Wednesday, April 21, 2010

when i grow up

when-i-grow-up

on monday morning my artsygirl doodled this at the breakfast table, and it's clear she is more opinionated about her future than i was at her age. even when i was a teenager i had no clue what i wanted to do with my life. i loved to doodle, but it was only on t-shirts and covers of mix tapes and i didn't see much of a future in that at the time. in hopes of some direction i took a career development test, which revealed that i was best suited to be either 1) a superintendent of a concrete mixing plant or 2) a shoe salesperson. i will never forget the day the high school counselor handed me that piece of paper! it set the tone for decades to come. no doubt it was a lousy test, but my reaction to it - and others that i took after it in college and graduate school - reflected that i didn't have a solid sense of self or the confidence to go after what i really enjoyed doing. rather than dismissing that test as a load of bullshit, i was really disappointed. i wanted those tests to tell me what to do. obviously not a sustainable way of living. and so began that journey i chronicled in nice to meet you.

i'm fascinated by the profession of life coaching that has taken form over recent years, and i think i could have benefited greatly along the way from a voice of reason - not a substitute for the journey or one that provided a bundle of packaged answers, but one to help me get more out of my exploration, one to ask the questions that i was terrified to leash upon myself. one of those people i've met along the way is michelle ward, who has dedicated herself (and has gone through intense training) to be a life coach, and has just made the leap herself from corporate life into a full time coaching career. she well knows that journey.

so we decided to team up and give away a doodleprint of nice to meet you. if you'd like to toss your name in the hat, please stop by michelle's blog and leave a comment there. if you are one who is still ransacking corners of the earth to find yourself, you'll love her world. it's full of motivation, reminders, questions, nudges, even a scholarship to get you going. don't miss her interview with newsweek in which she describes what a life coach does, how she made her own life changes, and how she became certified to help people emerge from their career misery. she's someone i wish had been around in my day to help me hash out what the hell i was doing with myself.

if you're willing to spill, what did you want to do when you grew up? or have you done any major career changing/lifestyle alterations throughout your years? i love stories of people who work up the moxie to rise above their funk, nail down their calling and make it happen. i am still working on it!

30 comments:

Inner Toddler said...

concrete mixing company! oh that gave me a chuckle. only because my test revealed that I should be Director of a Funeral Home. Maybe it thought I could put the fun back in funeral. uh, no thanks.

I actually remember being five and doing a body trace in kindergarten and then we were supposed to fill it in as ourselves in our future profession. I didn't know what an artist looked like so I made myself a nurse (I almost passed out when I had to change the dressing where a tiny mole was removed once, fyi).

working with a life coach is actually what got me thinking seriously about this current path. but with the latest proliferation of "life coaches" I wonder how we'll be able to distinguish between those who've done all the years of training and hard work it takes to be certified (and good) and those who just slap on the title. I guess word of mouth.

Gosh, that was a long comment. wonderful give away idea. I'm going to read about michelle ward in newsweek right away!

Who you callin' housewife? said...

Today, I wish it were raining life coaches from the sky. I could use one (or a few).

I'm glad you seem to have found yourself and did not work for a concrete mixing company.

I wish I had a wonderful story about finding myself. But I don't. I'm going to look under the living room and see what I find among the dust bunnies.

Kelly Warren said...

hmm...concrete superintendent or shoe salesman? just can't see that one for you. :-) i don't remember taking tests like that, but i'm sure i did. i do remember reading on my childhood reports card the phrase "kelly is a very bright girl, but she's also a very social child and needs to learn to pay attention more." huh. i was a chatterbox from the womb! i started out in interior design because i loved the creative aspect. i changed to communications after one semester. why? well i must admit that all those hours at the drafting table was cutting too much into my social life! so i thought communications was a better fit. i ended up getting a double major in public relations and broadcasting, worked in both for a while and then somehow ended up back in college! working with college students in student life! though i never have much time to myself, i have to admit i have a pretty good gig.

Kate said...

Thank you for this blog! I am excited to explore the links. I never knew what I wanted to be either. Still working on it, but I have realized that horses are my passion and they need to be in my life. So maybe I should start working on that?

whenigrowupcoach said...

This post brought on the biggest smile, from one ear to the other. Thank you for not only hosting this giveaway on my blog, for all your link love &, well, the acknowledgment you gave me throughout this post. It really means the world & gave me the warm & fuzzies to see it laid out like that. I'm lucky to have you in my tribe, Aimee!

Oh, & ever kid that took the career test in my school was told to be a librarian. It was totally a conspiracy.

@Inner Toddler - Any life coach that's been certified will post it everywhere they can. Make sure to look for some letters after their name (they differentiate depending on the certification, though, so it's not cut & dry - mine is C.P.C. for Certified Professional Coach) and/or the name of a coaching school they attended/graduated from. If there's a link, click it & see if the school is accredited by the ICF (International Coach Federation). I know it's a bit of work, but it's worth it to know who's a self-proclaimed "life coach" (aka someone who thinks that they can get paid for "telling people what to do", which life coaches don't do at all!)

andi said...

I don't know why I remember this, but in the third grade I wanted to be either a waitress, a Solid Gold dancer, or a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Looking back on that, I realize that what I saw in them was happiness. All of those people smile a lot and are warm and inviting (from a child's view!). For lots of reasons I am none of those things, but I still try to cultivate the joy I saw in them in my everyday life.

Curls O Fred said...

Ah yes...my husband hates taking those bullshit tests. He still is figuring out what he wants to do with his life. I suppose I am too. Doing what you want, and making money are generally not paired together - at least not yet for us. Love you writing...and of course your doodling.

Cori Lynn Berg said...

When i was little and played make believe i was always a single mom with 4 kids working 3 jobs as a waitress, flight attendant, and teacher... hahaha. How's that for a modern woman!

Jeannine said...

This is the quintessential and (as yet) unanswered question of my life. The things I love to do are not "practical" in terms of finance or outlet. The things I'm trained to do (bookkeeping, admin, etc) pay, but exact a high personal price (bored to literal tears ... sobbing in the car during lunch hour).

I dream of someday finding a way of working that pays (not overlymuch necessarily, but some) and connects with my spirit, even a little bit. (Don't tell, but sometimes I worry I may never find what I'm hoping for).

Thank you for sharing the resources ... off to click some links! :)

T.L. Holmes said...

First of all, am I seeing this correctly? Does her self-portrait have one eye?? A.MAZ.ING. That says volumes, to me...
What did I want to be? Ho-hum. A teacher. I fought it. Started out with an acceptance to Texas A & M for marine biology. Too scared to leave home. One semester on the path to Accountant and I thought, "Really, Tara? When have you EVER been able to sit still?" So, pre-med with a concentration on sports medicine. Lasted a year. Anatomy/Physiology. No thanks. I climbed the income ladder, and slid right down to the bottom by being a high school English teacher. Wouldn't change A THING.
(fuban...how's that for word verification?? Close to fubar?? Sorry, I digress...)

●• Thereza said...

well, i've happily accepted i'll never grow up :) that realization alone keeps me sane, i guess...

looove the artsygirl doodle, so cute!

la ninja said...

bang in the middle of that one right now (still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but trying to find out :)
however, I've somehow always get back to languages, in a way or another, which is what I wanted to study (English particularly) when I was 11 or 12. I just have to give it a bit of a better and clearer shape now.

getting there, getting there... out of the way, here I come.

psssst, what kind of bloody tests did you get in the states as kids, you lot? bloody 'ell, like.

Jane said...

I've expanded my ransacking to include the entire universe. At 45 I still have no clue and I'm pretty hard on myself for not knowing. For 20 years I worked "desk jobs" that never really suited me. Last June I got laid off from my job of 7 years. I know it was God's way of telling me to get off my ass and make him proud :) I know I'm supposed to do something creative. I took one of those Strong Preference tests a few months ago and the number one job that kept coming up for me was: travel consultant which is interesting considering that I wanted to be a flight attendant but my parents made me go to college instead. I like the idea of a life coach and I've even considered talking to one but there is a belief I have that we all have the answers right inside of ourselves; we just can't get quiet enough to hear them.

cath c said...

what did i want to do when i grew up? the better question would have to be what didn't i want to be - i can narrow that much faster.

among mine at a very young age were circus horse acrobat, garbage person (i was going to leave roses after emptying the bins) and movie star, script writer,poet novelist, singer in a rock band, broadway show, teacher...and nun like mother theresa.

in away, i think i've reached at least a level of them all, modified to a degree: circus performer: motherhood juggling act; i write and have published a few things, am currently working on a children's novel, and i sing loudly in church, car, kitchen and shower. i care about everyone and want to save the world, still, and i do my best to recycle...

those tests always say i should be in communications or teach. i do that somewhat, too, tutoring and such.

lori vliegen said...

count me amongst those who still don't know what they want to be when they grow up......my high school career test revealed that i'd make a good waitress....not much doodlin' going in with that! :))))

My Soul Can Dance said...

gosh i remember ALWAYS saying 'i want to be an inventor'...when people would ask 'of what?'...i would say 'i don't know yet'....

i also wanted to have lots of land and take in "homeless animals" as i would call them...though i remember feeling sad about homeless people, the homeless animals grieved me as a kid.

i always said i wanted to write and paint....those are two dreams i am trying to reconnect with.

Allie said...

Dang - I could've written this! Here I am, 51, still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Especially hard since, after 18 years of raising kids and homeschooling, I need to re-enter the job market. I remember seeing your "nice to meet you" - it struck a huge chord with me.

painted fish studio said...

i wanted to be an artist when i grew up. while i'm not exactly supporting myself as an artist, i somehow stumbled into a profession that i appear to be good at and enjoy some of the time, which allows me the financial freedom to pretend i am an artist and to travel like i'm a bohemian. but i still wonder what i'm going to be when i grow up. i don't think one ever truly knows.

it really sucks that there's so much pressure at a young age to figure it out. kids need to be told "you can be whatever you want. and you can change your mind, as much as you want."

Bella Sinclair said...

Good golly, could your test have been any more specific? Say, a superintendent of a concrete mixing plant who wears blue coveralls and who secretly yearns to work at the smelting plant down the street? Yeesh.

And I have to admit, I was one of the masses marked by those tests to become a librarian.

But what I really wanted to be as a teen was a criminal psychologist. Hahahaha, I can't picture that now. I'd get eaten alive.

Moxie. I love that word. Moxie.

rachel awes said...

love your daughter's knowing!
when i was younger i wanted to be an actress. i really enjoy the people/personality types there & the huge creativity & free & playful expression. if i were to turn my life music up, it's what i see. (and, i do still so love the softer ongoing music of what all i do now). AND, i entered the great giveaway!! yahoo, dear! xoxox

Eden Clare O'Meara said...

gosh, what do i want to be when i grow up...is that the question...mmmm...i think i have been working on this since i was born...but i think maybe, finally, i may have figured it out...yes, at last, i am listening...really listening to my internal song, to the whispering winds inside breathing from the pages of books, from the questions i ask and the questions asked of me i know it is something i have wanted forever, but when you are young other try to tell you they know you better, ...and so I did what they suggested..but when it never felt right, never felt totally complete...and so i knew i wasn't doing what i wanted, wasn't doing what i came here to do, wasn't using all that was inside...of me...having a child changed all this...and maybe that was how it was suppose to be...this child of mine helped me discover those missing pieces, those pieces i had forgotten....and so i am opening the books again...going to do some study work, reach out to touch another, help them see everything that is inside of them, to be all they can be...yep, i am going to finally do it, I am going to be what I have always wanted to be...A Teacher.

Candied Fabrics said...

Like mother, like daughter? She will defintely have more support when it comes to career choices than it sounds like you did...Yay!

L'Atelier said...

hm my test came back not with a concret profession, it said that i should not take up accounting or medicine- which was no secret but instead should either do science or art. All of this was known to me and the test just made it worse, making a decision seemed impossible. i ended up more or less drawing lots to decide what i should do....
i have made several time professional life changing choices, the first really big one was to leave my successful carreer as a chemical ingenier and go traveling for a couple of year. then i did several different things for a few years, like working as a chef, a teacher and aidworker in refugeecamp. Suddenly i felt like i really want to persue art, and after a few detours i landed in jewellery.
i love being creative but definitely also am very interessted in science. sadly i havent totally managed to find a profession that couples the two.
for a while i was totally stressed, well acutally until a couple of years ago. i was saying to a friend how i wish i would have a real talent, and she just looked at me and said; 'but there are only a few who have one great talent, they are geniuses in that field and often limited in others. most of us have many talents and we need to take time discover them and develop them. ' as devestating as it was i gave up on my great talent idea and started discovering lots of things i didnt know i could do- like knitting, painting and photography.
looking back as painful as i found my journey since my teenage years at times, i do feel that all of it made me who i was, and taught me more about myself. for now i want to be a jewellery designer- when i grow up i want to be wise and know myself.
(ps would you have asked me that when i was 7 i would have answered a witch or a pirate ;))

L'Atelier said...

omg- sorry for the essay!!!

Alexandra Hedberg said...

that's great to have that determination at that age.

I wanted to become a painter (tada - I am!)

My 5 year old son wants to become a gardener, a ceramic artist (making things you can use)and have his own ice cream store. I've told him that's a good combination - you can have the store in your lovely garden and when it's raining or winter you make your pottery...

Sarah said...

Funny that-as I am a teacher and, I like to think, a painter! Great choice artsygirl! I never had a clue what I wanted to be. When I left university I told the bank manager to whom's bank I owed lots of money, that I wanted to 'make things and sell them'-he just looked at me disdainfully! I still want to make things though and have even occasionally sold them, so there mr bank manager!
THanks for your lovely comment about the flower paintings. I can't wait to do a couple more.

S.E.Minegar said...

I took that career test too! I was going to be a lab technician (I decided at NASA) or a jet pilot. I became both...jk.

cindy said...

i love the illustration and will visit michelle's blog because lately i feel like a wayward wanderer.

actually, i don't remember what my career test said, but i'd sue my guidance counselor if could. somehow, i ended up in professional services, and although i did well, it didn't suit my personality at all. i'm not comfortable telling people what to do in that way.

the best exercise i ever took in this area was to answer the question 'what did you like to do as a kid?' you know, before the adults interfered? i liked to make things and music. reading was not a favorite past time of mine, which is what you spend a lot of time doing in professional services. oy!

i learned that exercise from a wonderful book called 'make a name for yourself' by robin fisher roffer. i need to revisit it.

enjoy your weekend!

6512 and growing said...

Yesterday my five year old son told me: On Saturday and Sunday I'll drive the train, on Monday and Wednesday I'm going to be a farmer, on Tuesday and Thursday I'm going to be an artist, and on Friday, a geologist.
Swoon!
All I ever wanted to be was a writer.
(thank goodness for blogs where I can pretend to be one).

Domestic Scribbles said...

I wanted to be a librarian ever since I could read, but I was dissuaded by a well-meaning family friend who was one. So, I went to a liberal arts college, double majored in English and Classics and became a secretary after graduation. After three years as secretary, I took a career test and among other things, it said librarian. So, I entered a masters program, put myself through grad school with a library job I didin't like in order to discover I really wanted to be a children's librarian. I've now been a mother longer than I worked as a school librarian. Not sure how I will return to the workforce when it's time. Until then, just raising my four to find their passions.