Style versus interests, and your future

Recently, I was thinking about careers. For people starting to think about careers, I suggest making a clear distinction in your mind about style versus interests.

What do I mean by this and why even mention it? By style, I mean how you like to do things. How do you like to explore your interests? Such ways include working on large projects with others, exploring in solitude, creating audio or video explanations, and writing blogs. Your style is not what you like but how you like to express it.

For example, one person might prefer blogging as a way of exploring math while others might like giving lectures or writing papers. Your style is the complex interaction of different ways of exploring.

I emphasize style because people usually don’t give it much thought and stick with defaults. For example, if you like math, you should become a research mathematician. If you like programming, you should become a programmer at a FAANG company. Or whatever. The vernacular we use for job titles seem to influence the way we go about pursuing means of living or careers.

However, your style may be quite different than the stereotypical namesake of your interest. Indeed, you might love programming but detest most typical programming jobs, or you might like singing but would never enjoy the spotlight of being a famous singer. Therefore, I suggest focusing on style rather than interests since your interests are very easy to figure out. Whereas, how the careers of modern society align with styles can be quite opaque.

To figure out how your style might guide you, I suggest examining the daily routine of potential careers. For example, take being a programmer. Many programming jobs require sitting in front of a screen for hours. Do you want to do that? If not, you might hate being a programmer. Whereas, you might enjoy the daily routine of running a small business much more. Yet, you can still healthily explore programming in that context by writing small apps you might need.

Another example is style of working. You might enjoy working by yourself. But, if you join an organization where the culture involves chatting all the time about problems, that could be very disruptive and annoying to your energy.

Style can be easy to ignore because we are programmed to chase after incentives and accomplishments. Therefore, any path to a final destination might seem exciting and worthwhile. And, we might be fooled into thinking the destination will be great just because the journey is great, which is a fallacy.

Concluding, I suggest taking a very close look at your style and keep it in mind when figuring out your future.

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