Do you know what you want to do when you grow up?

IMG_0044A group of celebrities on a recent TV program seemed to clearly know their vocation. One of them said, “I saw someone do ‘stand-up’ comedy and at that moment I knew that it was for me”. Another one always knew they would be a journalist and yet another, an actor. It got me reflecting on my choices and if there had been any sense of vocation from a  young age. The short answer is NO! I did have some false starts though, or trial runs…

  1. In high school I took all the right subjects to enable me to become a nurse. I nearly went down that path as I was accepted into two training hospitals in Melbourne. I am so pleased I didn’t go through with it. I think nursing is a very worthy and noble profession but I believe I wasn’t cut out for it. One of the main reasons I didn’t accept the offers was the idea of doing shift work. That had no appeal.
  2. Retail – this was more about paying the bills and enabling me to stay in the City and not return home to Mum and Dad and admit failure at achieving independence. I was reasonably good at sales but dealing with the public day in and day out was pretty challenging.
  3. Teaching English as a Second Language – now this was something that I really enjoyed. I had no training but used my knowledge of language plus some intuition and had some good outcomes.
  4. Office work – again I was self-taught as I didn’t do any commercial subjects at school. Administration is much more attractive with the advance of computers and the latest software but it doesn’t really excite me at all!
  5. A good government job came along in 1993. My skills and knowledge were a good match with the job description but it was really the pay and conditions that kept me in that job for 17 years. I worked in the employment and training field in regional areas of Western Australia.
  6. That brings me up to 2010 when I resigned from the State Government and commenced a journey of self-employment. My work today requires good writing skills, good computer literacy and good customer relations.

Perhaps the idea of a job for life or a vocation is not as relevant today. We need to be flexible and keep learning and adapting to support our relevance and our skills. When I was working in employment and training we used to tell people that most of the jobs of the future have not been invented yet due to the pace of change due to technology and globalisation. I still think that is true today.

So, did you have an “aha!” moment when you realised what you wanted to do, or has it just evolved over the years?



PS I get a lot of pleasure out of my blog – not just the writing but the technology in putting it all together. I probably enjoy that more than I have ever enjoyed the workplace!

5 thoughts on “Do you know what you want to do when you grow up?

  1. What an interesting post. I especially like your closing statement. I understand exactly what you mean, but now my ‘day job’ of dyeing is absolute perfection. I came upon it by accident, and ‘knew’ instantly it was for me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very interesting to look back at this in midlife. I was very forced into things as an only child of extremely overprotective worried parents and because of this went ti college when what I really wanted was secretarial school (this was in the mid 70s when they were still referred to that way). I excelled at anyrhing school related so college was simple for me. I graduated with a 3.8. cumulative but was uninspired in any way towards any sort of career.
    The only thing I EVER really wanted to be from a very early age was to get married young and be a mother. I had a ridiculously bad marriage right after college but it gave me my kids and plenty of money to raise them well despite getting divorced early on and doing it alone. I never remarried and didn’t date because I felt the kids deserved stability and a parent’s full attention. Looking back now I wouldn’t change one thing about how I handled their upbringing. They are all well launched and happy adults (so far) who say I was the most amazing mother ever. 🙂
    So in a roundabout way I suppose I fall in line with the celebs you mentioned who knew what they wanted early. (Sorry this got so long but your post tapped in to things I’ve been thinking about lately!!)

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs in the world and so pleased that you found so much fulfillment in that role :-). I have been a sole parent also and that has its unique challenges. My sons are now 37, 33 and nearly 30, and I have two grandsons as well 🙂

  3. When I see people working in unusual jobs, I always wonder how they came to be there. Like the incline operator a few weeks ago. I enjoyed reading your post, Lorraine.
    Thanks for the like on my blog today.

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