What do you want to be when you grow up? This is one of the most presumptuous questions asked to children from a young age. It forces them to imagine very early on what role they see themselves in as an adult.
All children go through a stage of wanting to be an astronaut, a football player, a police officer or a teacher. But they are unaware that the only thing they need to do is be happy. In fact, children’s answers at this age reflect a desire to be happy. The fact that children answer the question so openly often brings a smile to our lips, and we think, "How naïve!" They will have time to decide what they want to do and, more importantly, time to change their mind, many times over. They can spend 18 years answering the same question but, when push comes to shove and they have to choose a career, doubts and fears tend to surface. The decision they are about to make is viewed as a life sentence, set in stone. Often, at this point, ideals and passions are tossed aside in favour of pragmatism.
Some weeks ago, future university students were faced with what still represents one of their biggest challenges: university entrance exams. Of course, the world has changed a lot over the last forty years. Some things, however, have not moved with the times. One such example is evaluating our future professionals with a single exam. I would suggest bringing in another type of exam to evaluate people's sense of vocation, and that the outcome is decisive in admitting students to particular subjects. However, what I am really trying to say is that university entrance exams are a turning point in students' lives, and perhaps we give these exams too much importance.
How many people make a career change once they reach 30? There is nothing wrong with switching careers or studying for a qualification at that age. Rather, it is an act of courage. Quitting a job or a university degree that is making you unhappy is never tantamount to failure. I am incredibly happy with my job. When I look back and think about all that I have done to get here, I feel proud for having had the courage not to view my first decision as a life sentence. This is because I started a university degree, which I realised was the wrong choice for me straight away.
Some people spend years doing time in a job they dislike and find unfulfilling. The key to success is to love what you do, whether it be filling a tooth, cleaning a hospital room, writing about what is happening in the world, or accompanying today's children on their journey of personal development. Perhaps the secret is never to stop dreaming and to think that earning a living through the work we do is a consequence and not an objective. Does anyone really doubt that doing a job well, and being passionate about it, is unprofitable?
Now, if I were to ask you how satisfied you are with your career choice on a scale of 1 to 10, what would you say? Think about it!