What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This time honored question keeps popping into my head today. Yes another thing stuck in my head. Only this time it's not a fun lyric or word. It's not even a movie line which seems to be this week's newest thing. (Good thing there's plenty of room in my head I guess.)

No, this thing, this question is different. We've all heard this question. We've all asked this question.

I am wondering how many of us have answered this question.

I know that we are all something. We have occupations, families, activities, etc... So, in taking the question a step further - I guess I'm wondering if we all are "what we want to be?"

I know there are a few fortunate souls in this world who knew from the jump what they wanted to be, what they wanted to do, and they are blazin' down the trail of success.

Others may not have known when they were younger but discovered something in themselves as they grew older and seized the very first opportunity to make life happen as it were.

Still others were guided along, shown all the things they "should" be doing as they grew up, and maybe are now what they want to be. Perhaps this is some version of happenstance, (Blog word of the week?) or just plain dumb luck.

They say that luck isn't everything, that some skill is required and I believe that, but still I wonder...

As you may have guessed, I'm not one of those mentioned above - I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I always had an answer to the question of course. I was going to be a professional hockey player, or play pro ball, maybe even spend some time on the PBA Tour, all the while running some fantastically successful business like a hotel or maybe a chain of hotels.

When I got older I wanted to be an actor, then a comedian, maybe a writer - you know much more realistic goals like that. Sigh!

Before I go further - I want to address all you head shakers. You know who you are. You're the ones thinking, or maybe even saying out loud: "But Jim you've accomplished so much. You have blah, blah, blah..."

Shhh... That's not what I'm talking about today

Yes, I've spent the last 18 years being a husband, the last 15 being a Daddy, the last 8 or more being a coach, and the last 12 being a hockey player, but not a professional hockey player - that's cruel.

Still it's very true that these are all things I want to be. I've had great success, and been fortunate in these areas and I hope to continue to enjoy these very important areas of my life.

These aren't the things I'm talking about today. To clarify further, I'm talking about jobs and careers.

I started working for the library when I was 17 years old. It was a clean building. I loved reading. The work albeit a bit tedious was not really that difficult. It was not Jolly Pirate Donuts where I had been a porter for 1 1/2 years prior. I figured the library was a great starting point for a kid in high school. Perhaps most importantly I found and got the job all by myself. It was the first truly independent thing I had ever done.

I love the library and all that it is, all that it stands for. I love the people I work with and I feel especially fortunate we have had the opportunity recently to reach out and really get to know each other more and more.

As I've written before, I consider that connection to be a huge success for the CML community.

Going forward however - I'm trying to figure out what that success means for me.

I wrote to my Dad some years ago that with no degree or formal training I had somehow managed to make a career for myself at a place where I was mostly happy and decidedly, perhaps even too content.

I still didn't figure the library might be the only place I would ever work.

The truth is I wasn't what I wanted to be then.

From a career perspective - without knowing it really I had no goals, no dreams, no visions beyond the day to day. I had no plan. (You see K and D why I talk about having a plan?)

Some of that came from being happy being a husband, Daddy, coach, hockey player, but not a professional hockey player - that's cruel. Some of it came from not really knowing how - being afraid as it were to venture away from the safety and security of the library.


Now I don't want to leave, but not because I'm afraid.

I want to stay because I have found something that is telling me who I am, who - no what I want to be.

I started work on a program this week to create a Job Help Class for the library to offer customers in these rough economic times.

I cannot tell you how ironic this is as I have already been hard at work on my own resume, online job profiles, and career prospects.

If you follow this blog with any regularity you know that I love to train, to teach, and to coach. You know how much I have come to admire the rock stars of the Web 2.0 world, and even how I might want their jobs one day.

I have been busy thinking of ways to stay at the library, but increase my involvement in social media and marketing, to reach out, help people, and share my experience for others to learn from. I have been searching for a focus for my life, my career, heck even for my blog.

I think being fortunate enough to help in the creation and delivery of this Job Help Class provides me with that focus, a starting point for helping me be what I want to be when I grow up.

In taking inventory I find that I have almost 11 years experience teaching folks to build their resumes. For better or worse I also have 8 years experience poking around the job markets, learning all the sites, the ins, and the outs.

Pretty much every other week for the last year I have been teaching a resume class, and as my boss will tell you, I've been looking for a way to make my class so much more effective.

I have at least 8 years of experience as a coach, and let's not forget 15 years as a parent.

In this year of reflection I have come to find that what I enjoy most is sharing what I have learned with anyone who will listen.

I suggested to a friend today that maybe throwing all of this together might make me a good "life coach."

He said that "would be a good fit." I trust his opinion. He knows me well. What that's called formally, or how it will look in the future is open to interpretation. That's okay with Jim in Perpetual Beta.

I'm sure my daughters, and my players will tell you that my favorite saying in all the land goes like this.

"This ain't my first rodeo dog."

So now, I have a plan, and at least starting out I am lucky enough to stay at the library, as I begin.

Do you think somewhere there is someone, someone who knows me really well, or a mentor, or maybe even someone who has had a great influence on my life smiling and thinking to themselves.

"Hey Jimmer. This ain't my first rodeo dog."


Erica said...

I wanted to be an astronaut. But not just because that's what everyone says they want to do - I really, REALLY wanted to be an astronaut. Then I decided that since my mom would freak if I ever went into space, I'd be content working for NASA. So I studied physics in college, and really thought that I was going to work for NASA someday. And then I got a part time job at the science library on campus, and the rest is history.

Maybe I'll still work for NASA someday, but I'm pretty happy about the career path I chose. I can honestly say that I love my job, and there aren't a lot of people who can say that.

Kathy Hennessy said...

The best I can remember, I wanted to be a ballerina and a vet. While I no longer would subject anyone to seeing me in a tu-tu, I also outgrew wanting to be a vet. I vaguely remember wanting to be a nurse, or physical therapist, but over all, I think I just wanted to be a mother. I've succeeded there, but you've called that "not a career". I have to admit, I've really never wanted a career, so I think overall, chosing to NOT want to be anything when I grow up, and now that I'm grown up, I'm NOT anything, career wise...so, I think I've made it. Yes?

Anonymous said...

In my freshman English class I had to write a journal one day about where I wanted to be in 10 years and what I wanted from my life. A couple of years ago I found the journal and had to read it.

It said I wanted to work in oceanography and have a Killer Whale as a pet. She would live in my house, where I have a tank that links in with the ocean.

So I think, as weird as it sounds I do pretty much have those dreams, but just in a different way. I went to school and didn't want to apply myself (I was lazy) so the math/science work required from me was more than I wanted to invest in. I got my bachelors degree in Political Science, then went on to get my teacher certificate in Social Studies and then I got my Masters in Political Science. (yeah I hated school can you tell). So then after teaching for a couple of years I decided I wanted to do something else.

So my husband and I sold just about everything we owned and packed the rest up in a storage unit, moved to Thailand to become Scuba Instructors. And that is what we have been doing for 2 years now.

So while I am not an Oceanographer I am in the water everyday and teaching people about the oceans and the environment. Do I own a Killer Whale, no, but I have adopted one in Friday Harbor, WA and I swim with the fishy's everyday, so I have more than one pet.

So while I didn't take the initial path, I think I did end up with my dream.


Maureen said...

I love this post--so honest!

At one point in my life I wanted to be a college basketball coach, but I turned my back on that when I blew out my knee (in my mind I couldn't coach college ball without having played college ball). Talk about bitter--wow, I still have dreams that I'm playing again.

But I think it forced me to take a look at other interests--and while I'm probably a better person for it, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!

Jim Azelvandre said...

I wanted to be an actor, and I was, and I still am. Sometimes I made enough acting to live on, but mostly I've had to have a "real" job. That being the case, my perceptions of Career and whatnot has always been a little askew.

Your question reminded me of a poem I wrote a year or so ago

I Want To Grow Old And Creaky

I want to grow old and creaky.
I want to nap away the weekend.
I want to sleep in my bed with my wife and my dog and my cats,
and I want to rise before the sun and watch them
as they greet the day.
I want to be sure of my convictions.
I want to do the crossword in 15 minutes.
In pen.
I want to defeat the cross word.
I want to have breakfast with friends.
Some counter grill where they let you linger.
Some place with baseball photos on the wall.
I want to belch and loosen my belt
and say "I'm stuffed."
I want to be secure in the knowledge that I have a handle on things,
and that the sun will rise without fail,
so my wife and my dog and my cats
can greet the day.
So they can kiss me before the sleep is even
out of their eyes.
I want to be surprised.
I want to be surprised
that there is so much Love in the world.
I want there to be so much Love in the world.
And sunrises.
When I'm old and creaky.

WineLover said...

I wanted to be Nancy Drew. I still do. I came close when I was a skip tracer for a collection agency ;)
I loved working at the library. I still miss it. I also really loved the work with older adults that I did in nursing homes - that I will probably go back to when the kids are older/out of school.

As a career counselor, you'd think that I'd be more optimistic about "finding your passion in life" - what I've learned is that some are born with a true knowing of what they want to do in life - many though just discover it through trial and error (aka job hopping because nothing feels like a good fit).
I think there is also a "what do I want to be" for each stage of life. it seems to change for a lot of people throughout their stages (after college, kids/family years, post-middle age, etc)

What are you looking for to make the resume class more effective?
Your job search class is sorely needed out there. Things are scary. I've never been so busy with outplacement as I am right now - good for me I guess, but not for SO many others!

WineLover said...

BTW - love Jim's old and creaky poem!

Jim Brochowski said...

I want to thank you all for sharing your stories. I can't tell you how much that means.

Erica, I'm pretty happy about the career path you chose too. :-)

Butch, If being a Mom is what you wanted to be then yes you've made it. I didn't say it was "not a career." At least that's not what I meant. Sorry.

Oboist - Your story is very inspirational.

Mo - From what I know, you would be a heck of a coach. As you know, I've coached baseball which I have played and basketball where I have exactly one year of playing experience. Instead of the X's and O's I focused on the kids when I coached.

With kids and sports especially - it's really not about the skills as much as it is about life lessons. That's probably not descriptive enough, but I hope it makes sense.

Jim, the poem is a classic. Nice work.

WineLover - I'll send you an email about my resume class.

Thanks again everybody.