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Career paths aren’t always straight and narrow.

Somewhere in the later years of high school, it occurred to me that I should think about occupations that I might want to consider. I liked English class, but couldn't see any utility in it as a career.

Science was attractive, and one of my closest friends in chemistry class had already determined that he would be a physician. But all I could imagine of that choice was four years of very hard study, another four years of the rigors of medical school, followed by the requisite internship, if not several more years qualifying in some medical specialty, before I could get on with making a living.

A high-profile career twist: from medicine to politics.

Perhaps you can appreciate my astonishment at learning that there are 17 physicians serving in the U.S. Congress, 14 in the House of Representatives, and three in the Senate. Five are surgeons of various kinds; the remainder sample general practice, family or emergency medicine, OB/GYN, and ophthalmology.* The ophthalmologist, Senator Rand Paul, is now a declared candidate for the U.S. presidency.

Were the eight years of school and the several years of internship and residency preparation for a career in politics? Do any of them regret the years they spent studying and the hours they spent, unpaid, in hospital wards and emergency rooms? Perhaps more importantly, what example are they setting, and what can we learn from this?

Career twists and turns make life interesting.

Careers are rarely smooth progressions from young adulthood to retirement or end of life; they may be populated with disappointments or failures as well as unexpected opportunities.

The bottom line? Careers are not so much chosen as they are experienced and enjoyed.

*Source: American Medical Association Patients Action Network 


About The Author

Dr. Donald Zytowski

Dr. Donald Zytowski has served a key role in facilitating internal and third-party research for Kuder, including development of new assessment and content for the vast database of career biographies in the Kuder® Career Interests AssessmentTM. He is a well-established counseling psy ... read more

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