How Did You Decide What Career to Study?

Updated on January 26, 2012
Y.C. asks from Orlando, FL
11 answers

Now that my daughter will be staring preschool, I want to go back to school.
I don't want to spend the time or money on a University, I would rather a short career, like paralegal or medical assistant, or something short.
My husband advice me to study something I like, regardless of how much jobs are, he believes that when you do something you love more likely you will be able to succeed. But then again, he is a very successful computer guy but he wanted to be a lawyer.
I, on the other side, never saw working as something I did for love but to get the money to do things I love, then again, when I was younger with a small child I couldn't afford to do what I wanted but what pay the bills.
Then is the other thing, I am very good with math, and before I got pregnant with baby#2, I was also studding for programmer. But I didn't like it, the only reason I was taking the class was because I was good at it.

So here I am now, exited what to study but have no idea to where to start looking =*(

I would like to know how did you decide what to study? Did you end up working on the area that you study for? If you could would you change your career?
Would you take a career that you love but maybe no so good at it, or something you don't even like but for some reason you are good at it, or would you base your decision on what you think it would make it easier to find a job now in days?

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answers from St. Louis on

I looked at what I have always enjoyed and then took all the core classes in those subjects my first semester. Most degrees require liberal arts so you end up taking one class in a mess of subjects.

My favorites were accounting and psych but you can't make money in psych without a doctorate so I went with accounting and a minor in psych. Then I added a second major of ITM when I realized how much fun computers are. :)

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answers from Columbia on

Stay away from Medical Assisting. My mom is an MA and says that the field is absolutely saturated. There are no jobs.

I know you're saying you don't want to go to college, but really that's what I suggest. Start with an AA in general studies. This will give you the opportunity to take a variety of courses which will help you narrow your interests. THEN, pick a major and go for a BA/BS in that.

Don't waste your time on certificates. Degrees are where it's at, especially in this market.

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answers from Houston on

My husband went with what he loves. Right now he's in the process of changing careers again since it is not working out at all. He makes very little money considering how darn hard he works. I went with a more pratical approach. I determined which jobs are fairly stable and in constant demand. Then I picked one I thought I could live with. I don't have to love my job but I do want it to exist with a decent pay. So far I am the breadwinner in my house and I never have a hard time getting a job. LIke most things in life seek the middle ground.

Jo W. makes a good point. Pick a career field with basic interests you have. I love math and so I went into design engineering. I work with numbers and equations all day long. I love that part of my job and my paychecks too. Good luck.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Well it was easy for me. I was head over heels in love with nature, camping, animals...the natural a kid. And still as an adult this is what makes me SO HAPPY. If I am out hiking to the top of a mountain or cross-country skiing on a forest trail I am the happiest. I studied Biology...with plenty of wildlife biology classes and then a Masters degree in marine biology. All my jobs before kids involved working out in the field...on boats, in campsites...and I always felt like I was in heaven. I could not believe I was getting paid to do what I did. After kids my jobs have been more data analysis, writing and lab work because I do not want to be away from them. The other thing I loved growing up was drawing and painting...any kind of art. I took many art classes in college and kept it up as an adult for fun. The last 8 years I have sold what I make in galleries/shops and at art fairs. I love it - it is a fun side hobby for me. What makes you happy? What made you happy as a child? If you can find a job doing something that truly makes you happy then you are not working for money. You are loving what you do. Of course every job has it's just have to put up with that. I believe in NOT finding a job to make money but in doing what you love and the money will follow. Plus who wants to spend 8 hrs a day doing something they do not even enjoy. That is what my mom always did. She is a big believer of just trying to make money. It never worked out well for her.

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answers from Sacramento on

I was planning to be a journalist, but with budget cuts to the state universities at the time, struggled to get enough units. I had to take summer school and the only journalism class I could get into was public relations. I was really only there for the units but found that I loved PR. I took a more advanced PR class after that and realized it was what I wanted to do as a career.

In your situation, I would focus on fields that not only interest you, but that also have job opportunities. Take a look at a list of growing professions and see if any of the jobs jumps out at you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I took college basics. I used my electives to take classes in career planning and introductory classes. I took intro to photography - turns out, I'm just a hobbyist. I took comparative religion - loved it, but couldn't see how that would translate to a career without a PHD. I took intro science, math, philosophy, none of these were for me. I took US Government and oh man, I was hooked. Once you find an area that you like and start getting more and more into it, you will find the right niche for you. College basics are a glood place to find out what you're strengths are.

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answers from Norfolk on

Initially I took a lot of science and was going to become a pharmacist.
Organic Chemistry in my sophomore year culled me out.
I started taking intro to everything and took an aptitude test through the university.
I stumbled across a programming course that I just loved (we used punch cards (this was the early 80's) that controlled movement of a plotter to draw pictures - the language was Artspeak).
I took to programming and learned Fortran and Pascal but then discovered I didn't care for scientific programming, so I took Cobol and transferred to a school with a good business programming department.
I graduated with a BS in Information Systems Management and was a Cobol programmer for over 15 years.
The aptitude test I took was very interesting.
It proved I was cut out to be a very good programmer.
The real interesting thing is, programming, car mechanics and morticians all share related skills.
I know a few programmers who started out as mechanics.
I know a few laid off programmers who've changed careers and become successful funeral directors.
If you are not sure what you might like to do, an aptitude test might help point you in a good direction.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If you are good at math then why not try an accounting class at the local community college? I have been considering that because there seem to be a fair amount of jobs in accounting/bookkeeping, and a lot of them are part time and telecommute which would be nice. It's also a job which you could get in many different fields: retail, small business, non profits, government, etc.
I would NOT recommend doing a medical assistant or paralegal course. That market is WAY oversaturated with people coming out of these programs, I think it would be VERY hard to find a job.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Have you tried reading What Color is Your Parachute? It helps you to determine your interests and aptitudes and can help to steer you in the direction of possible careers that might be a good match for you. Good luck!



answers from New York on

Have you taken any career assessment tests? I would head to your local community college and talk to them. I went to an open house at mine and found out so much. They had a career assessment test, which doesn't set anything in stone, but does help. I would listen to your gut in combination with the market.

I'm sort of in the same boat because my industry is being phased out. I'm leaning toward health or physical fitness because that's a passion of mine. I would love to teach as well, but layoffs prevail in my state.

Perhaps, talk to some people in the industries you're interested in. Tune out all the outside chatter and well-intentioned advice. Only you know you :-)

Good luck



answers from Oklahoma City on

If you were to go to a regular jr. college, college, or university you would be exposed to many different types of classes.

As we take the basics you tend to find some classes way more interesting than others. I hated History. I struggled with each test, I asked question after question. I was in a school that did a Mastery style of grading.

MH (mastery with Honors) was a 4.0 and a 90% or better had to be achieved on each assignment and test.

M (Mastery) was 3.25 and a 80% or better had to be achieved on each assignment and test.

CR (Credit) was 2.5 or a basic solid C average and a 70% or better had to be achieved on each assignment and test.

Anything less than that was failing.

I made a total of 68 points for the final grade. I nearly cried. I had given it my best and hated every minute of it. The teacher had pity on me. He gave me credit for the heart I put into it so he passed me with a 70%.

You will find that area of classes that make the light-bulb go off in your head. Mine was Psychology and Sociology. Then Developmental Disabilities. You will know and will look forward to each and every day you get to wake up so you can go do that again.

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