Choosing a Profession

Today I gave a small speech to the senior years of a high school where I have studied some time ago. It was not related to innovation management, nevertheless I would like to share with you the main points of my speech, which was entitled “Kick-starting your Career”.

By the way I decided to use a structured presentation containing 6 clear and simple points after watching Guy Kawasaki’s keynote called “The Art of the Start”. Guy’s presentation was great under many perspectives but I liked particularly when he clarified that having a sucker to deliver the speech is not the worse you can have, oh no… the worse is when you do have a sucker but you do not know for how much longer he will suck! So, as Guy recommends, use a structured presentation with points because if you do suck at least your audience will be able to track the progress of the speech.

Below you will find the first point of my speech. I will break it down because it would create a rather long (let alone boring) post if I included all the 6 points. Bear in mind that the speech was aimed at people entering the university.

Choosing a Profession

It would be a tough task if one needed to decide at the age of 18 what he would like to do for the rest of his life. And I think that is just the way most young people who are about to choose a profession or a degree think about the problem. They face that choice as a matter of life and death. Should you pick the wrong door you are done, someone is going to lock it out just after you pass and you are going to stick with that profession for the eternity. Picked mathematics? Numbers, numbers and after that, more numbers. Picked psychology? Crazy people, mental diseases and some more crazy people.

Now I do not think that is the way things work. Today more than yesterday most professions and careers are extremely flexibly. You see people with a degree in mathematics working in banks, financial departments of large corporations, marketing agencies and so on. Psychologists are finding great opportunities within Human Resources departments, Public Relations companies and pretty much anywhere else you have humans involved in the process.

Most organizations are realizing that creating teams with people from very different backgrounds is valuable. So the message I wanted to pass with this first point is that you do not need to stress out when choosing a certain degree. In the end of the road you will see that most doors remain open regardless of your choice.

A good, alternative way to think about that decision is not to see the problem as picking a profession but rather as figuring out in what way you want to impact society. When I was younger I was not sure if I wanted to be a professional swimmer ( I had been swimming competitively for 7 years by the time) or go to the university and work for some large organization. Once I realized that my personal goal was to have the broadest possible impact on society it become clear that as a swimmer I would not be able to accomplish that goal.

Just a final reminder, choose something that you have passion for. In our society often times parents or friends influence us to pursue money, status and others. I think this is the wrong way to go about it. Choose something you love to do and you will do it damn well, and the money will come as a consequence.

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