If you could do it over again...

If you could do it over again, what career would you pick that’s different from the one you have now? The reason I ask is that I’m at a point where I’m still able to choose where I want to go and am looking for insight. So please post your thoughts and experiences, even if you wouldn’t want to change anything.

Hmmmmm. Where you “want to go” today may be different than where you want to go tomorrow. My (unsolicited) advice, live your life in such a manner that you don’t have regrets.

I’ve made some piss-poor choices in my life but I have precious few regrets, career or otherwise.

Good luck.

But usually it seems impossible to live life in such a manner that you don’t have regrets. For instance, if you want to go to college or you want to just have fun for a couple years, there’s a good chance you’ll regret either choice later on. If you did one thing, you’d regret not having fun, and if you did another you’d regret not having enough fun. My college is a bad one because most people don’t regret college, but it’s the first one that came to mind. For now I’m not worried about that and I was just wondering if people wish they had picked a different career and what would they do differently.

I started out wanting to be a French teacher. Then I dropped out of college and joined the Navy - I became an avionics technician. Then I went back to college to get my degree in engineering, and I finished my obligation as a naval officer. Next I was a Veterans Advisor and I taught at a junior college. Then I got a job as a mechanical engineer before transferring to the aerospace engineer group. I also worked in an Intelligence related position. I’m back as an aero engineer, and when I retire in 7 years, I hope to teach - math or science in high school, I think.

Some regrets. Occasional “what if” musings. Overall, I think I’ve done OK. There are no guarantees that the choice you make is the “best” one or the “right” one. All you can do is make the best choice given the situation, and know when you need to make a change. I truly believe if you want to do something enough, you’ll find a way to do it, regardless of your age or circumstances.

*Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention. * There’s wisdom in those lyrics. Make your choices and don’t dwell on what you didn’t choose. Life’s way too short.

FairyChatMom is right (as usual). What you young 'uns don’t realize is that nothing’s graven in stone – and if you change your mind later, okay, well, all your experiences are part of what makes you what you are.

My personal story: academic background is sociology of religion. I did gypsy scholar for a few years teaching at the college level, but when it became clear I wasn’t going to get a tenure-track job I moved back to Philly, where I grew up (and where I had family). Did a few years as assistant to a rare book dealer, and then started at the puzzle factory 10 years and 50 weeks ago. Does my academic training have anything to do with word puzzles? Not really. Do I regret getting the Ph.D.? Not at all.

A friend of mine was telling me the other day about a friend of his who just started med school – at 40. My reaction? Good for her.

No one goes through life in a straight line, it’s all zigs and zags. All you can do is hang on and enjoy the ride, wherever it takes you.