DamnGoodTechnician has a great post up over at LabSpaces on how she got into science, what she wanted to do as a kid, and the path inbetween. Maybe I identify with it so much because engineering was similarly circumstantial for me. I wasn't one of those kids who knew I wanted to be an engineer from an early age. Some of my classmates like to talk to me about how they always liked taking stuff apart or playing with Legos (seriously, who didn't like playing with Legos?) It can be almost intimidating to work amongst these people, and reminds me a little of Mike the Mad Biologist's musings on Is Science a Job or a Calling?
As a little kid I wanted to be a ScientistExplorer, whatever that was. I suppose in my mind it was like Indiana Jones wandering jungles and doing whatever scientists did. I wanted to be active. Maybe work with animals. I must have overlooked my paralyzing fear of insects and spiders. Later on the OJ Simpson trial would inspire me to want to become a lawyer, and then a corporate lawyer so I could earn a ton of money without dealing with defense attorneys. After that and into college I wanted to be a diplomat.
The fact that I'm almost a Real Engineer (yes Pinocchio) could have gone any number of other ways. I was pretty close to going to nursing school. Sometimes life is not linear. I probably would have been happy in any number of professions, but this is how it all turned out. For now anyways. I'm happy with the path I've chosen, even if work can sometimes frustrate any natural love of engineering or design I have.
What about you, dear readers, what inspired you to take your path? Did you always know what you wanted to do?