I would like to think that my parents did a good job in raising me, providing all the positive reinforcement a young boy needs, including the popular statement from page 826, paragraph 7f, of the parenting handbook, “Honey, when you grow up, you can be anything you want to be”.
How’s that for a torturous open-ended statement for Libra child, facing a lifetime of weighing the pros and the cons of career planning? No pressure there!
Fortunately, life deals us a variety of hands that help shape that wide, open-ended statement into something that gradually narrows into what might seem like a career path. Factors like interest, talent, perseverance and perhaps even things like eye-hand coordination (or lack thereof) gradually eliminate a few options, bit by bit, without really trying too hard.
It is clear that hockey player, pro golfer and baseball player were never on the table for me. When it came to natural affinity, I don’t think I was cut out to be a scientist since Physics was one of my worst subjects.
However, I did inherit (if one can actually inherit these) a head for numbers from my Dad and an affinity for creativity and language from my Mom so I was indeed lucky with the doors that were open to me.
Here they are: The Top 10 Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up
10 – An elevator operator
Yes, I am of a vintage that remembers a time when people were hired to drive elevators. The elevators of yesteryear were not fully automated like today, as the doors needed a human to open and close them. I remember visits to a big downtown department store when I was very young and thought driving an elevator all day would be the coolest thing and that the people operating them had the coolest job EVER! I admit that I was also impressed by the very smart elevator operator uniforms. Unfortunately the fully automated elevator came in shortly thereafter and dashed those dreams… darn technology!
9 – A dentist
This one lasted for a LONG time and I believe it was inspired from Hermey, the elf in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special on television. I remember my Grade 7 composition on “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up” was indeed on the theme of dentistry. To prepare for that composition I spent a few afternoons at the library reading everything available on the topic. The research was hard core (well, about as hard core and scientific as a 12 year old’s research can get) and I knocked that composition out of the park. However, I spent so much time in the orthodontist’s chair in my teens getting my bottom teeth straightened, I lost interest.
8 – A corporate trainer
As an adult, I am very fortunate in not being prone to much “stage fright” when it comes to public speaking. That being the case, when I have had been asked to deliver training, I always thought it was a huge rush (and an even greater privilege) in seeing light bulb moments in the eyes of the audience members when they pick up on the concepts that are being conveyed. Also, there is no greater compliment than when I meet a former student weeks or months later who says that something I said stuck with them and that they were able to apply it, or that I took a complex issue and really made it easy to understand.
I haven’t ruled this one out yet… there is still time.
7 – A priest
There have been many soft signs over the years that have indicated I might have been right for this job. I believe I am good with people, a good listener, naturally inclined toward encouraging people and have known the value of the “spiritual tune-up” one can get from a great church experience. Again, with no real “stage fright”, having to deliver a sermon every week would not have been a problem. There have been times that I wanted to be part of that and thought I had what it would take. However, the vow of poverty was a deal breaker… I like shoes way too much for that.
6 – A ventriloquist
I recently had a weird flashback to childhood, remembering spending time in front of the mirror trying to talk without moving my lips. I thought it was just a sad “only child” thing I did, at a time when we only had 12 TV channels to choose from and 1 TV in the house, but then came a memory of actually thinking I could cut it as a ventriloquist. Thank god I didn’t follow that dream! Ironically, as an adult, I get easily creeped out by ventriloquist dummies, so I can only suspect I was more inspired by Shari Lewis and Lambchop more than any of the other ventriloquist teams of that era.
5 – A pharmacist
After working part time in “your friendly neighbourhood pharmacy” throughout my high school years, one can’t help but get influenced a little by one’s surroundings and the people we work with. For a while, pharmacist was on the list, but let’s just say that my best courses at school were pointing more toward a future in business than sciences, so that fell off the radar.
4 – A hairstylist
Given the amount of time I spent on my hair in the 1980’s and 1990’s, how can one NOT consider hairstylist as a career option.
3 – A manager
My professional career was built on a slow and steady journey, gradually climbing the corporate ladder with the goal of eventually becoming a manager. I was very lucky in that I had received 5 opportunities to “act” for a few months in a management position due to temporary vacancies. After 5 times of trying very hard to make it work, but struggling, often feeling like a fish swimming against the current, I concluded it was not for me. It was great experience and I received compliments on my abilities as a manager but to be honest, I don’t think I was a natural at it.
2 – A Wal-Mart Greeter
With only a few years left to retirement, some people have already been kidding that because of my sunny disposition and relentless cheerfulness, I should become a Wal-Mart Greeter when I retire. I admit, if I ever needed some extra cash, that would probably be the most natural way to go for me, but I have a feeling retirement will be all about what is #1 on the list:
1 – A writer
The idea of becoming a writer only really hit me in my university years even though I always had an easy time expressing myself in writing. This blog has really been a source of inspiration in itself in demonstrating to me that what I can do here is just the tip of the iceberg of what awaits when I can do this full time. I really look forward to it!
Ironically, public servant was not in my Top 10, but in retrospect, I worked for a very dynamic Agency that offered challenging assignments that pushed me beyond my limits and my comfort zones, which helped me become the person I am today. I am proud of several accomplishments to which I contributed while working with great people, some of whom I know will be lifelong friends. For those reasons, and many more, when looking back, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,