When I Grow Up I Want to Be…

Career and job-related things are on my mind this week, as my summer temp job winds down, and after reading the article I posted yesterday, about the risk-taking entrepreneurs.

And while I may not have a definitive career plan myself, I know the direction I’m heading: I want to write.  But I thought it might be amusing to think back on all the careers I once considered, because some of them are pretty ridiculous.

  • “Meat-cutter:” Angelic little child that I was, I always dutifully accompanied my mom to the grocery store each week.  Where one day I informed her that I wanted to be a “meat cutter” when I grew up.  She thought I meant that I wanted to work in the butcher section of the store, which is weird in its own right, but especially weird for a 3 year old who hated being dirty.  Years later, when she was retelling the story, I cleared things up and told her I had in fact just wanted to work at the deli.  Lunchmeat.  The stuff that dreams are made of.  Just for a standard of comparison, around this age, my college roommate was telling people she wanted to be a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. (Yes, she’s the smart one, if you were wondering).
  • Disney Imagineer:For those of you who were lucky enough to grow up with cable, I know you remember those “Imagineer That!” commercials on the Disney Channel.  And if you need a refresher, see the clip below.  In elementary school, it was my dearest ambition to design rollar coasters for Disney World with Tom Morrow 2.0.  That is, until I found out there was math involved.  On to the next career!
  • Olympic gymnast: Kerri Strug, Atlanta, 1996.  Me and several

    Kerri Strug lands her vault on a broken ankle, helping the US win the Team Gold Medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

    thousand other 8 year old girls spent the summer hopping around our living rooms imitating her heroic vault.  This dream lasted until my gymnastics instructor asked me to try a backward roll on the balance beam.  Apparently my fear of falling outweighed my Olympic desires.

  • 3rd Grade Teacher: I had a spectacular 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Litchfield, who, incidentally, was the first person (outside my family) to encourage me as a writer.  The big project in the 3rd grade was writing stories that would be “published” in our own personal book at the end of the year.  I remember writing a story about my figure skating lessons in my free time, and submitting it to Mrs. Litchfield to read.  Not only did she praise the story, but she encouraged me to keep writing.  We used to joke that one day I would come back and take her place as the 3rd grade teacher, once I finished college and she was done teaching.  And though I won’t be going back to take her place, I will be forever grateful to her for planting that seed in my mind, and encouraging me to pursue something that I was good at.
  • Marine Biologist (but only for dolphins): Fittingly, this particular ambition dates back to the summer that we visited Sea World and swam

    Not my actual family. Just a picture I got from Google.

    with dolphins at Discovery Cove, on a family vacation to Florida before I started high school.  This also might have been around the time that that Olsen Twins movie set in the Bahamas came out, the one where they swam with dolphins, too.  Holiday in the Sun, anyone?  (No, I’m not proud of that.  But hey, look how far I’ve come, right?)  Despite the fact that science was always my worst subject in school (and entirely neglecting the fact that no school offered a “dolphin” major…), that summer, I wanted to work with dolphins when I grew up.

It was during high school and college, encouraged by my parents and some great teachers, that I started to zero in on a writing career.  I realized that I had some skill, which was first improved thanks to the sometimes ruthless, but usually helpful, proofreading skills of my parents, a journalist and a teacher (“There’s a good paper in here somewhere, Maura,” is probably one of the highlights of those proofreading sessions).  And I also realized that writing was what made me happy.  Yes, even happier than the dolphins or the deli meat.  And I’m hoping I’ll have the opportunity to make a career out of what makes me happy.

Stay tuned.

And in the meantime, I’d love to hear if some of you had any ridiculous career aspirations of your own!


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