Best job advice: think about the people

In February 2016 on February 15, 2016 at 2:32 pm


Sarah: The other day I think I heard the best ever piece of advice for students trying to work out what their future careers might be.

It was delivered in the context of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), but could apply equally to any field:

“Think about the types of people who will be in the industry you’re be aiming to be in, and shape your decisions according to that.”

Brilliant. Brilliant!

So, for example: If you love rocks and Earth history then you could consider studying geology. However it’s the decision you make next which will be the big one. If you want to work with miners and engineers and business heads looking to make money from the resources sector, you could think about being a minerals exploration expert. If instead you’d rather work with people at museums and University academics learning about the history of Earth and outdoor adventurers, then you could aim towards a research career with lots of field trips. Same educational background, completely different people to hang out with.

In my case, I loved biology and the scientific method, and did well enough at school to get into medicine. But then 3 years later I worked out I actually didn’t enjoy being in the hospital environment — lots of sick people, a hierarchical system of doctors, and not much time to sit down and think through problems. So I switched over to biomedical research, and was much happier.

What kinds of people do you like? What are the characteristics and value sets of friends who make you feel happy and comfortable? What’s your best operating environment?

Head for that, and you’ll be right. Mate.

[image thanks to Jirka Matousek]



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