Just wondering how everyone came to know what career they wished to pursue.
That kind of sums up my story as well. I went to graduate school in electrical engineering because I wanted to become a professor - primarily for the teaching. By the time I was starting to write my dissertation it was clear to me for a number of reasons that obtaining a faculty position was not going to be my path, so I started applying for jobs. This was in the US in the late 1990s before the dot-com bubble burst, so companies were eager to hire EE PhDs, even those of us who specialized in areas like plasma physics that are not directly applicable. The first job offer came from a place where one of the engineers who interviewed me came right out and said he did not like working there, so I passed. But I accepted the second job offer even though I didn't really understand what I would be doing there. Why? Because they had excellent people, the company had a great reputation, the pay and benefits were good, and it was very close to where my wife had found a job. Plus, if it didn't work out I wasn't worried about finding another job in that market. I am still at that same company about 20 years later, and I am enjoying it now even more than ever. I have been very fortunate.I didn't select my career, I fell into it.