“When I grow up I want to be… (insert job title here)”. We’ve all heard it and we’ve all said it. I’m 35, and I’m still saying it. Even my 13 year old has a more focused career projection than I do.
The problem for me is that I can do lots of things. Not to toot my own horn or anything, I’m just kind of a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ type person. I’m a fast learner but I get bored far too easily. This has allowed me to eliminate the following career paths from consideration:
- kitchen hand
- short order cook
- art gallery assistant
- art gallery manager
- tour desk sales assistant
- regional trainer
- government administration officer
- project officer
- program co-ordinator
- recruitment consultant
- poker tournament director
- island activities co-ordinator
- bingo caller
- insurance advisor
- real estate agent
- sales representative
- retail sales
- check-out chick
- event co-ordinator
I’m sure I’m forgetting some – and then there’s the ones I’ve blocked out for the sake of my own mental health.
None of them have been my dream job by any means, but by far the worst job I’ve ever had was cleaning banana packing sheds. I lasted one night. My job was to use the fire hose to wash the floors. I’m not exactly a weakling, but that thing was bloody heavy! Being a real thinker, I came up with a solution: rest the hose around your neck like Bindi Irwin would wear a python and let your shoulders bear the weight of the hose. Sounds like a good idea, right? Well it wasn’t. I failed to notice that the hose was covered in banana sap. If you’ve never had to deal with it, it’s a sticky dark sap, not unlike that black tar-like excrement that comes out of your precious newborn when he/she takes their first dump! It’s a nightmare to get off everything and even harder to get out of your hair (the sap, not the crap). Impossible in fact. Thanks to my ingenious solution, the back of my neck and my hair was caked in the crud. I continued on, a few hairs being ripped out at the roots every time I moved my head by the treacly dreadlocks forming at the base of my skull, hosing my way around machinery and conveyor belts and processing stations. I got a bit of a rhythm happening after a while, and was ducking and weaving my way along a conveyor belt. Then suddenly, I wasn’t. SMACK! Right in the scone. I didn’t know what hit me. Actually, I still don’t. All I know is, it was hard. And it hurt. A lot. So I guess it’s no wonder that the scars resulting from this employment (a purple and blue egg on my head – worthy of it’s own Easter parade and an involuntary, ponytail-preventing undercut) lasted longer than the employment itself.
Not all first days were bad. And I didn’t always quit if they were. My first day as a waitress in a nice restaurant at a resort, I managed to tip a whole tray of soft drinks down a customers back. In my defence though, he was a pretty big guy who was being ignorant and wouldn’t lean to the side and make room for me to put his drink on the table in front of him, so I was trying to reach around him and that’s why he copped the Sprite shower. So really, he kinda deserved it. But still, at the time I was mortified. First day on the job and all. I hid in the storeroom and swore I couldn’t go back out there. But with a little encouragement from a kind new team mate, I did go back out. And even managed to keep the job for a few months.
But after all the jobs I’ve tried and failed at, or tried and hated, or been good at and got bored with… What is left? Could I really write? For a living?? Or will the reality of being a writer actually be a stark contrast from the picture I’ve had in my head all this time? Every job has it’s benefits and drawbacks, but it’s not until you’re actually doing it that they all come to light. As a published author of multiple blog posts (yes, two is multiple!) I’m now (obviously) qualified to make this assessment.
- Choose own work hours – can still have a life.
- Can wear pyjamas and drink gin while working. Fun!
- Work published on internet could go viral and lead to widespread adoration and positive affirmation of talent and worth.
- Fan mail.
- Could get rich. Like, JK Rowlings rich.
- Might find out I’m not as crazy as I thought I was and that there are people out there who actually do understand, relate or think like me.
- Feeling clever and brave.
- Making my family proud of me. And me, of me.
- Choose own work hours – work may never actually happen.
- Can wear pyjamas and drink gin while working. Dangerous!
- Work published on internet could go viral and lead to widespread hatred, looting, rioting and petitions for me to shut up and keep my “talent” to myself.
- Hate mail.
- Could remain literary equivalent of ‘Two Broke Girls’. Like, forever.
- Might find out I am crazier than I thought I was and realise that no one will ever get me.
- Feeling stupid and exposed.
- Embarrassing my family. And myself.
Well, that made it clear, didn’t it? Yep… Clear as mud.