Monday, January 24, 2011

If given a box, what would you have made??

Stop for one moment.

When you had the opportunity to play by yourself as a child - say between the ages of 8 and 11 - what did you do?  When given the "world is your oyster" opportunity, what was your default?  When your imagination was not hindered by compromising with siblings or friends - where did it wander??  What did you dream? If given a box, what would you have made?

When I was in high school, the guidance counselor had us each take a career assessment to help guide us on what professional careers we should pursue based on our interests.  Living in a Chicago suburb, I was mortified to find that my recommended career field was in Agriculture.  Mortified.

They were right, in a sense - as I have not one, but two College of Agriculture degrees.  I digress.

Asking those simple questions with which I started this post would have more directly led me to my field of choice.

My brother is 2 years younger than me. We played together a lot. A LOT. A LOT!  But there were times when we went our separate ways, and in those moments I would play:
  1. School - I loved to play teacher and help students with math homework. There was no such thing as a stupid question.
  2. Nature Hikes - I used to lead pretend hikes in my backyard describing the trees, plants and animals I saw. If I could coax him from his flower garden, I would take my neighbor Grandpa Charlie (~70 at the time) on those hikes once I got my route and topics planned.
  3. Form-Filler-Outer - I would make forms like Name:______ Address:_______ Age:______, etc... and then fill it out.  Sometimes I would ask my mom to make the forms to see if I could fill out anything she asked.
  4. House - with several children including an ugly child (I borrowed bro's My Pet Monster for that) just to show that I could and would love no matter what. (What kind of messed up child was I??)
And look at me as a grown-up:
  1. I spent most of my college years as a teaching assistant for one, if not two, classes a semester. I loved helping people "get it" for themselves. (There IS such a thing as a stupid question...if you've not heard one, try helping college students in a Friday morning lab.)
  2. My favorite job - ever - was as a naturalist where I was given the ability to plan and give hikes at a state park. (I would be doing it to this day if it weren't for having to work every weekend - I enjoyed it while it lasted.)
  3. My current job is in market research involving online surveys. Although as a child I would not have been able to imagine the ability to fill out a form on a computer or pretend to cyber-commute in my jammies.
  4. My most prize possession is the relationship that I have with my daughter and stepson. (Neither of which are ugly, but apparently that wouldn't matter!) There was a period in my life that I didn't think I wanted children, but boy am I glad to have those two.
I value the experience I had working in retail and detailing cars. Running chainsaws and driving tractors. I had jobs that I hated - mostly food related.  All of these experiences brought me to my appreciation of the good jobs I've had and for the people that do all types of jobs.

But maybe, just maybe, if I'd been asked those questions when I started college - I could have jumped over a few "opportunities" that turned out to be poor-fitting jobs for me.

No comments: