"What do you want to be when you grow up?" a common and frequent question asked of children from an early age. " A fire man, a train driver, a nurse, a teacher, a dancer, a policeman, an astronaut" are perhaps some of the most common answers, after all, you would not expect a 6 year old to declare they want to be an "Economic Affairs correspondent or a Stock Broker."
How many of us have grown up however and ended up becoming what we said we would when we was a child? How many of us have ended up working in the area we thought we might when we left school at 16, even University at 21?
Deciding what we want to do in life is perhaps one of the hardest decisions we have to make. The pressure is placed upon us at an early age when teachers and parents alike tell us we must do well in our studies, so that we get a good job and succeed in life.
Then at 16/18, an awkward stage in a young person's life as they are trying to become an adult, we are expected to decide if we want further education and what we want to study. How many of these decisions are made by ones parents you have to wonder? How many 16/18 year olds, really know where they see their selves in 10 years time, which at that stage, seems such a long way off.
"Do something you love" might be the best message to give the youth of today, but then realism sets in, and some parents cannot help but encourage a business degree perhaps over a performing arts course. They only want what is best for their children of course, and indeed at the tender age of 18, they do still appear in many cases to be children, and so are perhaps happy to go along with what their parents/guardians feel are best for them; but will they be left regretting the decisions made at 18, ten years later?
You can change your path in life at any time, you can change your career, your lifestyle and it is not a problem, but it can be a challenge, it can be difficult and it can set you back a few years in achieving goals you have set for yourself. There is perhaps no answer to this dilemma, it can be argued you simply do not know at 18 what you want to do in life, but that is the age when further study is required, so what alternative do you have, other than to try something out. Many students now decide to travel to "find themselves" and this has its benefits, but it still does not always provide them with the answers they are looking for.
Some of us fall into careers almost by accident and find out we have ended up doing something we love, but never thought we would. Others stay in jobs we do not particularly like, but rationalise that it pays the bills, but still have that "dream job" goal in our head, to one day achieve. Many students now come out of University and struggle to find a job in their subject field, so end up doing something else altogether and are left questioning if they made a mistake with their studies. At the end of the day, they have the qualification, and even if it does not lead them into their ideal career right away, it might in the future, or it might even open other doors.
There is a saying that "Your 20's are for finding out who you are and what you want." This applies to all aspects of your life and not just your career, but perhaps it is not surprising when I meet 30 year olds who say "If only I had known what I know now 10 years ago...."
It is also not a surprise that more and more people go back to study later in life, and perhaps this is no bad thing, with years of work experience under their belt, they then have a better chance of getting a good job with the added qualifications they gain.
I think that could be the message to young people trying to decide what they want to be, you probably will change your mind, you possibly will change your career 3 times in your life according to statistics, and it is ok. Work experience is important, if you do not try something, how do you know if you will like it or not? Studying a subject is not quite the same as day to day on the job.
So let us not put too much pressure on our young ones to know exactly what they want to do "when they grow up"
About Author / Additional Info: