Its true… the vast majority of people who graduate college don’t end up working in the industry they studied in college. Weather it is because there weren’t jobs in that industry, or because they discovered that what they studied just wasn’t what they liked, a lot of people end up doing something other that what they intended. In my case, I can expect that my profession will stem from a hobby I picked up during my senior year.
See, I studied Computer Information Systems in school. I pursued that field of study because working with computers was one of the few things I could do for long periods of time without getting very bored. It still is in fact. But what I discovered after getting out of school was that few people get to actually work on the interesting aspects of computer information systems, leaving most of us stuck doing uninteresting and tedious tasks. There is little room in the massive CIS industry for real innovation, an event that usually takes place near the top ten percent of the field. What most of us end up doing is paper work… endless test or engineering plans, design documents, process documentation, procedure documentation, all of which rarely gets used.
I have discovered that although I like programming, I don’t like programming in and of itself. What really draws me to code, and to computers in general, is the ability to simplify and automate the tedium in my life. I’m smart enough to recognize the computer as a tool and smart enough to use it as such, but coding for the sake of coding is boring.
Every man wants to make a difference, to know that what he does affects some kind of positive change on what he considers important. And the truth is, I’m tired of spending huge amounts of my time doing things that matter little and affect few people in any visible manner. And I’m tired of being given inordinate amounts of time to do simple jobs. I can’t remember the last time someone besides myself challenged me to do something difficult. I’m drowning in a sea of slugish mediocrity. Ugh.
I can only hope that God sees fit to allow me to do well enough as a photographer to live as one. Although I probably will never stop working in the computer industy in some way or another, I will probably never be satisfied until I’m working for myself, because I’ve known very few people who were willing to push me hard enough to put me close to my potential.
Watashi mo. (Me, too.)
I started as a Computer Science major. After freshman year, I got an internship at Qwest for the summer. I made a ton of money, did a lot of coding, but also didn’t feel pushed and was mostly doing some tedious repetetive work (converting a 2000 line Perl script to Java). Sophomore year of college I hit "Computer Organization" and this class killed all thoughts of majoring in C.S. I also decided I liked using computers as a tool and not so much understanding the fundamental operating principles and such. Now I’m majoring in International Studies and hoping it’ll help me in whatever I end up doing.
I still like computers and especially web design junk (my blog, working on one other site for our Navigator’s group at school) and I’m sure God’s got some reason for it. Other than that though… got one year of school left to see what happens.
Relying on a friend to push you toward your potential will only push you toward your friend’s idea of potential. Only you can realize your own dreams.
On a personal level, I agree with you completely. I don’t expect anyone to push myself in regards to my own goals and dreams. But in a business setting, things are a little different. In a work setting, what you can do is limited somewhat by what you were told to do. If you aren’t given resources to move beyond your current position, then even if you have the drive, you will find yourself frustrated. Good management should work to make sure you are being used to your full capacity. It is the managers role to ask (not demand) the most from you, then equip you so you can fulfill your responsibilities. My frustration is that, in the work setting, few managers have asked for more than mediocrity, although there are occasions when more is asked. I’m not being used, and I’ve been provided with no avenues for iniative in the areas where I’m useful.
You’re a great photographer, Jason. I say go for it!