What Influenced Your Career?

What Influenced Your Career - Thoughtful Woman

What influenced your career?

Was it external forces and chance?
Or was it controlled by choices you made yourself?

Has there been a change in what influences your career as you get older?
What influences your career choices now?

If it were a perfect world, what career would you have?
How is that different from the career you have now?


Lisa Bates


  1. I can start this off… When I was younger, I pretty much took whatever job I could get, and that might even mean the jobs somebody else (like my dad) got for me. I never worried about the fit, I just took what I could find out of a sense of duty. I don’t know who the duty was to. I ended up in some pretty awful jobs. The worst one was cutting turkey breasts on a conveyor belt in the cold room of a turkey factory. It was AWFUL!!!

    But as I got older, I began to value myself and my time more and to want to spend my time and resources only on the things that are important to me. Now I choose my own opportunities and I dig until I find what I want. Now it is more like a treasure-hunting expedition. When I was young, it was like being blown around by a strong and unpredictable wind.

    How about you? How has it changed for you?

  2. I’ve always made internal choices, but sometimes I think I’ve made them before external forces made me, sort of like “heading it off at the pass”.  So the question is, was I really making the right choice for me?  I think we all struggle with that sometimes and as we get older we can see where we were off course and where we felt like we were getting closer to our truer selves.  

    • Yes, I like that idea of coming closer to our truer selves as we get older. I think that’s what they call “maturity.”

  3. Career choices are often a meandering path. One early small step can lead to a world of opportunities down the road. It’s hard to believe all of the different paths that are available — people with the same background but who make slightly different choices (specialties, locations, employers) can end up with a completely different experience.

    For me, choosing to work for myself as an entrepreneur has been a rewarding experience that I wouldn’t change at all. It’s challenging but full of endless possibilities as well.

    • Aly, you are a philosopher! I like the way you are able to take a step back and see patterns in the events of life. I’d like to sit around and discuss these things with you sometime because I like what you have to say.

  4. I think that in a perfect world, everyone would find one thing they truly liked, truly enjoyed, and that was truly needed by others. Career would be about meeting someone else’s need for xyz in a way that you are uniquely qualified for while simultaneously meeting your own need to find fulfilment and joy in your work. 

    Here in the real world, career is about making ends meet, and getting through the day with enough money to pay the bills.

    When I was young, “finding a job” was about finding money. Passion was for off time, hobbies, things I did for myself. THe job was something I got in order to finance what I really wanted to do. I figured I would have the 9-5 job, the family, the life “everyone’s” supposed to “want” – and presue what I really found joy in during my “off time” – because that’s just how things are. And why? Well, stability. Safety. Security. All those sensible things that come with adulthood.

    The older I get, the more I have come to question this “normal” way – as I think most of my generation has come to question it. The older I get, the less willing I am to settle. Ironically, with far more financial obligations than I ever had before, I am now less willing to work in order to “pay the bills.” Still searching for my “career” I find myself thinking more and more that just working to make ends meet doesn’t actually serve the greater good. So I’m trying now to move out of the real world, into the perfect one – or, better, at least – where what I love to do and what other people really need can meet.

    • Shanna, you described exactly the journey that I have been on. In addition, I discovered that when I was working for all the “usual” reasons, I did not have the motivation to weather the storms of life and get through the tough spots without running into difficulties. In all honesty, my early work life I wasn’t exactly a stellar employee. I remember complaining when the workload increased. But now that I am doing things that I find more rewarding I generally go the extra mile to make sure everything is taken care of according to high standards.
      It’s a whole different world when we get our interests and values aligned with our careers.

  5. Funnily enough what influenced my current (and lifelong) career was the bar owner that told me after I was a waitress one night..my first night ever… for one night only to go back to school and find something else to do because I just wasn’t cut out for the job 🙂

  6. My working career started after graduating high school. An amusement park had just opened near my house and was hiring anyone who applied, so I joined the masses. The job was great, but the management was not. This was the situation through most of my jobs. The path I took to find them was the path of least resistance or maybe the path with the most support. When something comes easily you tend to go and stay in that field.

    Now that my career is coming to a close I find myself wondering what I really want to do now that I have grown up.

    • I totally get that about taking the path of least resistance and then later wanting to figure out what I really want to do. That’s why I am doing this.

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