I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up. In fact, as a kid, I didn’t want to be, well, anything. No ballerina, doctor or astronaut for me. I was kinda lazy and not very ambitious. I was an average student with no real favorite subjects. I did love photography, but to pursue it as a career was just too hard. (See lazy comment above.)
Needless to say, since graduating from college I’ve had a few jobs in a few different industries. I had a college degree and, to my parents’ surprise and delight had only changed my major once. As soon as I got out of school, I didn’t want to do anything remotely linked to that major though. Thus began my job-hopping journey. I was a call center representative at an airline; I worked in a group home for mentally challenged adults; I worked in a video store, a retail store, a grocery store. I never really stayed in one place very long and always had my eye on the next big thing that I was sure was going to be my dream job. I never had a clue what would constitute that dream job. I just assumed it was out there waiting for me. Being a job-hopper gave me a lot of experience with what I didn’t want, but I still never had a clear picture of what I actually wanted, what would indeed make me happy. So many times, the jobs I held were just bill-payers and the best thing that happened in them was the day I was able to quit.
Yesterday, it hit me. I was at work, sitting in our annual meeting about the state of the company. The president was going on about stock prices and strategies for the next 5 years. Usually, that’s the stuff I tune out. But as I sat there, captivated by his speech, I realized that for the first time in years I love my job and I love where I do it. For me, that’s a big deal. That’s like saying I love ice cream. Jobs are just a means to an end. They pay the bills. But this one, it’s a keeper. I started thinking about the opportunity that I have at this company. I’m a manager for the first time ever. I have total control over how I want this department to run because I’m the first one ever to be in this department (I was hired to create it). I’ve always been a “worker” and now I get to be a leader, with full managerial support. I get to write the rules. I have an opportunity to make a difference here. I never realized how much I wanted to do that until I was given permission to do it. I’m 42 years old and I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.
As I watch my daughter grow and explore new things, I love it when she says, “I want to be an artist when I grow up” or “I want to be a songwriter AND a scientist!” I want her to have goals and to be imaginative with those goals. I never want her to settle for something that just pays the bills. I want her to remember that feeling of wanting to BE something. I know from my own experience that until I identified what engaged my head and my heart, I just floated around aimlessly. I’m going to be there with my “been there, done that” life to help her figure that all out. Of course I want the best for her, I’m her mom. But now that I got my groove on myself and know how good that feeling of satisfaction is, I want to do whatever I can to help her find hers.