Like most kids, I wanted to be a lot of different things growing up. Unlike most kids, I never grew out of that changing career state of mind. Whatever it is I find that I’m interested in, I want to do that.
My first big career choice came early in junior high. I wanted to be a meterologist. Weather and storms fascinated me. I didn’t necessarily want to be on the TV talking about the seven day forecast, but being in one of those weather centers, tracking tornado spawning storms appealed to me. I thought it would be a fun, exciting gig.
It wasn’t very well received. Saying that I wanted to be a meterolgist conjured up the images of people pointing at maps on the TV and I got a lot of teasing for that. I decided that keeping meteorology as a hobby was better for my self-esteem.
Then towards the end of junior high I set my sights on being a marine biologist specializing in sharks. I love sharks. Shark week was made for me. I read a lot of books about sharks and shark attacks. It was particularly the attacks on humans that fascinated me at the time, but really all aspects of sharks and shark behaviors held my attention. There’s an air of mystery about them that makes them fascinating and makes me want to learn more about them. Being on boats for weeks at a time didn’t really bother me. In fact, my cousin’s grandma offered me a place to live if I wanted to pursue my degree down in Texas.
But, it wasn’t very well received by everyone else. The one thing I kept hearing was “do you know how much math and science is involved in that?” despite the fact that I’ve always been told that I was smart and held to the highest academic standards.
So I changed my mind and looked elsewhere.
I wanted to be a surgical technician.
Too much blood and guts.
I wanted to be an actor.
You won’t make any money.
When I finally got out of high school and into college, I first wanted to study English with the idea of being a proper writer, not just the amateur stuff I’d been not showing to people up until that point. No one said anything because by that point they weren’t interested anymore. I was in college (a community college that I was paying for) and that’s all that mattered.
The second time I went back to college, my eyes were on studying sociology. I’d become fascinated with it during my first college go round after I did a paper on prison rehab programs. I thought that might be a good gig for me.
That lasted as long as I was in school.
My last go round on the college merry-go-round, I was majoring in psychology with the ultimate goal being a forensic psychologist. There was no way I could be a therapist. I don’t have the compassion needed to succeed in that field. But analyzing and tracking down bad guys is something I think I could have excelled at. I was pretty dedicated to it, too. Took all of the psych classes I could get into (as well as all of the sociology classes; hadn’t quite given up using that) and was doing well in them.
Until I was looking into starting the math classes I’d need to get my associate’s degree so I could move on to get my bachelor’s degree, I realized just how long it was going to take me to get through all of the schooling I’d need (at least a master’s) to get my career started. That’s when I realized that I didn’t want to be a psychologist enough to spend years getting there, which would be even longer since I could only go to school part time while I worked.
It was also then that it dawned on me that the only thing I wanted to spend years struggling to do was what I’d been spending years doing all along: writing. I gave up on the idea that I needed any sort of formal education or validation and threw myself head long into making a career of it.
But that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about pursuing other interests as careers (most recently: helicopter pilot, personal trainer, and sports analyst). Of course, I always look at the time it will take to make those things happen and change my mind.
That’s why writing is the perfect career for me. With a little research and by living vicariously through my characters, I can be all of those things while spending my time doing the one thing I really love the most.