“Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life because that field isn’t hiring.” ~Author Unknown
Last night I realized that ALL my troubles in my work life can be traced back to one question, a string of events really, but always the same question behind them all. In fact, if I’d been able to answer this ONE question…I might have become a different person. My life might be COMPLETELY different. (Or not.)
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s a simple question, but one I’ve yet to answer realistically.
Oh sure, I thought I might like to work in a circus. It seemed like a reasonable idea when I was six. Or, I once thought that I’d like to live on the Star Ship Enterprise…the ultimate form of RVing. You get to travel AND take your home with you, plus you’ve got a great career…as long as you’re not wearing a red shirt. Who watched too much Star Trek in their formative years? Me! Me! Me!
When I got older, I thought I might like to have a horse farm. One week of shoveling manure from horses that weren’t my own nipped that idea out of my head. It’s too much like disciplining someone else’s naughty children, only we’re talking about several thousands of pounds worth of misbehaving in extreme temperatures. Not fun!
I told my 4th-grade teacher that I thought I might like to be a waitress. She told me point blank, “Waitress is NOT a career.” Shesh! She was rather nasty about it too. I don’t think I actually wanted to be a waitress. I just liked going out to eat in restaurants. I did wait tables for one summer to pay for college. It wasn’t the worst job in the world and I never had to pack a lunch. The food was delicious!
In Jr High, I was encouraged to make a career decision, once and for all. I remember a certain teacher in particular who made it crystal clear that we did NOT want to end up like him. He couldn’t figure out what he wanted to be in life so there he was. Stuck. Teaching 6th-graders. As an impressionable 12-year-old, guess how special I felt being in his class? Hubby had the same teacher in Jr High. He remembered hearing the same speech, so I can only assume that this must have been this teacher’s yearly career day motivational speech. Hubby and I both remember similar career day speeches in high school. “You don’t want to end up like me…” Ah, memories!
I put off going to college for a year because I still couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. I went to college for dental hygiene, finished all my prerequisites, and decided I couldn’t stick my hands in other people’s mouths for a living. The money looked good, but my heart wasn’t in it.
That’s how I ended up working in retail and moved rather quickly into retail management. I needed money while I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Twenty+ years of retail management and here I am today. Same question. No answers!
Do I want to be a writer when I grow up? Well…I do write, but to take it to the next level, to call it a career…that’s a lot of pressure. That’s a lot of words. A lot of uncertainty. A lot of taking my life into a new direction and hoping I don’t fall. There’s no net to catch me if I do.