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Struggling with career Choice

I’m currently trying to decide how to gamble my time away. If any of you have been in a similar situation, perhaps you can help.
I’m a 21-year-old cook. 2 years ago, when I was finishing up my first (& last) year at Purdue, I decided that I liked culinary arts waaaaay more than computer science. Following that, I cooked for a couple of years during which I discovered the IDW. And the IDW showed me how interesting Psychology and Philosophy can be. Now, I find myself reading psychology-related books (Coddling of the American Mind, Waking Up, Thinking Fast and Slow, Consciousness Explained, etc) for fun. And I’m annotating them... for some reason. No one told me to do that.
At this point, so many options have entered my head that it’s hard to keep track. I can continue to cook while taking online psychology classes. I can switch to serving while I take online classes. I can cook, save up money, and move to Ohio where I can pay in-state tuition and take traditional classes. Or hell, I can just continue to do exactly what I’m doing: cook while learning about psychology in my spare time and just make something of that I guess. Idk. All I know is, in my opinion, Sam Harris is living the life. Writing, weekly podcasts with other influential intellectuals, and occasionally being invited onto other podcasts and tv shows. I mean... come on. That’s almost exactly what I want to do so how do I get to do that?
How do you all decide what career to take when you love two or three things at once (or go back-and-forth between loving those things)?

BFrydell 5 Mar 27

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Always go with your passion. Anything else will only be to provide food, not spirit to the soul. Might not be as lucrative in financial terms, but you'll love what you do and in the end that's what matters.


Look into hales dale college for a start see wht they offer for free online courses and how the degrees can bee applied later to advance


Most people who get a degree don't work in their academic field. Also, many people make a major career change at least once in their lives, and get out of the initial field. Given that:

  1. What fields have you actually worked in? The theory and idea are vastly different from the real thing usually.
  2. How many people in your field of interest have you actually spoken to? How did they get started? What do they like? What do they hate?
  3. Don't know Sam Harris, so I googled him. Do you have any of his credentials? Have you "earned your stripes"? Why should I as a 47 y/o man think you have anything insightful as a 21 y/o kid about issues I have spend more than twice your lifetime seeing and experiencing? Do you have a book written? Did it win an Award? Was it on the NYT best seller list for over 6 months? He is at least a nueroscientists, so does have some qualifications on how people process and respond mentally to data/experiences.

Hate to be a buzz kill - and if this is what you want to do, I say go for it. Just be aware that sitting on your ass AND GETTING PAID FOR IT - is everyone's dream. Why are you any more special or insightful than anyone else, esp. on complex topics you probably have no first hand experience with (given your age)? Again, if this is what you want to do - go for it, just don't be surprised if people don't listen to your opinions - and have a plan if they don't.

You shouldn't, by default, think that I have anything insightful to say. And I don't have the credentials. The question of whether or not I should need to go to school to get those credentials was what my original post was about...

@BFrydell Why not? Why should I automatically believe anything you say is not utter and complete shit? Not saying you might not be the most brilliant mind on the planet, but you are just another person out of 7billion on the planet. If you are so insightful and brilliant, you would have the credentials and achievement to back it up. That's just the way people think, and life works. Granted, I get that your generation doesn't see things like this. Immaturity, ignorance, social media. Immaturity and ignorance - those two have been going on since the first son rolled his eyes at the first father and told him, "You just don't understand.", so not limited to just your generation in that regard. Social media is a new invention - that seems to have convinced people their opinions and "personal brand" mean something, when that actually mean jack squat, at least w/o something tangible to back it up.

And I realize what your original post was about - I was just trying to give you the real world slap in the face opinion that most people will take. "Writing, weekly podcasts with other influential intellectuals, and occasionally being invited onto other podcasts and tv shows. I mean... come on. That’s almost exactly what I want to do so how do I get to do that?" Like I said, if this is what you want to do, then go for it. If it was so easy to do this and make a comfy living at it, ( 1 ) a lot more people would be doing it (Getting paid bank to sit on my ass, make a few videos, and rant about my opinion on stuff - hell ya!) and ( 2 ) I sure as shit wouldn't tell you how to take food off my table. Sorry you don't like to hear what I have to say - most of the people in my Master's program that never worked in the IT field though they were going to be considered something special just b/c they had spent time in academia. Now you take the stance that you can just teach yourself as much or more than actual PhD professors in the field. Even my fellow master students couldn't check their ego and realize the real world that actually PAYS a salary to a person, will only pay based on the quality of service and work it gets from that person, and these were people with accredited advanced degrees in their field! Experience and proven performance does have a HUGE impact on your salary and the respect people grant you. No easy way to short cut that.

@jondspen Ok I still don't think that you are actually getting my message. Permit me to respond to each of your points individually.

You SHOULDN'T automatically believe that whatever I say isn't "utter and complete shit." That was exactly the point of my reply. That is what I said. Read more carefully. I never said that I was "insightful and brilliant." My original post was, in short, asking the best way to BECOME insightful. And don't lump me in with the rest of iGen. Categorical thinking is a dangerous cognitive distortion and it's leading you to assume that I feel entitled to the good life without working to get there. For the fourth time, I am asking for help on HOW to get there. I recognize that there is a "how."

Regarding my question that you cited, "Writing, weekly podcasts with other influential intellectuals, and occasionally being invited onto other podcasts and tv shows. I mean... come on. That’s almost exactly what I want to do so how do I get to do that?" When I asked this, I did not mean to imply that I think it possible to just start doing it instantly. I wanted advice on how to spend then next phase of my life so that, eventually, I could start doing that. I was expecting advice on whether or not to go back to school, whether or not to keep cooking, how others have traversed this same terrain of unsureness, and anything else that can provide me with some context.

You are correct in saying that I don't like what you have to say but it's not because I don't "want to hear the cold, hard truth" as you seem to think it is. You are not responding to my actual question.

@BFrydell Yes, I am DIRECTLY addressing your question - I just don't think you like the point, which the whole point of my reply IS most people won't give a rats ass about offending you by categorizing you. It's a quick and easy way to put you in a box, which is something we all do, until you prove you are in the wrong box. Is it right to do that - maybe yes, maybe no. The fact is, it's how people think and operate. And honestly, why should anyone give you the benefit of the doubt above the norm for you age, education, experience, etc.? What have you done to deserve it, or proven you are past the normal bell curve of said metric(s)? "Experience and proven performance does have a HUGE impact on your salary and the respect people grant you. No easy way to short cut that." Given that is the way the world works, I guess my opinion on your question is to get a degree, work your ass off, make some really interesting discoveries, write a book that's on the NYT best seller list for 6 months - then, AND ONLY THEN, will people stop and consider your opinion to have value and merit on your podcasts. There are definitely other ways you can luck into that gig, but that will be more to luck than to anything you can do yourself.


Just start talking into a camera dude... your first few videos may suck (mine did) you don't need a post secondary education to do what they do, just a curious mind... yes education and experience help... but people would probably enjoy your own unique experience


Ask yourself what you want life to look like in 5,10,20 years. Do you still want to be cooking in restaurants? If so...stay your course. If not, take some on-line classes and see how it feels. If you continue to be drawn to the studies then consider focusing more on your education. You're a free man and the choices you make today can always be differant than the one you make tomorrow.


These are my own views - not career advice. I have had a series of career changes over the years. Out of high school, I was still working in the fast food industry. But I wanted to work with high power engine systems. So went to tech school and then worked for local flying club on aircraft engines. Then went into the military and worked on jet engines, The military got me interested in politics and history as I was deployed as part of Nato etc. Went into intelligence branch and got a BA and MA along the way. Left the military and then worked in a series of intelligence positions for a variety of orgs in Can, USA, Singapore etc. Loved it all.

BOTTOM LINE: I cannot advise you what to do. But I can say this. My father was a company man who worked for the same company for 46 years. He hated it, but it was a good paycheck etc etc.

I have had good years ($$$) and bad years. So, here is the thing. For me, I would say follow your interests. Better to be a bit poorer one year and be happy, then to stay in a position you do not like.

But that is just me.....


Go look up some Mike Rowe podcasts. Not that there isn't room out there for deep thinkers, but a chef makes money and a college student does the opposite. Produce your art, make money and keep reading.

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