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Knowing What To Do With Your Life (WOJ Corner)

Andy B's Question: What would you say to someone who does not know what they want to do with their life or what major they want to take in college?

Esther’s Answers: “So in my era, which was in the 70s, what people did was they picked a career when they were kind of in high school or college, and then they had to stick with it. And people actually stuck with their career for 30 or 40 years, whether they liked it or not. People just didn't change.”

“But today, the world has changed dramatically. And so if you don't really know what you want to be, no problem, because what's going to happen is you're going to change.

“Now matter how we look at it, that's how it's going with careers anyway, because there's all this online upskilling that you can train through, and also companies even offer you opportunities to train for something else.”

“So don't be stressed about the fact that you don't know what you want to be. I even have doctor friends who got an MD degree and then decided they didn't want to be a doctor, and they wanted to go into business. And so they're in business now. And they went off and got themselves an MBA as well. So I think what you want to do is follow your interest at the moment.”

“And don't worry, long term, that somehow you're making a big mistake because you're not. You can retrain. I'm working with a company called Sky Hive. Their total focus is on helping you re-skill. So whatever you want to be, do it. And then if you decide you want to do something else, no problem. You can be retrained. That's the way it works today.”

“And if you look at the statistics, you'll see that the average person changes careers at least six times. Yeah. It's great. But I just think about the fact that I'm very unusual. My aim in college was to become a journalist, and then I couldn't get into journalism because I was a woman, and they blocked women in journalism in that era. And then I was like, okay, you guys, I'm going to do it anyway. I'll teach journalism.

“And so that's how I ended up teaching journalism in high schools. And now, a lot of my students are in publications all over the world, and they're still in touch with me. So I still have an impact. And then, I went back to journalism myself and became a journalist for The Huffington Post. And I'm still working with The Huffington Post and with Thrive Global. And in addition to that, I started a company. So I became an entrepreneur. But I'm a really odd duck, because most people my age, they're sort of doing nothing. And my theory is if you do nothing, well, you're going to deteriorate into nothing.”

“Also, I'm an advisor to this really interesting company. So if you want to retrain, just let me know. This company grew from nothing. I've forgotten how big it was when I first met them. It's called Skyhive. Now it's a 40 or $50 million company, based in Vancouver, in Canada. The owner is moving here to Palo Alto, so I'll probably spend more time with him, and I will help him do a lot of stuff to figure out and better conceptualize what he's doing. I really enjoy it.

“A few companies that I work with like that they're all that kind of people. They're young people between the ages of 40 and 50 or 30 and 50. I would say they're all doing exciting things. They just kind of dropped what they did before, and like, I'm going to do it, and then they go out and do it.”


ABOUT THIS SERIES The Harmony Plus Esther Wojcicki’s Corner Series is dedicated to inspiring students and parents to keep searching for their inner power.

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