What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Long before we moved to Florida and I had to leave my job, I had been thinking about the next stage of my career. Truthfully, as much as I may miss it now and lament the loss of it, the bloom had started to come off the rose when it came to my job. I had been in TV for a long time and it takes a toll; the hours are irregular, the pressure can be immense and there was always a sense that there may be a shelf life for my particular line of work. I had started to feel the expiration date coming quickly upon me a few years ago and while I contemplated what else I could possibly do, I came up empty. I’ve been working in news my whole adult life and I’m not particularly qualified to do anything else. I’ve got no skills other than working in television and though I have to believe that my many years of dealing with immovable deadlines, stressful environments, crazy people and high-tech equipment certainly gave me some kind of an edge over other people, realistically nobody wants to hire somebody for a job that they have no experience in at all. So, I stayed in my job that I didn’t necessarily love (or sometimes even like) any more because really, who was I to complain? The pay was good, the company benefits were great, I never had to dress up for work and I was damn good at it. But the whole time in the back of my head was the thought: what next?

This move was supposed to be my opportunity – the chance to break away from something just because it’s comfortable and figure out what it is that I really want to be when I grow up. You know what I’ve come up with? Nothing. It’s pretty disheartening, really. In fact, I met with a recruiter the other day and he asked me a series of questions to get to the heart of what I wanted to do and my answers were pathetic. If money was no object, what is your dream job? Hmm [pause for far too long while I try to come up with an answer]…dunno. If something were to happen to you right now, what would you regret? Um…not losing the baby weight earlier? (Yes, I realize this is not at all the answer he was looking for.) What do you love to do in your free time? Free time? What free time?

I walked into that meeting hoping for some guidance, leads and maybe even answers. I left feeling more lost, confused and in despair than ever. I started to wonder if I had any passion at all. You know what’s worse than not having your dream job? Not having a dream at all. My birthday is quickly approaching so I have to confront the fact that I’m soon about to enter my very last year of my 30’s (which FREAKS me out, by the way) and I can’t believe that I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I never imagined that I’d be this age and not have it all figured out.

Do most people really just work to earn a paycheck and nothing more? I want to work because I think it makes me a happier and more fulfilled person as well as a better mother but the reality is that there are family sacrifices that have to be made when both parents work and if I’m going to take time away from my daughter and husband, then it has to be something that I truly love. If only I could figure out what that is.

Tell me: do you love your job? If not, do you know what you would want to do if money wasn’t an issue?




8 thoughts on “What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

  1. I love my job, but it took some time to really figure it all out and sense what my supervisor’s needs were. I am the department secretary at an insurance company, and I’ve been working here for 12 years. It is not what I imagined myself doing, but I love it – I love the people, the benefits and the hours. Weekends off and done with work by 5! It’s perfect! If I could do whatever I wanted, i would love to work at a music store! Music was always my first love, and I enjoy being submersed in it!

    It sounds like the job you had gave you some really good competencies that companies like – multi-tasking, stress managing, prioritizing, etc. Maybe start looking at things you want from a job before you start looking? You know, like, do you prefer office work, or working outside, or do you want a job that you can wear comfy clothes to and not necessarily business attire? Once you narrow that down, maybe you can find carreers that demonstrate those things. You’ll find what you’re looking for, and maybe it will just take a little time, and that’s okay!

  2. Of course I have a comment, try writing, you’re pretty good at it and it won’t take you away from Maddie and Mark, you can do it at home, you can submit trashy stories (romance novels, surely you’ve read or seen enough of em, they actually sell! Plus you can probably self-publish. If I were you and I had the luxury of being at home with my child as you do now I think; I’d start writing as you already do but in the context of something concrete-ish like a story, book, children’s book, everyone writes them and again, someone is buying them; until something else strikes you as a passion, maybe teaching when Maddie is older. BTW you were a pretty good sales person at the GAP as I recall and I think you managed it too. Just sayin. love ya Tif

  3. I have always had to work – fortunate to have family help when kids were little, but I eventually took a school system job as an aide – followed the school schedule. What I didn’t know at the time I took the job was that I would fall in love with working with special education students. I have been taking classes to become a special ed teacher for 4 years, working them into my children’s schedules – have two years left. My kids are 24 and 19 now, and helping them with college has tied up our resources, so school for me will have to wait. I still work as an aide – love the kids!
    If I hadn’t taken the job that worked for my family life, I don’t know if I would have figured out what I love to do – try volunteering, take a class in something you’ve always been interested in – you might be surprised to find your passion where you least expect!

  4. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I’m currently a SAM and love my job but I haven’t thought much beyond the next day. I have no idea what I’ll do when my youngest is in school and I have both boys out of the house all day, every day. Huh. I don’t mind working and it give me satisfaction PLUS grown up interaction (which some days can’t be beaten with a stick!). But I enjoy having my own schedule and getting things done. I wish this was a paid position because I’d do it forever. 🙂 I wish you luck in your quest for job fulfillment. I agree that if you are giving up time with your husband and ADORABLE little girl, then it should be for something that brings you joy and fills a space inside you. I hope living in Florida is getting easier!

  5. My job is okay. It really is for the paycheck. I try to fit in things that I enjoy and am passionate about in the rest of the hours of the day (along with being mom, wife, etc.) It’s tricky, but I hope someday soon I can figure out how to get the paycheck doing what I enjoy. Although, the role models in my life have always worked for a paycheck so even having the desire to pursue other things is a step in the right direction. Hopefully my children will be able to do what they love. I will teach them to pursue their passions, not just be realistic and safe.

  6. I am an administrative assistant (basically a secretary/receptionist) and I love it! I like being organized and helping an office run smoothly. I also like my co-workers and the schedule and pay are great. The skills you learned at past jobs would probably be useful in most occupations. I think that you would be great at a job that involves writing. I love the honesty in your blogs and I think a lot of people can relate to what you write about. Maybe you would enjoy writing a newspaper column or writing for a magazine?? Whatever you do, I wish you the best and hope that things work out well for you and your family in Florida. Thanks for sharing your feelings–I’m know you’re not the only one who has felt that way. 🙂

  7. I guess my dream job would be sitting around reading awesome books all day and just giving a thumbs up or down as my review, lol. I don’t think my degree in biology will help with that goal so I am currently working in a lab. For me, a job has always been just to pay the bills.. my favorite saying ” I work to live, not live to work”. I’d rather be at home almost every day I work.

  8. I have always loved my job. I knew I wanted to be a musician from the time I was 10 years old. My work is my play, my passion and my social life. It’s very competitive and I didn’t end up where I thought I would when I started out. I had dreams of playing in a major orchestra like the San Francisco Symphony. I don’t think I was quite focused enough to get that far because I did have so many other interests. My music brought me to Germany and France, combining my love of foreign language and culture with music. Besides playing violin, I have enjoyed cycling and quilting. When my kids were little, I still played violin just enough to earn a little shopping money of my own. I really enjoyed being a mom, and spent a lot of time playing with the kids, going to the library, book stores, the beach, the park, riding bikes together, baking cookies together, watching old Disney movies together. I went through a bread baking phase, a doll clothes sewing phase, a taking classes at the Community College phase, a bicycle club phase and a gardening phase. I’m currently in my dog training phase, and I’m about to enter a new phase of my life encountering a little of what you are now.

    For the 30 years that my husband and I have been married he has dreamed of building a “dream home” in Washington. He loves rainy and cloudy, green trees and waterways. Although most people would love to live where we do in Napa, he never really got involved here. His head was always in Seattle. Well, we scrapped the building idea, but we just bought a really cute house on an island just thirty minutes away from Seattle by ferry. We’re keeping our Napa house, but now I have to figure out how to balance my life between the two places. My husband says that music rules my life and it’s true. It has always been number one. I’m just programmed to say yes to every job offer that comes along, and don’t feel successful unless I’m working every weekend. Now
    that he is about to retire, I need to slow down and make time to play with him in our get away cottage. There is a part of me that is afraid to slow down, afraid I will lose a part of me. Who am I if I’m not a violinist? This week up in Washington, away from our every day rut was fantastic. I think my next phase is going to be decorating our new house together. Eventually we might spend more time up there, taking up kayaking, gardening, sailing or whatever we like.

    Tiffany, can you look at this time in your life as just a phase? You have a great little girl, and she’ll only be that way for a very short time. Go out and play with her. What did you like to do when you were a little girl? I bet you probably still like to do the same things now. I think I do. You’re a very good writer. Maybe you would like to spend time everyday concentrating on that. My sister always loved to write, and she ended up turning it into a lucrative career that she didn’t start until she was about 40. Do you love to read? When I was a kid I loved to read, and some of my best memories of time spent with my kids was reading to them at bedtime. My mom was a great stay at home mom who never went to college, but decided to take a painting class when she was 40 at the community college. That led to other classes and eventually a phd in psychology and a successful marriage counseling practice. Change can be difficult, but there may be great things in store for you in the next decade. I think the 40’s a great.

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