Career do-over: Would you do it?

Our family gathered together last night to celebrate the holiday. The conversation shifted from topic to topic – American politics, the weather, kids – and then settled on my nephew and his high school education thus far. He’s in grade 10 and just starting to think about what he wants to be when he grows up. He still has no idea, but he did make a comment that struck me: “I don’t want to grow up and wish I had become something else.”




Part of me was struck by his innocence. He’s young and energetic and excited about the possibilities that lie ahead of him. I can only hope that he finds exactly what he wants to do and never regrets that decision. But I also found myself reflecting on my own career and what I have done in the twenty years since I was in grade 10.


The conversation naturally transitioned to the adults around the table talking about what they would be if they could go back and have a career do-over. My husband, a journalist, would be a lawyer. I, a communications advisor, would do something in nutrition and fitness. My dad, an inventory specialist, would have gone into the trades. And my mom, a sales rep, would be a teacher. This made me wonder, should we be forcing kids to choose a career path at such an early age? And if not, what is the alternative? I don’t know the answer to this, but I do know that the majority of the people around the table said they would choose a new career if they could.


So, consider this: If you could go back in time, would you stick with your current career or would you choose a career do-over?




3 thoughts on “Career do-over: Would you do it?

  1. Great question. I’ve only been out of high school for 4 years now so I haven’t quite started my career but I agree, there is no way anyone should be forcing kids right out of high school to choose a career path. My parents forced me to go to University for something I was not interested in and I failed and dropped out. Since then I have spent time volunteering, taking courses here and there, trying to discover what I want to do. I can’t say I won’t look back and regret my choice but I feel really passionate about my current career path and taking my time to figure it out definitely helped.

  2. What great conversation your family has and a great question you posed to us. I always envied the kids in school who knew what they wanted to do for a living. I had no clue, so I majored in English and History just to buy time. I’ve been a communications consultant for the last 16 years but I often wish I could have gone into medicine or teaching. “They” say most people have many careers in their lifetime. I certainly have, but never the urge or gumption to go back and completely retrain. At 52 is it too late?

  3. Enjoyed reading the flow and messages in your blog. It’s also nice to hear that your family was open to talk about the present and what could have happened. You asked if we (a.k.a parents) should be forcing kids to choose a career path at such an early age? In my opinion, the answer is no. I think that we should give guidance because post-secondary choices – education or a gap year (or more) is the start of another BIG chapter in a young adult’s life. There are so many variables that can affect the style of guidance that a parents gives – conclusive, authoritative, informative or encouraging. It depends on the young adult’s character, strengths and weaknesses. Guidance and choices also depend on the young adult’s track record. I have a nephew who is wonderful person and has a solid upbringing, yet he just floundered after high school in and out of jobs and college programs. It was difficult to see and let alone frustrating for his parents. They tried to help with different styles of guidance. He is now enrolled in a program that he enjoys. While he may be behind his peers in terms of the job market, that’s the path he needed to travel. We also need to factor that students have so many choices when it comes to post-secondary education. I think that it’s unrealistic and undue pressure to expect to know one’s career path at the end of secondary. Young adults should realize that the choices after secondary are not definite – as long as they are “healthy”. All the power to those who know, but that is rare. Life is about experiences, opportunities and calculated risks. I think it’s inevitable to look back and think of another career that we would have preferred. Depending on the challenge of one’s employment situation, this reflection may have something to do with the proverb “the grass is always greener on the other side”. Personally I landed in the public relations and communications field. And like you, if I could start over I would go into fitness and nutrition.

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