March 2, 2010 at 1:07 pm #93730
I have an itch that needs to be scratched and it deals with backtracking from where we are now in our careers through the education that got us here (or not) and ending with what we loved to do as kids. I’m curious how many of us are doing what we loved to do when we were kids. I’ll go first.
I loved sports, working in the yard, and ballet when I was young. I picked a college to study dance but switched to geography when I realized I’d never be a professional dancer. I never even considered staying in the Fine Arts in some other capacity. After school, while waiting for a clearance to be a cartographer (never even considered any other job from that field), I worked a short time for a gardener. I loved it but “it wasn’t what I went to school for”. I worked in the gov, left to do some administrative banking, went back to school to get an MA in Geography, learned about GIS, and learned I had a knack for helping other students learn. Took a job with an engineering company and ended up designed GIS education programs. Left that and ended up with a software company as an instructor/training manager. Left that and moved into another aspect of education. So, I don’t do sports, play in the dirt or dance. I’m not in physical education, landscaping, or fine arts. But, I think I finally know what I want to do when I grow up and it will combine my first 2 loves and my teaching capability. If all works out, I will be dancing around the house a lot more.
March 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm #93740
Great topic, Erica! 3-4 years ago, I bought a mountain bike. There are tons of great MTB trails in NC, and the only comparable thrill to riding the trails as an adult was the joy of jumping on my bike when I was a kid and riding around the neighborhood. As soon as the weather gets warm enough, I can’t wait to take the bike out for a spin. Because it makes me feel like a kid again.
The other thing that has brought my life full circle was the fact that I started out my “career” thinking that I wanted to be a Catholic priest. I went to seminary for a year in preparation, but left for a variety of reasons. But I feel like being the GovLoop Community Manager is more of a vocation, having many of the same elements of being a pastor and evangelist. My role is really one of making sure that members grow in their careers by connecting and collaborating with colleagues. And I want to “bring more people into the fold” – as the community burgeons, it’s value becomes even greater to members due to the diversity of perspectives and that number of resources that we all bring to the table.
Eager to hear how others have found that their lives have taken a circuitous path, returning them to their “first loves.”
March 2, 2010 at 1:58 pm #93738
I guess I should have concluded with my actual dream job that I’m trying to make a reality. I find that I’m good with kids, I listen really well when they talk, and I really remember how I wished someone had taken the time to actually listen/look at me when I was in elementary/middle school and see the potential paths I could take that I never, ever considered even when I was older and could have found out. That spark was never fanned into a flame through no fault any anyone. My mom sacrificed so I could go to dance class, she just didn’t want to be the one to tell me I really wasn’t good at it and may want to consider other avenues. That being said, I am now looking into life/graduation coaching in elementary school (got to catch them while the spark is there) with a side program doing school landscaping projects designed and built (with adult volunteers) by kids. It’s still in the infancy stage as I am getting ready to go to school for my landscaping certificate and I have to make sure I’m not stepping on school counselors’ toes. I may bolster this whole project with a masters or phd in an appropriate educational field.
March 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm #93736
When I was very young playing baseball, I dreamed of being a professional baseball player, but gave up that dream when I couldn’t even make the high school team :). I majored in accounting in college, largely because an 8th grade test had indicated I should be an accountant and a senior level Bookkeeping class was the only one I ever took and got straight A’s with little effort.
An interesting twist in the Army (accounting/finance not open when I enlisted after flunking college) sent me in another direction. I attempted to enter accounting/finance after my initial training as a clerk typist (it was now open), but was told that my typing speed was too fast and they would be wasting my skills … go figure!
Fortunately, after spending 5 years as a clerk typist and admin specialist, I was able to switch to another previously identified aptitude … computer programming. There I discovered my true love and expertise … still loving it and even more since I got into web development. I’m quite confident that I would have been truly bored with accounting if I had succeeded in college (it was the other stuff, not accounting, that threw me a curve).
Like Andrew, I also considered professional ministry, but did not get as far as seminary. Now I have the best of both worlds … making a living doing what I love and serving the Lord as a lay missionary doing something else I love.
March 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm #93734
I’m really struggling with this right now, as are most people I know who are my age. We all got out of college and are working in jobs that just…aren’t satisfying. But I have a degree in Ag Engineering, because everyone and every test I took said I would be good at engineering, and I did really well in the classes. After doing some engineering interships in college, I found I really didn’t like the actual engineering. I got interested in public policy and thats what I’m pursuing right now, but I’m not sure this is the right fit either.
I keep reading advice about this that says, just find what you are passionate about and do that. What would I rather be doing while I’m at work? Dancing. except, I’m not great at it. Cooking, Baking and gardening. Again, I’m not great at any of these things, I just picked them up so I’m slowly learning and experimenting on my own. Everyday I find a new cool idea or concept that I wish I could learn more about. I just, I don’t know what I’m passionate about. Other than learning. But you can’t get paid for learning, you pay for it!
March 4, 2010 at 5:22 pm #93732
Totally where you are now Tracy! What I know is that the passion I had for what I love to do has gotten 100% of my attention for learning rather then the 50% I probably applied to my formal schooling. The thing I find about my passions is that they interest me more which means I apply myself more which means I dream more which means I learn more. Do I have to settle some day? Maybe. The day job pays my bills while I learn enough to make my passion my life.
As for those tests that tell us what we would be good at? They are great but only if the list of optional jobs to pursue has more than 100 entries per aspect and they all have to be different – not jr and sr of the same thing. Also, at what point do you realize that you can lie on these tests intentionally or not? As kids we are taught that we have to succeed (get “A”s) because anything less is some form of failure. Kids learn quickly that parents, teachers, society rewards the success not the failure so we settle on a career and pursue it to death even if we hate it because to throw away the education and experience would be to say we had failed and that is a no-no. Kids and adults need to be encouraged to try all kinds of things and fail because it is through failure that we learn new ways of thinking and discover new opportunities.
I have started blending my passions into my daily life in small increments. I work with kids at my child’s school to see if I have the patience and capabilties to work with them on a daily basis. I started with leading an after school program as they are always looking for volunteers. So far I have taught kids pantomine. On my list to offer: manners, gardening, the microscopic outdoor world, write a book and that was with only one cup of coffee.
I have signed up for free business classes to help me understand the practical things to setting up a business. And to put this last one in perspective, I have an MBA. There is a big difference between theory and practicum. I didn’t get my MBA because I love business (success vs failure) but I did learn things about myself such as, I can be a better boss, I’m a leader, and I think I could run a business. What the MBA didn’t teach me was the steps you need to go through to start that business. Next up is a year of free/low cost classes about start-ups, finding a mentor, and investing my time/money in a boy’s clothing store. Why? Because as the parent of a boy, I am really really tired of the lack of choice for parents when it comes to boy’s clothing. As a leader and boss, I think I can inspire my employees to look beyond the mundane of a paycheck and find a life that makes them want to wake up eager every morning to see what new things will happen that day.
So, pursue all your dreams; take lots of classes; keep learning but also applying what you are learning. You are going to fail on some of these – some big time, some small – but each failure is going to make you go “Ah, so that is what that was like, I wonder if I could…..” and from there will come an opportunity to travel a different path on your journey.
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