Exploring Career Paths, from Co-op and Beyond

During computer programming class back in high school in the Philippines, I discovered how terrible I was both in programming and making flowcharts to outline the logic of my programming code. For the past few days I had various opportunities to speak with people in two categories, fellow students who are almost finished their degree like me, and industry professionals who have extensive experience in various fields in business and beyond. It made me realize that a person’s career path  – including the decision-making matrix – would end up looking like this:

My Potential Career Path - who knows where and how I'll go through it.

Just like the complicated flowcharts that I did have to make in high school.

Talking to my co-op coordinator during the site visit made me realize the same thing that I told her last time, that I’m still not sure on what exactly do I want to do upon graduation. What I know for sure though, is that I wanted to have my final placement in an entirely different environment and in a different field. I’m really hoping that I find an Accounting placement since it is my minor. It would be helpful for me to know if I really like it or not so that this career decision making might get better though the process of elimination.

Through the TASTE program by the BSA, I had a chance to meet with two industry professionals with a fellow student during the week. It was an enlightening experience to hear the various backgrounds of both the corporate hosts and my fellow student who actually is a little older and more experienced from running a franchise. What I found more fascinating is how they got there, hence the flowchart imagery. It’s not every day that I hear about someone who for example, have been involved in the Arts for many years, took an MBA and now is an Auditor. Another one of the hosts pointed out that all she knew was she wanted to take Business. One opportunity after another just came out and she grabbed it, taking her to different places and giving her such an enriched experience. It seems like not knowing what to do upon graduation is not a terrible thing after all. It can encourage you to just let things happen, explore and expect the unexpected.

They also encouraged us to gain an opportunity to work in the three main sectors: Government, Private and Not-for-profit – and another one that they added: Academia. They pointed out that working in only one sector would make anyone think through that one particular perspective. I realized now that as a person pursuing a career, it is also important to gain an enriched and balanced perspective of how organizations and people work. This perspective will be helpful in evaluating our decisions and interpreting issues both in work and personal lives.

I still wonder, all these reflection and experience, with co-op and networking and clubs, they focus on either helping me in my career decisions or gain the skills necessary for them. How does someone’s personal life fit in then? And while contemplating this question, I also contemplate how I will end up filling my version of said flowchart above. I guess I have to get to step 1 first – finishing my degree, (and doing the things in between such as getting involved, getting informed and gaining work experience) before I can start figuring it out.

– Giselle

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