Keep Your Career Options Open

Author: Emmanuel Pepis, Career Advice

Many of us have been there before. You go to college, you have a desired field you want to study, you graduate, then comes maybe the hardest part: a career track that can resemble a long, winding, and sometimes frustrating road with its share of twists and turns.

It’s great to have goals that you strive for, and you should never lose sight of what you ultimately want in your career path. At the same time, it never hurts to have balance and allow things to fall into place. The results could be pleasantly surprising. And, on top of all that, all are learning experiences in their own forms as well. 

Career paths generally are never linear

There are times we’ll be frustrated by the lack of open jobs. There will be setbacks, and there will be moments where we can take ourselves in a slightly different direction. By making yourself as diverse as possible, you have the potential for many open doors that you may not have thought of when you got your degree. Plus, taking jobs and doing things that you never thought you’d learn or need to know, shows us how much untapped potential is within us. 

Take advantage of opportunities
Of course its important to strive for what you want. You have the power to be in charge of yourself and where you want to be. But you must allow yourself the freedom to become more versatile in your field if and when the opportunity presents itself. No experience is bad experience and it could lead to something you may not have thought was possible. If an opportunities arises, even if it’s not one that you thought you’d ever take, try it out, and see what happens.

Utilize your skill set
Part of the beauty of each person is we all have different skill sets, and everyone should use that to their advantage. Your strengths are what help let you stand out, and most of the time they tend to be what you enjoy the most doing. Use them. If you’re using your skills in your present work, while always keeping your goals in mind, you’re on the right path to getting where you one day want to be. Or, it could lead you to something even better that you may have not thought of before.  

Always remember to network
Networking can truly happen anywhere. Even if you’re not actively looking to change jobs or careers, don’t be afraid to talk to people about what you do or want to do in the future. Talk to your family, friends, current colleagues, former colleagues, and even people you may not know personally. You never know what opportunity will arise, even if it’s one you didn’t know you were looking for.

Don’t think of any job as beneath you
Every job is a learning experience. From bagging groceries to customer service jobs, whatever the position may be, you’re learning skills that you can then translate into another job. Having skills and experiences in other fields, or from jobs that weren’t necessarily originally on your radar, gives you a much broader outlook, and can help your work ethic by approaching things from a different, unbiased perspective.

From Accounting to Animal Care

Author: Claire Greene, Real Life Stories

This is the story of the most difficult decision I have made in my entire life. Every person throughout his or her life has lots of choices they have to make. What career they go into, whether or not to have children, where to live…even small, insignificant decisions such as what to get for dinner take up a big portion of our day.

I have always been an extremely indecisive person. In fact, “I don’t care, what do you want to do?” has never been a rare sentence to come out of my mouth. However, while I believe that logic can be useful in making certain decisions, the most important decisions that will truly affect your life need to be made with your gut and your heart.

If you decide to try dinner at a new place that you haven’t been to before, the worst that can happen is you don’t like it and you don’t order from it again, absolute worst being food poisoning. However, if you decide to go into the wrong major, that decision can completely turn your life upside down.

I have always been good at math. Yes, I know, it sounds sacrilegious, but believe it or not, I actually looked forward to my algebra homework. I always looked at it like a fun puzzle or riddle that I had to figure out. When it came time to apply to colleges, as an always indecisive person, I went in with an undecided major. During my sophomore year, I realized that I eventually would have to pick one.

I had spoken with some of the accounting majors, and they all said that it was a great program with some amazing professors, and being as I was always good at math, I figured I would do well. I was right.


I aced every test and impressed all of the professors with my natural ability to figure out financial reporting. I was even inducted into the international business honor society. It all came very naturally. I didn’t find the homework to be a big pain, and I thought I had finally figured out what I was supposed to do with my life. I was thinking logically. Accounting is something that I am good at, and I could probably make a lot of money doing. This is it.

Ladies and gentlemen, the following is why I believe that internships are a good idea. After I graduated with my Master’s degree in Business Administration, I ended up working as an accounting specialist at a banking headquarters. It was the most miserable period of my entire life. I was typing in the same thing over and over again, all day, every day. I felt so useless in my existence.

Also, one of the most depressing things about the job to me was that I was behind a desk all day, and never went outside. I was on the phone with my mother in Connecticut on the way home from work one day, and she said “It’s been rainy here all day, how about there?” and I reluctantly had to say “I don’t know, I haven’t been outside since seven this morning.” That one sentence made me realize that I was not meant for this type of life. I ended up sinking back into my depression, and I ended up moving back home to Connecticut.

While I was home in Connecticut recovering from my mental illness and trying to figure out what the next step for me would be, I decided to find a fun, relaxed place to volunteer. I had loved Mystic Aquarium since I was a kid. I had great memories of going to see the beautiful animals there, and I had a lot of respect for the care and devotion they gave to the marine life. I decided that would be the place.

I started volunteering in the guest services department, giving speeches and educating the public about the great things the aquarium does. I instantly fell in love with the animals, and I was truly happy for the first time in a long time. I looked forward to every day there, and most importantly felt I had a purpose. My being there and creating a good experience for each guest that came through our doors increased the chance of them coming back, and that meant more money that would go to our animals. I felt that I was meant to be there.


After about a year of volunteering, I was hired in the guest services department. I then realized that what I was meant to do all along was take care of animals. This was a decision I made with my heart and my gut. I was always an animal person since the day I was born. Being around animals gave me a serene feeling that I never had anywhere else. It filled my heart and put a smile on my face.

After being at the aquarium for a total of one and a half years, I ended up getting an internship in the reptile and amphibian department, and then I ended up getting hired as an animal care specialist for Living Exhibits, which is the company that brings in the Bird of the Outback Exhibit at the aquarium. That summer working with Living Exhibits was the best summer of my life.

You never know where life is going to take you. But my point is, life is too short to not do what makes you happy. When it comes down to those really important, life-changing decisions, you can try to use logic all you want, but your heart will tell you where you truly need to be.