Why Talk About Careers…and Ice Cream?

Remember when you were little, or even in high school for that matter, and thought “I’m gonna be “X” when I grow up?” and thought it would be that easy. You’d just graduate high school, possibly go to university and bam! Your dream career has fallen in your lap?

A part of me wants to go a school and talk to a bunch of kids in a bunch different grades and ask them what they want to be when they grow up and WHY. I don’t really recall the why of a lot of my thoughts as a child. I remember when I was quite young, probably 7 or 8, dressing up in my mom’s clothes and taking my dads briefcase because I was going to be a lawyer when I grew up. I don’t really remember why I wanted to be a lawyer but I do remember my Mom telling me that lawyers work long hard hours that could be difficult on a family. So I changed my mind. I was going to be a teacher. Teaching is a wonderful career that works really well with a family. That stayed the dream until I graduated high school worked with kids for a summer and went, “ya I don’t think teaching is really for me” and I have since been on a hunt to find that dream career and discover what I really want to do.
I can think of only a few friends who actually became what they set out to do. All are teachers except one who is a Speech Language Pathologist (and probably horrified at my poor grammar…) To be honest I don’t know if she (the SLP) grew up wanting to do that or not but she has wanted to do it for the 4 or 5 years that I have known her and she worked her ass off and just graduated and was offered a great job in her field. I have to brag about her for her a bit because I am so dang proud of her. But as they would say, “He’s Just Not That Into You” she is the exception, not the rule.

But schools and career fairs love the exception! “Look at this wonderful young woman,” they say, “she worked her butt off and she did it!” Well guess what? Lots of us work our butts off and don’t get it, and lots of us are still trying to figure out what it is exactly that we want to do, while others are busily working in “their field” trying to remind themselves why they went this route in the first place.

When I was younger my Dad told me not to date exclusively too young because you marry who you date and it’s important to find out what you really like in a mate. He told me to picture the dating scene as a Baskin Robbins (much more appealing than an ocean if you ask me, he’s kinda brilliant at getting his point across). He asked me what my favourite kind of ice cream was and I said, “Mint chocolate chip” and dad asked me, “How do you know that? Until you have tried butter pecan, and strawberry cheesecake, and all the other flavours they have how do you know that mint chocolate chip is your favourite. Until you can honestly compare with all the flavours, mint chocolate chip is just one you really really like”
Well I applied that rationale to jobs. Gotta try them all before I pick. Isn’t that what being a twenty-something is all about? Finding yourself? Ok I haven’t done this in a long time, but let’s see if I can list all of the jobs I have had in the last 10 years. Warning: it’s going to be shocking for a lot of you.

Fairy at Prairie Gardens Festival (Played with kids), Babysitter, Wendys (cash and sandwich maker), College Bookstore ( cashier and customer service also where I met my now husband btw), Extra Foods (deli, made sandwiches, cut meat, made the gross rotisserie chickens), Sobeys (cashier), La Senza (well I only worked there one month and I pretty much just straightened up the panty table for 8 hours a day…not fun). What’s next? I worked at Boardwalk Rental Communities as a leasing agent/customer service rep. Then in recreation providing free summer programming to kids, then in a new position in recreation providing after school programs for kids. I worked for the Coliseum first as guest services, then as security. Then I worked for a conference center as security. Then I worked for a mall as security. I worked in a daycare. Then I was promoted in recreation to a coordinator position. Next I worked for the University I was attending as a research assistant in one of the psychology labs. I worked at Party City. I worked for another daycare, then was promoted with recreation again to a coordinator of the after-school programs. I accepted a job as a leasing agent with re-max but ended up having to recede my acceptance before I started due to some life changes. I have worked for Just Energy as a door to door 100% commission energy sales rep and at Babies R’ Us as a cashier and customer service rep. Next Alberta health services as a field interviewer and finally for a company working one-on-one with children with disabilities.

That’s all I can think of…but I am sure that there are more. So what is that? 21 jobs (or 24 different positions if you count promotions and lateral moves) in 10 years? To put that into perspective most of these jobs overlapped (as in I was working up to 3 jobs at any given time), while I was a full-time University student taking 5 classes per semester. Also, in case you are wondering, of all of those positions I was only fired from Babies R’ Us and they fired me cause I missed 2 shifts because I was sick. Not exactly classy on their part but I didn’t care to fight them on it.

Since graduating high school I have also volunteered with the Police in the victim services unit, with UNICEF, a probation office, in several capacities at the University, and various random events throughout the community.

I’m not crazy I wouldn’t spew this all onto a resume. I get how it looks. But I have learnt soooo much from these experiences. I have been called crazy most of the last 5 years for my inability to sit still. While most students are able to focus mainly on school it just financially wasn’t an option for me. And I worked in recreation on-going for all of those 5 years.
Where am I going with this? I’ll dig deeper into it next time but I like to think I’ve tried pretty dang close to all the ice cream flavours and I have a pretty good idea what I would like to do with my life once I’m ready to go back to work after baby. Choosing a career is such a huge dilemma. This where I am going to spend 40 hours a week for the next 40 years! Just as choosing a spouse can’t be made on a whim either can a career. If you don’t love what you do, you’re doing the wrong thing.

so so true!


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