I majored in Film Studies in college. In high school I wanted to go into behavioral genetics, but discovered that I really didn’t want to spend my college years working that hard. I also had no gift for chemistry or math. (Remember that no gift for math stuff, it will come into play at the end). So I went the liberal arts route. Film Studies, minor in History. Had a great time studying thing that interested me, in which I couldn’t get a job in when I got out without relocating and/or taking small paychecks and working my butt off. (1988)
I ended up in advertsing, doing a grunt job, getting paid peanuts, but getting to work on TV commercials and industrial video. The other potion of my job was direct mail and direct mail involved databases, so I became a database admin.
When I left marketing (tired of peanuts), I ended up temping. Temping led to a job as a secretary in Finance Tax and Legal. (around 1991) Computers were becoming big, they discovered I had some skills from my (very light) DBA days with PCs and Networking, and I became a network administrator, PC Tech, computer jack of al trades for those three departments.
One sexual harrassment claim later, the company I worked for decided I’d be better off away from the skirt chasing boss and put me in IT. But my relationship with the company was never the same - they didn’t trust me, I didn’t trust them.
So eventually I left - into that fantastic job market of the mid-90s. Consulted and eventually wound up managing consultants. Part sales job, part manager job, and I still kept consulting. But the job market was beginning to tighten, so I jumped ship.
My current job is in IT. I started it to do server support - especially directory work (the databases from my original job coming back to haunt me). The company is heavy into Six Sigma, and after taking a required class, that interested me. Now statistical analysis is a huge part of my job (remember the not liking math part?).
I have no idea what I’ll be doing three years from now. Three years ago, I had no idea I’d be doing what I am now.
I’d recommend following your nose if not your heart. If you are content doing pretty much anything, start down a path and don’t close any doors. If the path isn’t a good one, start looking for the crossroads. Some people know they need to be something and they aren’t happy unless they are doing that. And there are jobs where that passion is part and parcel of the job. But there are a lot of jobs that high school and college age people don’t even know exists, that there aren’t really majors for - statistical analysis on IT processes, for instance. Or my husbands job of managing taxonomy and content for e-commerce sites.