This is the first of a few posts that are going to be kind of ‘throw backs’ or reflections on some of my old posts. I am going to read an old post I have published and write an updated version.
The first one I am focusing on is ‘How to answer: ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ I first published this post in July 2016 when I was a fresh eyed first year PhD student adamant that I was going to stay in academia. Things have definitely changed as I am now a fourth year PhD student and full-time market/social researcher in the industry. However, many of my previous suggestions still run true. But since going through the job hunt process and landing a job I have a few additional thoughts on the topic.
Work out what you value. Obviously, we work to make an income, we can skip around it all we want but in the end of the day that is the main reason we work. So obviously your wage is important and probably a key factor in the job we take. However, there is other values to consider too. I took a job for less money than I was anticipating (naively I thought an-almost-PhD would give me more $$$), but it gave me other things I value- flexibility, a nice office, opportunity for growth, and a great location! Determine what is important to you and think more than just money.
Find the line between challenging and stressful. It is common to want a job that challenges you- particularly if you like me are doing a PhD, we probably wouldn’t put ourselves through the stress of a PhD if we didn’t enjoy challenges. While this is a good thing to aim for, I think it is important to know the line between challenging and stressful. For me, I love that my job challenges me and is definitely not boring, but it is also not stressful. A PhD has put my body and mind under more stress than it should handle, I don’t want to continue that.
Your job doesn’t have to define you. This is something I am only just considering. I don’t know why, but growing up I have always put a lot of emphasis on my future career- I thought that it would be a really defining feature of me as a person. Which I guess guided me in ways to where I am now. But, I have realised that a job doesn’t define you- your personality, experiences, friends, family, relationships, job, interests, and many other things collectively all make up the person you are.