I remember being asked frequently when I was a little girl, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I didn’t ponder it all back then as much as I do now. As a five year old, your imagination runs free to all the possibilities and the sky’s the limit. You aren’t expected to rationalize your yearning to be a rockstar, a firefighter or an astronaut. You simply get to just blurt it out to everyone with a huge smile on your face and that’s that.

It becomes much different as you grow older, however. You start to realize that a lot more has to go into choosing a profession than just shouting out what amazes us at first glance. Of course, that’s how we’d still like it to be, but there’s more to it than just saying the word. There are finances to think about, figuring out what aligns with your current lifestyle and habits and looking ahead to how you will support yourself and those who may rely on you one day. 

The truth is, our society very much depends on this whole concept of having a career, and consequently, there is a lot of pressure placed on us adolescents to pursue the right professional path. Our expectation of having a job one day is placed on us as young as five years old, without us even being aware of all the intricacies that are woven within such a decision. 

There are a lot of individuals who try to discredit the social construct of a 9 to 5 job altogether. Many argue that there’s not as much value in signing yourself up for a cycle of work everyday, rather than traveling the world and truly experiencing life and all it has to offer outside of office walls. 

Regardless of your own beliefs, each and every one of us has pondered over a potential career path and been faced with the question as to what we want to pursue. Our society demands this of us. 

If for many of us our career is going to take up a good chunk of our time and lives, I think it’s worth pondering over what makes for a fulfilling and successful career? 

A fulfilling career fills one with purpose and meaning; whatever the individual is doing, self value is felt and boosts one’s self esteem. I believe this is the most important piece to think about when pursuing a career path. It doesn’t matter what others think or will tell you along the way, you need to feel as though what you are doing is worth it and making a difference in the world. 

Finding a career that fulfills you then leads also to a successful career. You are successful not only in your hard work and happiness, but also most likely financially. You will often be more devoted to something that fulfills you and brings comfort, leading to more financial rewards and luxuries. 

Another important thing to remember is that you don’t need to know the final destination in order to start taking the steps of getting there. Step one can be signing up now for more classes you find interesting and love, step two can be applying to internships that pop up in your email feed from Fairfield’s Career Center, step three can be building your network in the areas of study you are interested in, and so on. 

If you follow your heart and these steps while working hard, no matter what job you land from it, it will most likely be fulfilling because that’s where your energy has been focused. 

When thinking now about answering that same question that was asked to me at five years old, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I no longer think of being a ballerina. 

Instead, I think that I want to be happy – happy through feeling fulfilled, in whatever that may be, and successful over time through my own hard work. 


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