This is a true story that happened recently in the county where I work. A child came to school and brought in a payment in an envelope labeled bookkeeper. Guess who he gave it to? The librarian. You gotta love kids.
This story got me thinking about jobs and our perception of them. One of the difficulties we all face in determining our career path is our limited knowledge of possibilities. This is especially true if you are trying to change fields or maybe even get started in that first job. So how do you overcome this lack of knowledge? I think that we need to research the possibilities but not in the same way that you might develop a research paper for a college class. Of course you might start with exploring different job possibilities on the web or reading books about different careers. Ultimately though I think you have got to move out of the typical research mode, get off the couch, get out of the house and begin more of an experimental approach. Maybe you begin talking to people in fields that you are interested in, join professional groups, develop a network and ask if you can shadow someone on their job to see if it is what you would like to do. Could you volunteer for an organization or business to see if you would really like this line of work? Too often people determine their career by reading or learning about a glamorized impression of what it would be like, only to be unpleasantly surprised at the actual nature of the work. Or they enroll in a degree or certification program spending time and money, only to find midway through that it is nothing like what they had in mind. I think it is too bad that the old apprenticeship way of learning about a job has become a rarity. Experience really is the best teacher and trying on a job before committing to it as a career is often the best approach. Otherwise, you might find yourself working as a librarian when you were more suited to be a bookkeeper.