So apparently, I should have been a funeral director.
In high school, I took a career aptitude test. I knew by ninth grade that I was not cut out for science. I figured the only other path open to me (that might still be considered respectable in my parents’ eyes) was business, and I was ok with that. But I thought I’d better validate my choice with this aptitude test. You can imagine my dismay when I was given the results. At the time, I laughed it off without taking any time to try to understand how this profession could be the chosen one for me. As long as the test did not tell me I was meant to be a genetic scientist or a physicist, I figured I was safe. Business it would be!
Once I started university, I chose to major in Marketing. After my first semester with what was probably one of the worst marketing professors and most poorly written marketing text books (co-authored by my prof), I became so disillusioned. I remember coming home one day and crying in my room, wondering what I had done. Had I completely screwed up my life? That day in ninth grade when I had definitively decided I was not going to take any chemistry or physics was coming back to haunt me.
Management as a major was still an option but I couldn’t figure out what I could do for a living with that. Accounting or Finance? No way; I hated working with numbers. I panicked and was feeling desperate. I decided to take another aptitude test.
I was already dreaming about how the results would help me to justify to my parents the decision to move to a Journalism degree, when lo and behold, I was told once again that I was ideally suited to be a funeral director. The counsellor explained that it was likely because I scored so high on empathy and ability to comfort others. This is true. I pat myself on the back for being empathetic, but it’s to a fault. I cry on a whim: at the stupidest commercials, for any victim in a disturbing news story, and at bad wedding speeches (shockingly, I held it together at my own). Can you imagine me as a funeral director? I’d be so empathetic I’d be offering the funeral services for free and crying myself to bankruptcy.
I never did make the switch (what would I have switched to anyway? Is there such a thing as funeral director school?), and it turned out that by second year university, I was loving all my marketing courses and thrilled that I had stuck it out. But with the baby boomer generation reaching that certain age, not following the funereal path could turn out to be the worst financial decision ever – I might have made my fortune!
Were you ever advised to follow a career path different from the one you chose?