Every Career Path is Different, and That’s Okay

So this past Saturday I finally met my mentee for the first time. She’s a bright high school student who definitely reminds me a bit of myself when I was her age. Part of our meeting entailed us doing a few ice breakers (there were a bunch of other mentors and mentees there too).

One of the ice breakers was all of the mentees had to introduce themselves to each mentor and guess which one was there’s. After each mentee did a full rotation around the room, all of the mentors revealed who they were matched up with.

It was fun, but part of it included all of the mentors having to tell everyone what they did as a profession. Now, maybe I’m just really bad at telling people’s ages, but it seemed to me like the average ages of all the mentors were 25 – 32. Being on the lower end of that spectrum, of course there’s no way I can compete with someone who has 6 or 8 years of work experience on me, but I’ll still admit that I was pretty intimidated by some of these women’s job titles.

I mean, there were a couple doctors, pharmacists, graphic designers, and sales/marketing managers in the room, so when it came time for me to tell everyone that I was an assistant, I couldn’t help but shrink in my seat a bit.

I’m not saying that I’m embarrassed by my job. Not at all. And personally, I feel like my job title doesn’t perfectly reflect all of the things I really do in my role (I don’t go and fetch my boss’ coffee; I get sh** done is what I do!). But because the word “assistant” is in my job title, when I’m sitting next to someone who looks pretty close to my age who is a manager, it does make me feel like I’m lagging behind and makes me a bit self-conscious seeing as I’m in my mid-twenties and nowhere near their career level.

After the ice breaker, my mentee and I finally had a chance to talk, and one of the topics we explored was career paths. I told her that even though I work in sales and marketing, I actually got a Fine Arts degree with a Major in Film Production. She thought that was actually pretty cool, and I honestly wouldn’t swap my experience of film school for any other degree, just like I’m sure someone with an MBA wouldn’t swap their school experience if they eventually started working in the arts. 

I’m still super passionate about film and probably always will be, but once I graduated, I realized that I was passionate about a lot of other things too, and I wanted to work in a more stable work environment. So, I told my mentee that even though I went to school for one thing, it’s okay that I didn’t continue on that career path. Hell, my older sister did a bachelor’s degree in Biology, a master’s degree in English Literature, and now she works in online marketing! Not all paths are straight and narrow!

Once our meeting was done, it dawned on me when I was leaving that I should be taking the same advice I just gave my mentee. Every career path is different, and you can’t always predict where you’ll eventually end up. I may not have gone to medical school and become a doctor, but I know where I want my career to go and it’s just a matter of time until I get there.

Are you working in the field you went to school for? Or did you do a complete 360 after graduation like me?

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