Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Career: Practical or Dreamy?

Last night, I went out to dinner with my girl friends after a relaxing spa date. 

We used to all work for the same company about 2 years ago.  Two of them, as entry level engineers - just out of university, and I was on a student internship.  Of course, they had health benefits at that time, and I didn't.  Now that I am working full-time as well, we all go out for spa dates, together!

Last night, was one of our last spa dates.  :(

One of the girls found a job somewhere else (which did not include these benefits), and another one was going back to school!  

We got to talking about our careers, our relationship lives, etc.  

One of the girls was going back to school to persue another undergraduate degree - in psychology.  This took my by complete surprise, since it seems like a topic that is opposite to what she had studied and worked in.  Did I mention that she graduated from engineering?  

Anyhow, we were all first generation Canadians, with middle eastern, or Asian background.  It was little surprise that we would choose something that was practical to study, so that we can get a good job afterwards.  

I, of course, am no different.   Engineering was something that was practical to me.  Math and science were topics that I found interesting and easy to grasp.  So after 5 years, here I am.

Working in the field that I had wanted to be in.  And yet, I can't say I am completely satisfied.  Even though it's what I wanted to be in, it's not exactly what I picture or envisioned.  If that makes any sense.

Do I want to be walking parking structures for the rest of my life, and chasing leaks?  Writing specs?  Contract administration?  Methinks not.

However, on those bad days, I keep reminding myself that I need to take a step back, and look at the bigger picture.  Where I am right now is a great place to learn.  It's a wonderful place to start out.  I have a lot of great teachers, and mentors at my work place, who are all willing to give me a chance to learn.  I need to take a advantage of that.  And then take it from there. 

I keep reminding myself, that I won't get anything out of this experience if I don't put in all my effort to learn as much as I can.  Then, after that, I can decide where I want to go from there.

I guess that's the big picture.  Sometimes, it's hard to keep that in mind, when I'm doing the mundane tasks.  

I know nothing is written in stone.  But, if I had a chance to pick something else.  Something where I didn't have to worry about finding a job afterwards, I'm not sure if I would pick engineering.  Or maybe, I would take more electives in something else.

I think back to high school when I had to pick my university program.  How is a 18 year old supposed to know what she wants to do for the rest of her life?  And I was someone who researched and looked into my field?  My decision was based on a balance of what was practical and what I had interest in.  I wasn't able to take the leap to choose something that wasn't, in my eyes, practical.  

One of my cousins studied Fashion Designing, and spent two years.  Only to end up working odd jobs waitress-ing, and eventually ending up at her dad's company as an admin clerk.  That scares me.  I'm not sure if I could deal with that very well, if I were in her position.

Meh.  Just something that's on my mind.

Did you choose your career based on practicality or dreams???


Andy said...

Me a little bit of both? I LOVE Math and Physics-Chemistry, and I'm good at it. Engineering sounds pretty good for my case :D Plus, I like econometrics, that's why i'm going for industrial engineering.

What kind of engineering did you get?

Greears said...

The pressure on you first generation kids is so much greater than the pressure that was on me. College tuition was cheap then and when I told my father that I would not be getting a degree in business like he had planned and instead was getting a degree in Sociology and Religion he didn't talk to me for a year.

Was it a mistake? No because I am a kick butt social worker. Total natural. Is there any money in Social Work. NO! Have I wandered the earth like a gypsy and had amazing experiances? Oh yes! Have I been very broke a few stressful times? Oh yea.

You know, here is the rub. There is no perfect way. There is no easy solutions. The things you want when you are young seem silly 30 years later. I've done so many things. I've had so many jobs. One job lead to the next. The universe has a plan for me and thus has always cared for my well being. Once I got a job teaching school because I had drove a school bus. I'm not kidding.

Vince is more like you. Came from a poor family where slacking off was not such an option. He was going to drop out of college to be a garbage man (this is one of the reasons I fell for him) until one of his professors lead him into the school of pharmacy. Now I tell young people who are good at math and chemistry to go into pharmacy. Tons of jobs. Good pay. Helping profession. Great if you ever want to have a family. No, it is not his dream to spend his days indoors. It does provide for him the lifestlye he loves and he loves being able to provide for us without stress! Of course in a few years I will go back to work doing something and hopefully he will be able to cut back to part time...it's only fair.

I think if you leave your heart open to suggestions, the universe and your karma will guide you to the next step.

Des said...

Andy - I completed civil engineering, and now I work with buildings. It's got it's ups and downs. :)

Greears - Thanks for taking the time to respond to my ramblings. I'm starting to learn that there is no right or wrong. As long as I keep challenging myself and "leave my heart open." :)

Thanks, girls!