Thursday, February 25, 2016

54. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I think I’ve kind of taken a circuitous route to my current job. I don’t think I ever said, “Oh I want to be a Communications Specialist for a Bar Association when I grow up.” As one of my co-workers says, “Nobody knows what a bar association is until you work for one. I’m going to try and trace all of my “What I wanted to be when I grow ups” in my life.

Second Grade- I remember that wrote U.S. Senator on some worksheet. I’m suprised I even knew what a U.S. Senator was. I think it may have been because I followed the ‘96 election in the newspaper and saw Al Gore and Paul Wellstone speak that summer. I still remember the Vice President made a joke about not wanting Dole Pineapple and Kemps milk. I think I shook Paul Wellstone’s hand that year at Jesse James days in Northfield. Those were the idealistic days. I didn’t realize you’d need so much money.

Third Grade- I wrote football coach. I’m not sure why. I think I started to really get into the Vikings. I would be an awful football coach now.

Fourth Grade- I wrote Arborist in our class yearbook, but it came out as “aborist.” Which isn’t a real word, but it sounds a lot like abortion doctor. Oh the days before spell check.

Fifth Grade- I’m pretty sure this was my cartooning phase. I loved newspaper comics. They were the first thing I read in the newspaper every morning. I took a cartooning class that summer. Yet, all of my drawings turn out to look like blobs with googley eyes.

Sixth Grade- I had to a poster project on this very subject. This time I wanted to be in the Special Forces in the Army. I can remember my dad being really hesitant about this. I now know he was right. I would have been awful in that job.

Junior High/High School- Teacher was the dominant theme here. I thought I wanted to teach elementary or high school history. I remember my dad trying to talk me out of it because of the low pay and long hours. I think I had a romantic notion of it, being inspired by numerous teachers I had.

College- Teacher stuck with me for a little bit, but then some vague notions of political or environmental jobs floated in my mind. Lawyer popped up for a little bit, but then I took a Constitutional Law course and hated it. I also hated arguing and I wasn’t going at analyzing sentence things in a legal sense. I then thought maybe park ranger. I loved being outside.

Post-College- I wanted to work for the National Park Service. I started off in the Maryland State Park Service with Americorps. I thought it would be a nice stepping stone. I thought about applying to some graduate programs in park management, but then I realized that I had too much enthusiasm and initiative to survive working in the government.

Post-post College- After being disillusioned by the park service, I explored a part of my life that I hadn’t considered making a career: writing. I loved my Creative Writing class in undergrad, and I love reading about sports, so naturally, I thought I’d be a good sports writer. And then I applied to grad school for journalism, got in, and got my degree. Which more or less led me to my place in the world today.

I sometimes envy those people who knew what they wanted to do with their lives early in life, but then sometimes I do not.

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