08 November 2011

What did I want to be when I grew up: a Blog Off post


Every two weeks, the blogosphere comes alive with something called a Blog Off. A Blog Off is an event where bloggers of every stripe weigh in on the same topic on the same day. The topic for this round of the Blog Off is "What did I want to be when I grew up?"

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What indeed?

Family photo of one of my brothers and me in the summer of '69.

I am one of those people who never knew. I mean it, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. The question would come up in elementary school and I would say anything just to have the question move along to the next kid.

As I got older, I'd have an occasional glimmer. At one point I wanted to be a physician, then a PR guy, then an attorney. But none of those things really had any passion attached to them.

So I suppose as a result of that, I've been a lifelong career chameleon. I've been a journalist, scientific copy editor, a waiter, a restaurant manager, a proofreader, a copy writer, a production manager, a case manager in a halfway house, a construction worker, a residential designer and now a PR/ marketing/ social media guy. That resume's not getting me a job at Bank of America any time soon but I can no sooner imagine me in an environment like that than I can see me teaching kindergarten.

To an outsider, my various hats worn over the last 30 or so years must look kind of schizophrenic but to me they follow a narrative that makes sense. They've also left me flexible and ready to tackle anything. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

Most of my peers and friends knew from an early age and they followed a path to get to where they are now. I took a path too, it was just a winding one. Part of me envies folks who knew all along and could follow a singular vision through life. But another part of me relishes the fact that I've had so many varied experiences and worn so many hats.




As the day progresses, a list will appear below with all of today's participating bloggers as they weigh in on today's topic. It's going to be an interesting day, so check out what bloggers from all over wanted to be when they grew up.

20 comments:

  1. I find it hard to imagine a life that had fewer hats too and at times wonder at people such as my brother, who has had the same job/career since college.

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  2. OK - I was writing ads when I was 5. I even won my first award for an ad at @ 11 years old. I still have that radio. But I've also worn many hats as writer, marketer, PR specialist, social media consultant and more. The only thing certain (besides death and taxes) is change. And our world is changing constantly. Changing hats is just part of the gig.

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  3. I agree Todd, completely.

    Lori: The narrative I claim my various hats followed was that I've always had to use my creativity and my analytical mind at the same time. I'm a hybrid and if I put any stock in the right brain/ left brain thing I'd have to say that unless I'm using both halves at the same time I can't be happy.

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  4. Having never met you personally, it was kind of weird knowing which kid in a picture 42 years ago is you, oh boy.

    Paul do you realize there is a common thread in most of the jobs you listed? Apart from a few construction,waiting etc... there seems to be more than few that has something to do with words and writing! And look now your are blogging.

    Hmmm a book in the future for you?

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  5. I'm the one driving. That's my brother Dave on the back. The common thread is not at all lost on me and I've been telling myself my whole life that there are books in my head, just waiting to get out. I think about it all the time and before I'm through I know I'll see my name on a dust jacket. Thanks for noticing!

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  6. What a great winding road it appears to have been. Interesting where life takes us when we let it.

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  7. I never thought about this “assignment” in terms of wearing different hats, although I most certainly have. I’ve worked in a grocery store, been a farm worker (which involved bucking hay, moving irrigation pipes, picking potatoes, and bucking spuds—lot of bucking, but when you spell it with a “b” it’s just a lot of hard work!), a dishwasher, a cook, a soldier, a clerk, an advertising scheduling manager, a loan representative and branch manager, an escrow officer and officer manager. Hated every damned one of them too! But it turned out… to turn out all right!

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  8. your post was very reassuring. I often envy the more focused path, especially when I feel like I'm meandering more than winding toward a culmination of something to relish.

    ~L (omphaloskepsis)

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  9. Ann: That's the key so far as I'm concerned, letting life lead where it may. If I can detach from my desired results I get better results. Crazy how that works.

    Joseph: Barring injury or illness (and even with them most of the time) it usually does turn out right.

    Omphaloskepsis: Have I ever told you how much I love your screen name. Does it betray me as an English major that I know what it means? Hah! I can envy people who have a discernible path all I want but it doesn't change the fact that I never had one. As I get older, I find myself envying less and looking back with pride over my meanderings.

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  10. We had great clothes and trikes back then, didn't we?

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  11. We did. I think we were the last ones to have black and white childhoods too.

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  12. Your career path doesn't look "schizophrenic" but interesting!

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  13. Sounds like a wild, exciting ride with a few more quarters left to spend. I was at St. Petersburg beach a couple weeks ago. I have a friend in Bradenton. Good job, neighbor.

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  14. Thanks, it has been a wild ride. And then some!

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  15. I love the winding path! Enjoying hearing about yours! Step by step by step!

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  16. The most interesting thing I've ever done was sell exercise bikes to paralyzed people. True story! I love to watch HR people try to make sense of my resume. I watch them scan it and know that they are ticking off all the pigeon holes that I can't be crammed into and eventually shrug and move on. Ah, well.. it's the climb, right. I can almost see it, the dream I'm dreaming... sorta looks like Montana.

    I also remember I wanted to be a doctor at one time. It may have been a M*A*S*H-induced delusion. Or I was trying to figure out how to scam the USMC into 4 more years of NROTC money and a O-3 paygrade out of college.... yeah, that all didn't work out. Probably would have sucked as a doctor anyway....

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  17. Thanks Scott!

    Rufus: I wonder if my early doctor daydreams were MASH-induced too. I never thought of that but it makes sense.

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  18. Not 'Schizo', just multi-talented!!!! Myself I was born in the wrong era as always wanted to be a Criminal Lawyer or a Psychologist. (.ie: Came from a large family, no school grants back then and was a female.) :)
    -Brenda- aka mrsben

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  19. You are entirely too kind Brenda!

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