Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My List of Dream Jobs

This is the list of things I wanted to do with my life in terms of work.  This is why I have angst.  This is why I wish I could retire right now.  My soul needs feeding.  Apparently it's quite the beast.  It's never fully satiated.  

High School Teacher
University Professor
Bar Girl
Truck Driver
Wedding and Event Planner
Interior Designer
Clothing Designer
Real Estate Agent

Everything on the list that I have struck through is everything I am today, or have done in my past or in the case of teaching highschool, loosely interpreted.  In that case, I spent many months as a Teacher's aid on a volunteer basis in the hopes that it would help open a door for me at Teacher's College.  It never did, I never got in to that post graduate work, and well, I shut the door on teaching for good.  Most of this, I've never been paid to do.  When I have been paid, it's been a pittance.

If you stretch the imagination and take the "career" element out of it, I've done all the highlighted things, only for myself or my family in my own home or when I was in school for extracurricular fun.  And some things like in the case of dancing and nursing, have in no way shape or form, resembled anything close to even looking professional.

This leaves me with owning my own restaurant, driving a big rig and becoming a University Professor somehow.  But more than this, it shows me just how satiated the beast of my soul should truly be.  The only thing it hasn't received is validation that I am all of these things and remuneration for the efforts in cash.

Cash in itself is the objective validation that drives the western economy, and which has translated itself into that fuel that feeds our collective growth desire to do more/be more.  It may not be how things SHOULD be, but it is how things are.  And I can tell you personally that the people whose approval means the most to me, are the ones who often provide it, balance it with a dose of reality, but who are equally invested in my outcomes.  So, the weight of that validation is always trumped by a stranger's.  Knowing that what I have to offer the world is recognized and coveted by complete strangers with nothing to gain from it, always means more.  Maybe this is why my beast of a soul is so hard to quiet down.

In addition to all this, I'm not even saying that either of us (the beast nor I) actually still want to do all of this.  But I can tell you that we always wonder "what if?"  Would things be better, happier, funnier, wealthier, more flexible, more interesting, more engaging, challenging...more anything than what I am doing today.

The work I do today leverages most of all the skills it requires to perform any of these particular jobs.  I write a fair bit and map projects out.  Research my evidence before making recommendations.  I exercise extreme patience and teach people as I go along.  I solicit buy in, and coordinate efforts.  I am a Program Manager.  In some circles they call me a cat herder.  In others, I'm just a project manager.  But I influence all levels of the organization without the added tumultuous responsibility of having to directly manage people.  At the same time, I'm not paid to be really creative.  I can't look at what I do every day and say ahhh - job well done, and the world will be able to look upon it and just plainly feel better about themselves, the world around them.  My creativity is stifled, and I lack the right validation for my work and the challenges are all wrong.  My biggest challenge in a given day is not saying the wrong thing to the wrong person, instead of coming up with a truly unique dish, or a signature cocktail, or better yet, without making my own art to add that finishing touch to a room.  It's never about watching the light turn on in a student's eyes when something you say sparks the creativity inside them.  My job is dark, dingy.  Black and white typeface behind the glare of a laptop screen.

So this blog acts as my validation by strangers.  It gives me that raison d'être despite the fact that it doesn't come with a paycheck.  Maybe one day it will evolve to something that does.  Who knows?  Perhaps when I finally retire and can devote the time it truly needs to develop into a career, there'll be an appetite for what I have to write, and a way to collect on the proceeds.  I'm not optimistic about that, but as long as it helps keep me off meds and the shrink's proverbial couch, I'll take it.

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