Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What I really want to be when I grow up

I had to smile when one of my favorite bloggers, RockZee, commented on my last post: "That seemed to take off rather quickly." Thank you all for the positive feedback, but truth be told I should have gotten off my ass and done this long ago.

This recent little freelance success has been eighteen years in the making. Or perhaps even twenty-two years! I headed off to college in 1986, with absolutely no ambition other than to punish my parents for making me go to college in West Texas rather than follow my boyfriend to school in California. (Sadly, that boyfriend dumped me ONE WEEK before graduation, but that is another story.)

I decided sometime during my freshman year that I would major in marketing and open a wedding consulting business someday. I find this rather hilarious now. I enjoyed planning my own wedding about as much as I enjoyed childbirth.

I spent three years meandering through marketing classes and struggling through statistics 101. I eventually married someone on a whim, mostly out of boredom, and dropped out of college. Through a circuitous route that involved divorce, moving in with my parents and the desperate need to move out, I came to work for a small weekly newspaper as a receptionist. One day the only reporter quit, and the newspaper owner knew cheap labor when he saw it and made me the new reporter.

I loved it. I went back to school and got a BA in journalism. Then I decided sticking to the facts wasn't for me, so I went to graduate school and got an expensive MA in writing. To help pay for all these pricey dreams I went to work for three crazy professors of education at Fordham University. Next thing I knew, I was teaching at an all boys high school in the Bronx. I loved that, too. I then taught at an exclusive girls school in Greenwich, CT. I didn't love that.

So after years of meandering, mothering and finally growing up a little bit, I have stopped dreaming and decided to just do it (Nike may be onto something). I have been pretty passive with my career path up to this point. I did some research over the last couple of months about freelancing, made a business plan and then got to work sending out my resume/clips. It feels like I have been holding my breath for the last two weeks as I embarked on my first truly intentional career path. I'm exhaling this week and taking it all in.

Now I want to hear YOUR stories. How did you end up doing what you are doing?


Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I took a job substitute teacing after my daughter was born. Gave up an offer as a resautant manager to teach.

BTW I have something for you over at my site.

Rockzee said...

It's like pregnancy isn't it? Everybody always says, "Wow, that flew by didn't it?" And you're all, "Stand still so I can punch you."

My writing career has gone like this:

Go to college with big dreams of one day becoming Chief Editor of Rolling Stone magazine. Take advertising class with very persuasive, charismatic professor who turns my gullible mind into mush. Change my major to advertising.

Spend two years post-college looking for "the job." In the meantime, work at small, advertising trade pub as a staff writer in NY making enough money to eat Frosted Flakes for dinner every night.

Worked in advertising as a copywriter for 15 years, but have taken a few hiatus's where I've tried to get back into journalism. I am in one of those as we speak.

I've made my living in advertising, but I will always be a journalist at heart. I wish I'd concentrated my efforts in that field when I was younger. My journalism career will always be the one that got away.