Thoughts on Career Planning
For the longest time, I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. When I was young I wanted to be a paleontologist because I was (and still am) fascinated by dinosaurs. Even though I never pursued paleontology, I feel that this childhood love of dinosaurs unintentionally helped to shape my future into the life I am living today. I think that my passion for dinosaurs helped me — at a young age, to appreciate science as the process by which we learn new information about our world.
This love of science helped me to be successful in science classes in my K-12 education, which led me to pursue a university education in biology (my favourite high-school science class — above chemistry and physics). Doing a biology undergrad made me realize that I had no interest in pursuing a career in medical sciences (I don’t have the discipline necessary to get there), but taking courses in anthropology — specifically primatology, helped refocus my science-interests in the direction of environmental conservation. A summer field course on primate ecology in 2012 resulted in a second field course the following year on the west coast of Vancouver Island in marine behavioural ecology.
Learning and caring about environmental conservation and the protection of the non-human world helped to shape my understanding of our society at large, since the destruction caused by human activities is the direct result of human beliefs and an adherence to an economic system that puts profits above all else (i.e., capitalism). Most recently, through my understanding of capitalist exploitation of the environment, I was able to grasp the intersectionality of wider human social issues that are the direct result of capitalist exploitation and our world’s colonial history. Climate change has the same root cause as wealth inequality, working class struggle, Indigenous genocide, anti-BIPOC racism, etc. etc. So in a roundabout way, I feel that my childhood obsession with dinosaurs had unintended downstream consequences for my perception of society at large. In short, I would like to thank Jurassic Park for making me a communist.
In all seriousness though, I never once mapped out my future or planned to live the life I am living today. I’m fortunate that by following my interests I have ended up in a place where I feel content, and I am grateful that I get to live a life that feels in line with my personal values. I recognize it’s a privilege that many people will never get to experience, and that’s a huge part of why I criticize our current society so heavily. Everyone, regardless of circumstance should have the freedom to follow their interests without putting their basic survival at risk. We only have one life to live and it’s a shame that so many of us have to waste the majority of that life doing work we might not enjoy just to ensure we can pay the bills.