I grew up with no particular career in mind. I did well in school but I never saw a vision of myself as an adult. I remember being asked in the second grade and I replied real estate agent (because my parents were) or a teacher (because I like school).
Later on I wanted to be a meteorologist because the tour I went on at OU was cool.
In high school I replied Economist, even though I'd never really had any economics classes. I did well in math and chemistry. For some reason I never considered math as a career path and if I had just asked the question or been given a nudge in this direction I may have gone down that road.
I took some chemistry in college but I imagined that thinking about
molecular structures and being in a lab all day would be boring.
Psychology and psychiatry were options, mainly because I'd had my own experience with mental illness that I hadn't quite worked through yet. Going to medical school scared me, since I felt like I would always be second-guessing myself and berating myself over any mistake and agonizing over each patient 24 hours a day (see my mention of mental illness in previous sentence).
Psychology research seemed fun. I took Statistics, Experimental Design, Intro to Personality, Abnormal Psych, and worked in a Psych Lab for a year.
I enjoyed making web pages but for some reason didn't consider that I could do that as a full time job and not just as a hobby.
Political Science seemed fun. I worked in Washington DC for a summer and got a little jaded with that.
The next summer I worked as an intern for a state-wide housing study. I enjoyed traveling to small-town Oklahoma and hearing the stories of what was going on there. There were cities that had a lot of hope and were working to bring businesses there; there were cities that had given up and were just waiting for their old people to die.
I did take lots of Economics, which ended up being my major as I predicted as a clueless high school student. I ended up with minors in Psychology and Political Science.
I graduated without a clue as to what I wanted to do. I liked Economic Development but it seemed like it required more of a Sales personality than what I have. I was extremely burned out on school due to my perfectionism. I was terrified of making the wrong choice for a Masters program so I made no choice.
I moved to Tulsa from Norman to work with one of the companies that was involved with the state-wide housing study I worked on the summer before. I was a commercial real estate appraiser and market analyst. It was data-heavy which was fun. There were aspects of real estate appraisal that were not me, however. I was Not Happy.
So I remembered that I liked web pages and started thinking of that more broadly. I took some programming classes at TCC in the evenings so that I could use that part of my brain and maybe make an escape plan.
I eventually found my first IT job, which later let me jump to my current position of testing software at StatSoft/Dell. StatSoft was acquired by Dell in 2014. I call it my dream job. It combines my natural OCD + analytical personality tendencies with the Math I loved but didn't know I could do anything with with the Statistics I loved but didn't know I could do anything with with the computer programming I had failed to consider as a possibility.
As I plan for the future growth of my career, I try to keep aware of the latest trends in each of these fields. I know a little something about many things but deepen my understanding as much as I need to depending on the project I'm working on.
I *still* don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I'm beyond happy right now with a career that lets me get immersed in both the technology and the subject matter.