As a kid, what job did you dream you would have as an adult? What job do you have now?
As kids, we often fantasized about the jobs we would have when we were all grown up. I can’t be the only one who thought I would be a famous doctor who discovered the cure for cancer while I danced ballet in my spare time. Or that I would be a firefighter or an actress or any number of things depending on the day of the week.
Looking back, I can’t remember any particular profession that stood out as my “dream” job. My dad was a farmer. My mom was a singer. I liked doing chores on the farm, but I never wanted it to be my life. Singing was fun and I had the voice for it, but I got such awful stage fright that singing solo in front of a crowd was a nightmare. Exciting, yet terrifying.
Storms were like that, too. I was always super scared of thunderstorms. In some ways I still am today, I’m just better at being brave now. But even back then, I was fascinated by them. Storm Stories was my favorite tv show. I wanted to be a storm chaser. I wanted to learn all I could about the weather so I could drive after storms and film them.
After my dad died and my mom remarried, we moved away. We moved over the Christmas break and rang in the new year at a new school. It was my first year of middle school and my new English class had a weekly journal period. In my Behind The Name post, I talk about how this was when I first realized how much I enjoyed writing.
I’ve always been creating stories. When I was a child, it was in playing pretend. My stuffed animals always had the best drama unfold before bed. I almost never went to sleep without some dramatic rescue or betrayal or death of my animals. (Side note: Maybe that’s why I still write so late… the stories have to get out of my head before I fall asleep.) Then in middle school I started writing down my stories. And I’ve pretty much been writing ever since.
So how did I end up with a degree in Applied Mathematics and a minor in Engineering? Well math came just as easily to me in middle school and high school as writing did. I tutored kids in math. My guidance counselor encouraged me to take as many AP math and science courses as I could. Urged me to apply to prominent mathematics BS programs. I was so good at math. A math degree was the logical direction.
Except I didn’t know what to do with it. I had tutored and mentored kids to better their math grades, but I didn’t really want to teach. The higher level math courses in college were dry and uninteresting to me. I didn’t really care about theory, and I didn’t want to do research. My engineering electives were far more practical and interesting.
I’ve now been working in engineering outsource for a little over 2 years. It’s still not my “dream job” but it does pay well, and utilizes the knowledge I worked hard to learn for my degree. Moreso now that I’m on a more hands-on team working on the shop floor with the physical pieces rather than the “pencil pushing” job I had been on. Not that the work I was doing wasn’t important (customer needs to know how much their products are costing them to make), but it wasn’t very engaging. Push buttons. Generate report. Organize data and create presentation.
To be fair, it took a long time to get the code to the point where it was as simple as “push button, get report” and I did learn quite a bit about VBA and SQL and automation. My (previous) boss did 98% of the heavy lifting on that, but we did work through it together at times so I could expand my skills and understanding. Those days were fun. He’s ridiculously smart (quite frankly he’s too smart to stay much longer and if he leaves, our team will more than likely dissolve and I hate change and don’t want to think about that MOVING ON) and learning from him is an experience. I just don’t think I want a future in coding. (Though I suppose it’s a form of writing.)
All this to say, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. It’s becoming clearer, but I have many doubts that are holding me back. Although, it was once put to me this way: if you quit your job today and money was no object, what would you do? If I was asked this today, my answer would unequivocally be “travel and write my novel.” So yeah, I guess writing has always been my dream job. I’ve just gotta work up the nerve to tackle it head on.
And now it’s your turn. What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you do now? Maybe you’re not grown up yet and are still figuring it out. That’s ok too. I don’t think it’s all that secret, but we’re all just making it up as we go. You’ve got time to think about it. It’s not a race. You’ll get there when you get there.
That’s it for me tonight. I was wrong yesterday about the twofer. That’s tomorrow’s post. I forgot the order of the prompts while I was writing last night. Whoops. It’s been a long week, sue me. (Please don’t sue me.) Have a great night! I’ll see you tomorrow!