When I grow up


I think the real moment you become an adult is when people stop asking you "what do you want to be when you grow up?". It's probably the number one question you get asked as a kid and you have to have a pat answer ready. When I was a girl I don't remember having a specific job that I coveted, but I did picture myself wearing a white lab coat and being some kind of research scientist. I don't remember getting very specific about my dreams. It was just a nice hazy future that seemed to please my sense of self. I guess this is how I coped with the dual mindedness of wanting a glamorous job (and a cool answer to that question) and also knowing that what I really wanted was to be a mom staying home with my kids.

When I went to college I chose Physics as a major partially because I loved it and partially because I am the perverse type of person that chooses things because they are difficult and out of the ordinary. But I still didn't really have a career path in mind, I just really loved the field, loved the university experience. That lasted for about a year and half until I got serious with Dave and I realized that endless hours of study groups and labs aren't nearly as much fun as they were when I was single. So I switched my major to Math because while that still appealed to my scientific sensibilities, it was something I could do on my own. It was a much easier route to a diploma. My actual degree was focused on becoming a high school math teacher, but we were moving to Phoenix soon so Dave could attend graduate school so I just wanted to be DONE. I didn't certify for teaching, just got my Math degree and headed South, still without a real plan for a vocation. This is probably the point that any nebulous dreams I might have had for a solid career really evaporated. Dave and I were much more focused on getting him through graduate school. I just wasn't worried about what I would "be".

Strangely enough, this is where my career as it stands now really began and it was the happiest of accidents for me. I searched geographically for a job, wanting the most convenient daily life possible. I had worked at the U of U and really liked the atmosphere, so I thought I'd look for work at another college or university. Glendale Community College was just a few miles down the street from our apartment and I applied for a "Research Assistant" job that was a complete mystery to me. Honestly, I don't really think I understood what that job was for a good solid year. But I have been working for the Institutional Research department in just about every capacity there is for over a decade now and I really love it (well, most days I do). Our office is pretty much business intelligence for the educational world. You can read more about my take on it (or not) here.

I am really happy with my career path as it stands. But I don't know if I'll be happy in that bubble forever. There are still days that I think about making the noble choice and becoming a high school math teacher. But the pay cut all that hard work gives me pause. I also have dreams of becoming a yoga instructor and that's one that probably will become an eventuality at some point down the road. Yoga is something I am passionate about it would be a nice supplement to what I already do when my girls get older. Or who knows, maybe I'll still become a scientist with a white lab coat.


Naomi said...

I think it is so cool that you have found something great, that you love to do, and that allows you to be with your girls whenever you need to be. I have been pondering this question myself a lot lately, mostly daydreams as I contemplate weaning my baby. It's amazing how sometimes these oppys just fall into place.

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