever claimed it — and now here we are.
And Now There’s A Podcast — Cool
As a young professional in Corporate America, nothing saw me through my darkest days quite like podcasts. While I worked, I enjoyed listening to these wonderful shows for hours every single day. My days were filled with audio dramas and true crime podcasts. Shows on how to run a business or improve my career. I loved all of it.
In fact, I was so inspired by these shows that it was a running joke that one day I would start one. Several scripts drafted out with my best friend later and it still didn’t happen — so podcasting was definitely out — or so I thought.
But hey, life likes to make a fool of me.
One day, one of my clients asked the unthinkable: will you host our new true crime podcast?
After years of joking about starting a podcast, I was completely unprepared for the reality of a bonafide podcast network asking me to host a show. From what I knew about podcasting, it was all built from the ground up. Grit and sweat and no followers for long spans of time. It wasn’t something someone could just hand you on a silver platter.
But, they did. And, now I’ve got a podcast launch to manage in a few weeks.
Once again, the thing I thought I would never actually do is exactly what I am doing and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Accept The Unexpected
Going back, I wish that I could tell my younger self just how right Jeff Goldblum was in Jurassic Park.
Life finds a way.
I’m not going to say that it was some divine mystical force that put me where I needed to go. I think it was a natural progression of my personality, talents, and interests that I never could have seen without the external pressure that brought these interests to fruition.
Like so many young people, I was so focused on what I thought I would be that I failed to realize just how much opportunity there really is in the world. The reality is that jobs that you don’t even know exist. Jobs you don’t even realize that you are perfect for are out there waiting for you.
As far as I’m concerned, my careers have been happy accidents and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you’re new to the workforce and keep finding yourself stressed out about what you will be when you grow up, don’t be. Your dream jobs are out there — and there will be many — and they will find you when you least expect it.