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This is an online resource for the book The Teenager's Guide to the Real World by Marshall Brain, ISBN 1-9657430-3-9. The online resources are offered as a free supplement to the book. They help you access the huge library of material for teenager's available on the Web. For more information on the book please click here.

Information about Careers

For many teenagers, one of the hardest questions to answer is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" People may seem to be asking you this question all the time. They are asking you to pick your major in college, decide where you want to go to school, decide what you want to do with your life... The question you might have is, "How the heck should I know???"

There's a funny fact of life that you should keep in mind as you think about your "career," your major in college and so on. That fact of life is this: Almost every successful adult that you see today went through a crazy and totally unplanned path to get to his or her current position in life. Ask just about any adult who you admire and who has a great job, "How did you get where you are today?" You will see how crazy these paths can be. For example, you might know someone who has a great job as a newscaster on TV. When you ask him how he got to be a newscaster he might relate the following story to you:

"Well, when I started college I really wanted to be a geologist, but I ended up having to take a required class in computer programming. I really liked programming, so I ended up changing majors and graduated as a computer scientist. I started out working for IBM and didn't like it, and then began working for a small company. They got this project with a TV station writing software for the news room. One day I got a chance to meet the news anchor for the station and we really hit it off. He liked my voice and suggested I go to broadcasting school. I did that at night for two years. Then one thing led to another and now I am a news anchor myself."

If you talk to ten successful adults, nine of them will have totally unbelievable stories like this. It is absolutely normal, and it is common.

So, in choosing your own career and in picking your major, what should you do? One approach would be to simply relax, find something you like doing now, major in it in college and get a job. Then be on the lookout for new opportunities. Take them when they arise and enjoy life. That would be a completely valid approach. Another approach would be to do some research on different career possibilities so that you can see what's out there. There are thousands of jobs that you have never even heard of before, and one of them might be perfect for you. One way to learn about them is to start asking every adult you know, "What do you do for a living?" and then "Do you like it, and why?" Another is to start plowing through books and material on the web. The sites below will be useful in your search:

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