Life’s Journey Isn’t Always Within Your Scope Of Imagination

by Katelyn Brockhaus

When it sets in that the path you thought you would take to your dream career isn’t anything like what you thought and you are not even half way there.

Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t expecting to get director-level position in market research right out of college with a corner office and big mahogany desk. Actually I wasn’t planning on being in marketing at all when my journey began.

Growing up, I loved building structures – actual buildings – especially the architecture behind them. Naturally, I decided to be an architect. No one doubted my abilities. I was even voted most likely to achieve my dream (owning an architect or engineering firm) in high school. Yet here I sit, an insight analyst intern at a marketing/technology company. Ha, just a little different right?

How I got here is even more unexpected.

I got an internship my fall semester of my senior year of high school at an architecture firm. Once I saw what they did on a day-to-day basis, I realized I didn’t like architecture as much as I thought.

So, I flipped to the other side of this love and looked at civil engineering. I made this switch because I was always good at math and I wouldn’t be responsible for making the building pretty or the inside flow. I would be making them stand strong and tall (the love of building things). So that spring I took an internship at a civil engineering company and enjoyed it. Later, I started college as a freshman of civil engineering.

Fast forward to the spring of my sophomore year where I had a “mid-college” crisis. It ended with doubting my engineering career path. It felt like my world just stopped and I was lost. I took an aptitude test and the results were interesting. Civil engineering was in the top 10, yes, but the top few were marketing managers, market research, and actuary. Talk about really different than civil engineering. I looked into marketing and market research and thought well I could get to use my creative side and analytical side – Cool!

In my junior year, I transitioned to marketing with a statistics minor. I loved my marketing classes – especially my marketing research class – and the marketing research dream job I mentioned earlier started to come into view.

I graduated and started searching for an entry-level job in marketing research or marketing. It turned out that I didn’t have quite enough statistical background for the jobs I wanted and most open positions were for social media and sales. Being a salesperson wasn’t in the cards and I am terrible with social media. So with that, I went back to finish my statistics degree (27 credits to finish) to increase my understanding of the topic. I also got an internship at Sundog – things really fell into place for that.

So coming up on my second graduation this May from college, I am thinking about how what I imagined I would be doing for a career in high school is very different from the jobs and career paths I am looking at right now.


Although I still believe that somebody, I could still end up with the corner office and that big mahogany desk 🙂