So Riversdale, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Fascinating article over at Jeremy Dean's blog titled Why Career Planning Is Time Wasted outlining why we (humans, the fleshy bits behind the computer things) are "... are incredibly bad at knowing our future selves".

Key quotes follow but I urge you to read it for the full context and greater goodness:
Everyone has their own internal trade-offs. How much routine do you like: boring but safe)? How much do you like travel: exciting but you'll be away from loved ones? How much do you care about earning more money: and taking a more boring/stressful/less fulfilling job? Whatever the outcome of all these swings and roundabouts along with many more, the reason that deciding what to do with your life is so difficult is that it involves predicting the future.

It turn out that when next week rolls around they generally don't like the variety they thought they would. In fact they are significantly less happy with their choices than the group who chose their sandwiches on the day.

For example, how good would you feel if you won the lottery? Most people predict their lives will be completely changed and they'll be much happier. What does the research find? Yes, people are measurably happier after they've just won, but six months down the line they're back to their individual 'baseline' level of happiness.

This means your future self is probably a stranger to you. And, on some level, you know it

The best strategy for career planning is this: make your best guess, try it out and don't be surprised if you don't like it. But for heaven's sake don't mention this in your interviews.


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