What do you want to be now you’re a grown up?

Do we ever stop asking ourselves this question? People are changing careers and lifestyle more than ever these days, whether that is due to the knock-on effects of the recession or just personal epiphanies, but when it comes down to it which of us ever truly feels like a proper grown up inside?

Remember careers day at primary school? (elementary). There were always a lot of firemen, teachers, doctors, nurses, the odd journalist, secretary and perhaps a train driver or two on the aspiration list, mainly because this is what we found as examples in children’s books or were part of our everyday lives in the 70’s and early 80’s.  Nowadays it wouldn’t be untoward to have a nuclear physicist, internet tycoon and plastic surgeon in the mix, depending on where you live!

Personally I wanted to own a sweet shop, lollies! But then what kid doesn’t? By my tween years I was tossing up between an Artist, Architect or Archaeologist…..and seemingly had an obssesion with professions beginning with A.  16 came along and I was dead set on hotel management as it seemed like a glamorous world of fancy dinners and high-flying guests.

By the time I was due to leave school and enter tertiary education I had no idea what I wanted to be anymore, so I went to teachers college.  I lasted exactly 1 year.  Don’t get me wrong I loved the actual teaching practise part, interacting with kids and helping them learn and grow.  It was more the thought of life-long homework for me, marking, writing reports, planning extracurricular activities that had me hanging up my white-board marker.

And so it went on for most of my 20’s, dallying along different career paths and taking courses on whichever new passion I stumbled upon, which have included but by no means limited to:

Waitress, bartender, wilderness lodge assistant, ski lodge assistant, homeopathy, Japanese gas station attendant, door to door salesperson, caterer, newspaper columnist, cosmetics counter manager, editorial assistant, massage therapist and spa trainer, English as a foreign language teacher, rafting photographer, bar hostess, Internet marketing and PR consultant – not in that order!

I often read stories in magazines about how *Frank, 41 gave up his life as a city banker to run a surf shop or organic bakery in small town Cornwall or *Mary, 32 left her high-flying career as a fashion buyer for Harrods to start a Yoga studio in Thailand etc etc, and rather churlishly I think ‘twats’ as they gaze smugly back from the page, radiating health and happiness. Actually I am just jealous that A: they had the means to follow their dreams and B: they could decide which one to follow!

These tales leave me twitching impatiently, waiting for my own lightbulb moment and hoping I have the gumption to follow it through, if and when it comes along. Well truth be told, I am incessantly hatching cunning plans to start one business or another and have a stockpile of ideas stored in my mental library which may well be unleashed one day in the future…..if only I can combat the equally long list of cons that accompanies it. It’s the same with would-be hobbies, the list is long and I never seem to make much headway on it. Although I guess starting a blog has ticked one thing off for the time-being and I have been kind of busy with this whole being a mum thing, which is way more challenging and rewarding than any professional role I’ve held.

There’s some new research into the way humans continue to learn in middle and later life, even languages and musical instruments can still be mastered with just a little more effort and immersion than we usually allocate to new interests in our increasingly overloaded lives.  Apparently you still can teach an old dog new tricks.  I’m not sure if the same can be said for learnt personality traits however, so it looks like my annoying habit of constantly being contrary could be doomed to remain with me, although maybe not 😉

As the age of retirement becomes higher and higher, it means that on average someone in their late 30’s – early 40’s isn’t even halfway through their expected productive working life, so surely a change in career and entrance into a new field should be well-recieved in a person of maturity and experience? Something tells me this is just not often the case and as a first-time mum in my mid 30’s with the possibility of another child joining the ranks some time in the next few years, I do wonder how this will affect my chances of re-entering the full-time workforce later down the track.

But all of this considered I guess the main thing I want to be now that I’ve grown up is happy, and whilst work choices play a large part, I have come to realise that a stable loving relationship and motherhood have bestowed this on me, and believe me it’s taken a while to get here.

But hey, at least I can still daydream about being a fabric designer…..Osteopath….. Astronomer….see it always comes back to the A’s, which is why I know Io is a great match for me as he wanted to be an Artist… Acrobat….Actor….Activist. There’s gotta be something in that.

Random note: speaking of careers, don’t you hate those work-related personality tests alot of companies and recruiters use these days?  There are all these scenarios, many of them repeated with a slightly different sentence structure and I know I quite often answer these differently based on the sentence structure alone.  Aside from this I start over-thinking the scenario based on my rather diverse employment background which I’m pretty sure doesn’t fit into most corporate cookie cutter moulds of personnel.  The most annoying part is, you never get the results so are left feeling like you’ve outed yourself as either some kind of paranoid control freak or a timid no hoper. Are they really an accurate indicator of the diverse way in which humans interact and behave in the workplace?

Right, I’m off to pack boxes for our Cornwall chapter of life…..let’s see what opportunities that move brings.

What about you? Do you harbour a secret desire to reinvent yourself or try out a completely different line of work?

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Posted on July 1, 2012, in General, Lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’m not really in a position to comment about changes of direction yet but re personality tests for work, I’m reading a great book by Ken Robinson atm called The Element and this is what he says about those…

    “There are several problems with this. One is that neither Ms. Briggs nor her daughter, Ms. Myers, had any qualifications in the field of psychometric testing when they designed the test.
    Another is that test takers often don’t settle neatly into any of the categories when they take the MBTI. They tend to be just a little more to one side of the line or the other (a little more extroverted than introverted, for example), rather than being clearly one thing or the other.

    Most telling, though, is that many people who repeat the test end up in a different box when they do so. It’s true in at least half of the cases, according to some studies. This suggests either that a huge percentage of the population has serious personality disorder problems, or that the test might not be such a reliable indicator of “type” after all.
    My guess is that sixteen personality types might be a bit of an underestimate. My personal estimate would be closer to six billion…”

    • My sentiments exactly…..our interactions and reactions are complex and can’t be isolated to set scenarios with no background on relationships to work colleagues, past experiences etc. Thanks for sharing Miss Greaves

  2. Hi from another Kiwi in the UK! I’m another one who doesn’t know what I want to be yet- and in a few weeks I’m going to have been 21 for 21 years!

  3. I’ve always dreamed of being a long distance lorry driver, and with two toddlers that yearning sometimes returns stronger than ever!?

    I take comfort in the fact my boys appear to share my high aspirations … their latest dream is to work on a bin lorry (but to be fair, those buttons on the back do looking temptingly good fun!)

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