Career path

Apparently the only time I blog is when I find an interesting link up to join. Need to remedy that although admittedly blogging is a challenge while in the charge of a very active almost-8 month old!

Today’s link up is topic is “what I wanted to be when I grew up” and what I became.

The earliest career that I can remember wanting was ‘kindergarten teacher’ , I was probably 7 or so when that dream began. I was VERY specific that it had to be kindergarten as I knew the work offered up in first grade would be too challenging for me to teach, the topic of particular concern being “telling time”. I felt much more comfortable with the kindergarten curriculum 😉

In high school I had vague aspirations to “work in publishing”. Partially inspired by my life long love of reading, but if we’re being TOTALLY honest it was mostly because it sounded glamorous and I loved the idea of living in New York, wearing fabulous outfits and having lunch meetings with famous authors. Cause if I had gone into publishing that totally would have been what my life looked like 😉

In college I majored in International Studies as I sort of thought I might want to work in the political world. But although I enjoy keeping up on politics very much, I did not enjoy upper level political science course work very much. But what was great is the degree program was very broad to the point that almost anything with a foreign flavor ‘counted’ toward my IS degree. So I took an odd potpourri of coursework that included classes in Russian history, Hinduism, the geography of the African continent and  an anthropology course concerning the islands of the Pacific. Basically anything to avoid the dreaded political theory courses. So I have some pretty far reaching trivia knowledge 🙂

Post college I worked as a sales rep for a high end appliance distributor–Viking ranges, Sub-Zero refrigerators and specialty European products. I enjoyed the job because although decidedly not as glamorous as my HS publishing fantasies it did involve taking clients out to dinner, dressing up (sometimes in cocktail attire, yay!) and had perks like a car allowance.

The economy began to turn and selling $7000 refrigerators didn’t seem as appealing so I went back to school to pursue an English degree (which should have been my original major). I was unclear on what career path it would land me (considered teaching) but was so enamored with my classes, the outcome didn’t seem important. The two years I spent as an English major were some of the happiest of my life–read amazing books, met incredible people, felt challenged in all the right ways, it was GREAT.

Did I finally fulfill my 20 year dream of publishing? Nope I did what so many English majors before me have done, I worked in a restaurant. For the next, gulp, decade I worked in restaurants sometimes as a straight up server and sometimes as a manager. Personally I preferred my time as a server as the money was actually better than as a manager. I enjoyed the hours (can’t beat a 4 hour work day!) and I met some of my absolute closest friends through restaurant work.  Honestly though it began to feel to easy mentally but too difficult physically.

My next pivot was entering high-end piano sales working for a Steinway franchise. This certainly fulfilled the challenge I was craving as I do not play piano! But the owner of the franchise had once owned a high-end appliance store and so we’d known each other a bit during my appliance days and have a similar network of acquaintances.  Honestly though I think I swayed the hiring decision in my favor when I included in my post-interview thank you note the fact that although I realized I didn’t seem like a natural fit for the job with my lack of piano experience, my hero has always been Julia Child who didn’t learn to cook until the age of forty, a wonderful reminder that it is never too late in life to reinvent oneself. Or perhaps I got the job on the strength of my tenure as a middle school flutist in the mid-80s 😉 I LOVED the job–many days it simply didn’t feel like work as our store hosted so many musical events. I got to meet some famous-ish musicians.  I began piano lessons which were an enormous challenge but so rewarding. The job sometimes required writing which I loved. Every day was different–a great blend of clerical duties, marketing and sales.

And then…I became pregnant. I worked up until a couple days before my daughter’s birth and resigned (with the intention of returning on a part-time basis). But with Julia (yes partially named after Julia Child) here I can’t imagine spending my day apart from her–being home feels right, it feels important. When she is older I will likely re-enter the workforce but for now my work at home is the most fulfilling job that I have ever had.


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