When I was in high school, approaching graduation, there were only a few careers put before me. I had to choose what to study in college. I had to find something that would prepare me for the real world. And pay my bills.
I wanted to be a zookeeper when I was young. I loved the outdoors and animals. Then that morphed into working for National Geographic when my interests collided with my budding geekiness. I wanted to travel the world and document what I saw from the lens of a camera.
When I was in high school the Internet was going through a bubble and a bust. But even then, the jobs I knew existed were the age-old professions like doctor, lawyer, fireman, police officer, or military service. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Nor did I have any idea the world would change so much between then and when I entered the job market four years later.
But now, there are jobs that simply weren’t around a decade ago. There were no software developers or graphic designers. No mobile developers or systems administrators. Computers filled rooms or tables. They didn’t fit into your pocket. People who understood these systems were only found in labs or universities. They weren’t inside every company and government agency.
There are thousands of jobs today my guidance counselor wouldn’t have even dreamed about in the year 2000. I graduated high school and entered the college world 13 years ago. ((I feel old.)) I went to college for four years to learn that I didn’t want to work in Advertising. I hold a B.S. In Mass Communications. But after four years I didn’t know what to do with that. I had no real world skills. I couldn’t get a job with it.
So as I was floundering and desperately hunting for something to pay the bills that wasn’t McDonalds when I graduated, I stumbled across a want ad for people to set up new computers. This was a job I could do. I called the number on the page and spoke to the woman on the line. She gave me an office number and a time to be there. And I was.
I don’t remember if there was much of an interview process. I think it was, “Hey, you’re got two strong arms and can read English. You’re hired!” Maybe there was more to it. But I got that job. And that led me down a completely different career path than I thought I was preparing myself for.
Since then I’ve worked in technical support and taught myself what I needed to know. I’ve learned enough to fix problems and have fun doing it.
My college degree hasn’t ever opened doors for me. But it made sure those doors were not closed prematurely. And being in the right place at the right time launched my current career path. And that’s something I never could have predicted.