Last night I was at a class that I’m taking called Financial Peace, which is all about learning how to care for your money and get out of debt. Yesterday’s class was about income. Getting a job that pays well, a job you love, a job that fulfills your need because it’s doing what you were put on the Earth to do. This brought on a lot of difficult thinking and looking at myself.
Looking back, I’ve not had one job that I LOVED… I’ve had jobs I’ve enjoyed, jobs I’ve liked, people who were great to work with, teams that I miss desperately… but the work I was doing has never felt right. I started off with the usual part time jobs, babysitting, Tim Horton’s, McDonald’s, waitressing… then I came to the time I needed to decide what I was going to do with my life. What college I wanted to attend, what career path I was going to take…. and nothing, I had NO clue.
I know now! And I’ll get to that later, I know what I wish I had done, where I wish I had gone, but at the time, I was lost. So when my Mother came to me with the job option she thought was the right one for me (the one that would pay well, that only took 1 year of college and would definitely have job availability) I took the option… I didn’t have another. I never thought about waiting, doing another year, thinking it through and not wasting my money (or rather, that of my mom and dad), as I barely made it 2 months before I dropped out of the program that was COMPLETELY not right for me.
I then went back to high school for a semester, and floundered around a bit. I love theatre, I love working in theater, and I love making costumes. I tried to go to an arts school for costume design, but my average wasn’t high enough. As sad as I was when it happened, it was a blessing in disguise. While I love theatre, love working in theatre and love making costumes, I love all these things as a HOBBY, and had I attempted to make it my job, I would have lost the love of them, what with deadlines, pressure, and working on things that just weren’t in my interest range.
I then got a full time job. It was not a great job, it was hard manual labour, hard hours, and lots of stress. It paid… ok, but it wasn’t great. It was in a building with no climate control, so I froze all winter and cooked all summer, and it was a job where I was standing for 10+ hours at a time. While I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, I knew what I DIDN’T want to do, and so, when I decided that I was going to go back to college, I didn’t look at what would make me happy, what would fulfill my life’s calling, or what I really wanted to do, I gave myself a list of critera.
1. It needed to be a job where I could sit down.
2. It needed to be a job that had climate control.
3. It needed to be a job that was engaging and interesting.
4. It needed to be a job that I felt comfortable and capable of doing.
5. It needed to be a job that had benefits.
And it was pretty much based on that order, with benefits being the least of my concerns, but a nice perk if it was available. So with that I sat down with my local community college’s book of classes and chose Administrative Assistant. It was a 2 year course, and it met all my criteria.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVED my course, but this is where things start to move into the, what I want to do, and what I chose to do. I LOVED my course because while I was taking it, I not only understood what I was learning, but I was assisting others in learning the topics as well. The act of learning something, taking it in, and then giving it to someone else as I taught them was so very fulfilling that it made me realize that ine of the main things I feel very led to is teaching… which… I’m not currently doing, so there’s one direction I missed. I didn’t listen to the urges, and I didn’t realize at the time what I was enjoying, it wasn’t until years later that I realized that I enjoyed the teaching, rather than the Admin work.
So I got a few different Admin positions over the last few years, and I’ve enjoyed the position (for the most part) at all of them. They all had their pluses and their minuses, but I’ve come to realize that this isn’t my ultimate goal. Eventually I will move on from this position, but right now, it’s working for me.
That direction that I know now, that if I could go back in time and talk to my 18 year old self as to what to go into… it would be languages. I love to learn languages, ever since I was in Grade 1 and my Mom put me into French Immersion. Right now, on my own, I’m teaching myself Japanese, but looking back and thinking about if I’d started this 10 years ago, I could have had my French back up to snuff and been able to do my N2 Japanese Literacy Proficiency Test by now.
I realize that that’s in the past, and I need to look forward, so I’m working on speaking French with my friend from Quebec, and I’m working towards my N5 JLPT.
As far as teaching goes, I’m looking towards taking my Microsoft Certification exams which would allow me to train others in the programs, that would take me towards the teaching aspect of me… and add my languages to that, maybe do some training internationally…
While I may not know what my career will fully look like in 5 or 10 years, right now I have a better look at what I look like now, and what I might look like then.
I really think the big question for people with careers, students looking to go into college, and kids growing up is more “Who am I” and not “What do I want to be”.
I think I’ve found who I am, now let’s see what I can do with it.