Choosing a Career

Choosing a career is a huge step and should not be rushed into.  Consider that most people don’t really know what they want to do with their lives until around 24 years of age, and that even then many people change careers several times throughout their lives.  Also consider that if you have just left the community, it will take some time for you to develop your own sense of self and for your values to adjust to being out of the hof.

Leaving the hof is a big deal and the impact on your life is not fully understood until you have walked this road for many years.  You need to be patient with yourself and not rush into anything.  The most important thing is not later regretting actions that you have taken or not taken.

A very good first step is to enroll in college if you are strongly motivated, know what you want to do and are certain that you can get excellent grades.  Going to college and getting mediocre or poor grades will harm future choices that you may not even know are options yet so you should not go to college until you are truly ready to knock it out of the park.  On the other hand, the best time to get college paid for is now before you have much of an income.  More on this in other areas.

If you are not going to go to college right away and are going to work, take this time to explore many different options, learn about yourself and develop the new skills you will need to flourish on the outside. Remember that you are not restricted to any line of work or place to live.  While the hof may have set you up in a location you are making your own decisions now and need to do what you feel is best for you.

There are many online sources for help with career.  You should explore these and take some of the online test to better understand what you are best suited for.  Perform a Google search and check out several different sites related to careers.  Here is one that appears to be unbiased and comprehensive:

Remember that you will be going through a lot of change from the person who you were raised to be, a community member, to someone who must make their own decisions and find their own way.  Because of this, the results of some personality and career tests may change somewhat over the years (shop worker to astronaut?).  One good approach is to speak with many different people who have gone through this and ended up in different careers.  As discussed elsewhere, the easiest way to find others who have left is through Facebook and you will find teachers, artists, nurses, doctors, lawyers, cooks, construction workers, etc. all willing to offer advice and emotional support. No one knows more about the path you are on than others who have traveled it before you.  Good luck and enjoy the journey!

Just to give you an example of one journey:

I arranged to attend Penn Tech after high school while I was still living at NMR. I was interested in electronics but largely was hoping to not have to chamfer little pieces of wood the rest of my life. I got a two-year degree but really wasn’t ready to work hard and get excellent grades so I didn’t have access to the best employers at graduation. I worked in electronics for a few years, migrated to sales for a few years and traveled all over the country. I got fired from my sales job because they were cutting back on staff and I just wasn’t very effective. I found work in chain restaurant management trying to find a career that would pay a decent wage without going to college. In the meantime, I ran up some debt and got into credit trouble. I finally decided to go to proper college and it took a few years to get out of debt. I was 25 when I started college. I was finally ready to really work hard and I got very good grades. In thinking on what I wanted to do with my life I realized that being a doctor was always something I held in high regard but did not think I had the ability. When I realized that I could get very good grades, now that I had grown up a little, I decided to try to get into medical school and was successful. After many very challenging and mostly enjoyable years in school and residency I became a family physician in my mid-30s. After a few more years, I transitioned to emergency medicine (even that late in life I still had made the wrong choice of residency – I should have chosen ER from the start). I have been working in the ER for 16 years, have been a department director and even got a master’s degree at the ripe age of 50. I am happy to have in depth discussions with anyone about college, career, medicine, etc. Find me on FB.

Paul Newton