The following is a reply I wrote to a blogger who is in a crossroad and contemplating if a career change is needed. The blogger has been working for almost two years since university graduation.
I can’t and won’t give you any advice of what you should do or should not do. It is your life to live.
What I can share with you is my personal experiences and thoughts. I did, for 10 years, what I was trained in school to do (computer science) and I enjoyed those years and I can say I was involved in some cool projects. 10 years of working gave me some stability (financially and emotionally) to go on to try something different. Plus I was realizing I wasn’t aspiring to be my boss or my boss’ boss (both have more responsibility and must have been making really good money as well).
Now, for the last 10 years, I have been doing more of what my first career was not. Including going back to school to get a Masters degree in business and then went ahead to make a documentary (which I had no formal training in), etc. Some would say (including my loved ones) in the last 10 years, I was like a “rolling stone”, meaning I never quite stopped to do things in a “standard” or “traditional” manner.
For me, this process of explorations, trying new things, doing things that I “really” should have no business in doing, all these activities excite me, energize me, and I think better equipped me for the 21st century (I hope).
At the end of the day, we have one life to live, all we can do is to treasure it and use it well, as best as we can. Sure, we all want our loved ones (parents, spouses, friends) to be proud and be happy for us, but if we are not happy ourselves, it is harder to bring joy to others.
Speaking as someone who left school almost 20 years ago, it is good to be thoughtful and reflective and ask ourselves questions. To me, life is something too precious to set on “auto-pilot” and simply do things without asking what our hearts and what our heads think.
P.S. In my original email, I wanted to mention Frank McCourt‘s beautiful and insightful ‘Tis but ultimately decided against it. Because I promised I won’t give any advice plus I had previously recommended ‘Tis.