If we all became what we “wanted to be when we grew up”, then the world would be filled with astronauts, doctors, and race car drivers. Although pursuing these dream jobs is noble and ambitious, our society needs a well-balanced array of trades and skills. Still, people in my generation (yes, I’m a millennial) were expected to pursue higher-education degrees in order to compete in our workforce.
Why were concepts such as ‘happiness’ and ‘fulfillment’ in relation to a career not emphasized to us as children? I certainly was caught in the trap of believing that I had to become a surgeon, high-powered attorney, or business executive in order to be successful. Little did I know that these professions were one way, but not the only way to achieve career satisfaction and financial stability.
If I could go back in time and speak to my 18-year-old self, I would advise her that the value of a career lies in how it is built rather than what it is. Developing one’s career-related skills, whether it be by obtaining vocational certifications or a PhD, is important for setting a solid foundation as a respected, trusted, and valued professional. We need scientists and mathematicians as well as electricians, police officers, and educators – I think that our younger generations should be taught that a so-called “glamorous” job is not the only (or even guaranteed) way to achieve success.