Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Roads Not Taken

If I haven't been blogging a lot in any given time period, it's usually for one of two reasons: I'm depressed, or I'm going through an existential crisis. This dry spell, as you can probably infer from my last post, it's the latter. It's not only my career woes that have got me all befuddled, but also a crippling indecisiveness about housing. So, double mental whammy means double unproductivity! Sorry.

In order to give you something to read,  I'm going to write about something that is a little lighter than my current ruminations, but nonetheless in the same vein--thus entertaining you and saving me from having to dig myself out of my cozy swamp of stagnation.

The topic is: all the jobs that I never made into a career.

A Veterinarian
Despite spending most of my childhood believing quite firmly that I would be a veterinarian when I grew up, a few experiences near the beginning of my college career convinced me that veterinary medicine was high in funny smells, tedium, and sadness, and low in...well, pretty much anything that I enjoyed other than cute animals! And spending my high school years in a house overflowing with cute, fleabitten, hygienically challenged animals had kind of cured me of any desire to spend any more time with them.

A Teacher
When I was young, with my experience of the world basically limited to school and home, I chose a future career that I could understand--teaching. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, this was my answer before I really knew what I wanted. I think. It's hard to remember that far back! Ironically, this neglected career choice once again rose to the top of my list when Veterinarian dropped off of it. Even more ironically, after spending 3 and a half years of college working towards a degree in education, I changed my mind again and wanted nothing to do with it! Talk about existential crises!

A Guinea Pig Breeder
For a brief spell, shortly after my guinea pig April was successfully impregnated by my friend's guinea pig Alvin and birthed three adorable baby rodents, I harbored fantasies of engineering artful guinea-pig matings for a living. I would produce all varieties, in all sorts of colors! I would provide you the guinea pig of your dreams! This fantasy lasted long enough to be the subject of an illustration I made in fifth grade, and then I returned to more realistic plans.

An Artist
Always in planning my future, realism reigned supreme. Although I was extraordinarily fond of drawing and writing (and reasonably skilled at both), I never once wished to be a professional artist or novelist. Although even today, I longingly think of how cool it would be to be an actress, I have to admit that I'm too homely to succeed in that field even if I did have the training (of course I have the talent--it's just latent!).

An Illustrator
An illustrator is the "realistic" version of an artist, and therefore worthy of my consideration. Shortly after my teaching plans went down in flames, I seriously looked into going back to school for a career in scientific illustration. Unfortunately, educational programs in this field were few and far between, and the prerequisites for most of them required at least some college classes in art--of which I had none. I settled instead for going back to school for graphic design. Of all the career choices that passed me by, this is probably the only one I regret not pursuing. But the thought that I probably would have failed consoles me some.

A Linguist
After I took my first Spanish class, I became enamored of the language, and languages in general! I thought about majoring in Spanish in college. I thought about pursuing some language-related career, such as a linguist, or a translator. But I didn't think about it very hard.

Over the years, I've toyed with the idea of other possible jobs—a technical writer in Wisconsin, an assistant to a lighthouse manufacturer in Ohio, a secretary, a college professor, a tutor, a restaurateur (of the ice-cream stand variety), a franchisee, a full-time eBay reseller, a get-rich-buying-just-the-right-stocks kind of investor, a crafter (maker of wreaths and other decorative sundries)—but out of all the options available, I still think I picked the right one.

I may only get to do my chosen work part-time, but that's better than no time. Despite what I said in my last post, I still wouldn't choose a full-time job at a grocery store if it presented itself. I am a writer, a designer, and a website manager! I am a Communications Specialist! And I am proud!


Anonymous said...

Maybe a job is nothing more than something that is tolerable and helps sustain us. We can spend the rest of our lives helping the world around us and doing other stuff that we enjoy (like spending time with people we love)...