In this recent Ask a Manager post, the commenters had a side discussion about predicting career paths. Five years ago, did you plan/expect to be where you are now?
Five years ago, I was an active lurker on the geoblogosphere, and was getting exercised enough to consider writing my own posts. The five-year anniversary of this blog is coming up in a couple of months!
But I digress. Five years ago, I was in the weeds of my fieldwork for my master's thesis. I was more worried about my immediate future (finishing!), but I had a couple vague ideas of what to do after graduation. I would move to my sweetie's city as a permanent base. I would do something environmentally-related using the stuff I was learning in grad school, but I was not planning on going back to environmental consulting.
So did my predictions pan out? Sort of... sideways.
I did end up using the stuff I learned in grad school, but not right away. I spent a couple of years spinning my wheels, career-wise, doing lots of different things that were not what I went to school for. And my sweetie and I had a revelation and moved somewhere completely different.
So I'm in a different region, in a different corner of the environmental consulting biz, but I am doing really interesting stuff that uses what I learned in grad school.
Where will I be in 5 years? I am a little bit superstitious about voicing future plans. But I hope that I will still have my current gig (I really like where I ended up!) and that I'll grow into an expert in my little corner of geology and contamination. Specifically, I hope to be awesome enough that when folks inside and outside my organization run into a particularly knotty remediation problem, they say, "I know, let's call Short Geologist! She's perfect for dealing with this!"