This is going to be a short post as I am writing it with Little Brother on my lap on my day at home (yes, part-time work in academia is a thing in the homecountry)*. I just typed "how to choose" in my search bar, and google sure knows me well because the first autofill was "how to choose a career" (or does this happen to everyone?). These days, inspired mostly by my very short contract here as a post-doc, and the prospect of being a post-doc for quite a while longer, I am thinking a lot about what I want. (short answer: I don't really know but there is a good alternative option that I am exploring). The first thing google found was this article titled "How to Pick a Career You Actually Like". It talks about how you need to switch jobs often to find the career that suits you best and that you will be great at. How different is that from what we learn in academia! It even says:
"The important thing is to not overcommit to one path. Graduate school, for example, is overcommiting because if you don't end up liking that field, you will have spent four years gaining entrance into the field. Taking on college debt is overcommitting because you are, effectively, saying you will ony take jobs that are relatively high paying in order to service the debt."
This is a weird thing in my opinion: what would the world look like if nobody would "overcommit" and nobody would go to college and/or grad school and change jobs every 2 years? But it does make me wonder how being in academia and keeping my eyes on that one ultimate job (being a university professor with my own lab doing science) has kept me from finding something else and more importantly: exploring what I would love to do (or am I doing what I love to do? - you might notice I am overanalyzing this A LOT the past couple weeks).
What about you? Do you feel like you have enough time as a grad student or post-doc to figure out what you want or are you so caught up in the race to get papers and grants and a job that you forget to think about if this is what you want? And if you are faculty: did you ever take the time to think about if this is what you want or if you want to change careers?
* Actually, I started typing this post and am finishing it now that BlueEyes and Little Brother are in bed.