From High School to a Fulfilling Career: Eight Stories
In search of fulfilling careers, we asked eight professionals to share their journey from high school to their current roles. From founders to CEOs, their stories range from gaining life experience to recognizing early entrepreneurial skills. Dive into their experiences to discover how they navigated their careers and found work that truly satisfies them.
- Gaining Life Experience on Your Career Path
- Discovering Strengths for Success
- Persevering to Appreciate an Ideal Career
- Blending Technology and Creativity
- Pursuing an Impactful Career Transition
- Volunteering Unveils a Passion for Healthcare
- Aligning Creative Passion With Graphic Design
- Recognizing Early Entrepreneurial Skills
Gaining Life Experience on Your Career Path
During high school, I had no clue what I wanted to do, but I had to select a major for college. A career assessment test indicated compatibility for business administration, but I pursued a degree in computer science from which I didn't graduate.
Life happened after that, and I worked in tourism for several years, still not understanding what I wanted to do. That was until I moved to the United States.
Thanks to the guidance from multiple people, I returned to college to complete my degree in... yes, business administration! Fast forward to the present, and now I have over 20 years of HR experience working in a field that I love.
Some people ask if I think of how much farther in my career I would be if I had gotten the business administration degree right after high school. My response is always, "Probably not as far as you think, because I needed to have all the experiences that I had in between happen, to help me mature and be where I am today!"
Discovering Strengths for Success
My work path has changed a lot from when I was in high school to now. I wanted to be a doctor when I was in high school, but my love for technology led me to study computer science in college.
I started out as a programmer, but as time went on, I learned I enjoyed solving difficult problems and leading teams more. This realization led me to become a project manager, where I love bringing together people with unique skills to work toward a shared goal.
I found my fulfilling fit by taking on tasks, seeking a mentor, and thinking about what I was good at. On this journey, I learned a lot about myself and grew all the time, which helped me become the successful project manager I am today.
Persevering to Appreciate an Ideal Career
I always knew I wanted to write for a living, but after college, I didn't know what my options were. I didn't want to go into newspaper or magazine writing. The economic crisis was raging, and no one was hiring new grads, or so it seemed, so I took dead-end jobs to keep my head above water.
I worked some pretty awful jobs, but those experiences make me appreciate the career I have now—the one I built for myself and customized to fit the way I want to work. I'm still fulfilling my dream of being a paid writer and enjoying more free time.
The way my job makes me feel every day—excited, hopeful, and energized—reminds me I'm right where I belong.
Blending Technology and Creativity
In high school, I was passionate about both technology and creativity. Initially, I thought I'd pursue a traditional computer science career. However, during college, I realized my love for blending technology with design and communication. This led me to a role in digital marketing and user experience, where I could bridge my technical skills with my creative interests.
Over the years, I honed my skills in web design, content creation, and user-centered strategies. This journey ultimately led me to my current role as a creative director at a tech company, where I oversee projects that integrate technology and design to enhance user experiences.
Pursuing an Impactful Career Transition
In high school, I had a fascination with space and astronomy. This passion led me to pursue a degree in astrophysics, but I realized I wanted to make a more direct impact on society.
I shifted my focus to science communication and now work as a science writer, translating complex scientific concepts into engaging content for the public. Through writing, I can share the wonders of the universe with a wider audience, sparking curiosity and fostering a better understanding of science.
This career transition allowed me to combine my scientific knowledge with my love for writing, creating a fulfilling path I had initially overlooked.
Volunteering Unveils a Passion for Healthcare
Engaging in community service during high school and college provided exposure to various industries and work environments. Through volunteering, I could explore different roles, gain new skills, and understand the impact of different professions on the community.
One significant experience was volunteering at a local hospital, where a passion for healthcare was discovered and the desire to pursue a career in the medical field was born. This realization resulted from interacting with patients, witnessing the dedication of healthcare professionals, and experiencing the fulfillment of making a difference in people's lives.
By actively engaging in community service, a fulfilling career path that aligns with values and the desire to help others was discovered.
Aligning Creative Passion With Graphic Design
In high school, I dreamed of becoming a professional painter but discovered my talent for graphic design. Now, I work as a freelance graphic designer, combining my artistic skills with the digital world.
It's a fulfilling journey of self-discovery. For example, I recently collaborated with a startup to design their branding materials, creating a visual identity that resonates with their target audience.
I found fulfillment in using my creativity to solve their design challenges and seeing the positive impact it had on their business. Through exploration and honing my skills, I discovered this unconventional path, which aligns my passion for art with the demands of the digital age.
Recognizing Early Entrepreneurial Skills
In high school, I had a knack for entrepreneurship and innovation. From selling handmade crafts, I realized my passion for business strategy and innovation. Pursuing a degree in entrepreneurship, I now work as an innovation consultant, helping companies develop new products and strategies.
By thinking outside the box and blending creativity with problem-solving, I drive positive change in organizations. My journey involved exploring entrepreneurial ventures, honing strategic skills, and pursuing education in innovation. It's a fulfilling fit that allows me to thrive in a rapidly changing business landscape.