7. What is your dream job and why?
My dream job has changed as often as my hair color, and at 38 years old, I’m still not sure on most days what I want to be when I grow up.
Around first grade I wanted to be a drum major ballerina who was President of the United States. At some point, I realized there weren’t that many professional marching bands, I hadn’t had a single dance lesson (and had no plans to start), and President Reagan got shot. Suddenly, that gig didn’t look so hot.
There was a brief seventh grade phase when I was going to be a corporate lawyer, although I’m not totally sure I knew what that meant. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer and defend my clients, but I didn’t want to defend people who were guilty. Working in the corporate world seemed like it would get me off the defend-the-bad-guys hook, but all these years later, I realize the bad guys aren’t always thugs lurking in the shadows.
In eighth and ninth grade, I thought the world needed one more head-in-the-clouds poet, and Mrs. Susie Simmons and Mrs. Vickie King did nothing to squash that. In fact, they boosted my confidence and made me think I might be ready for the big time.
I never became a poet, but I did discover a love of symbolism and word play. Reading and writing had always been important to me, but after having those two ladies as English teachers, my fascination with writing became a fire no one could extinguish. I not only discovered a newfound, deeper appreciation for the written word, though – I also discovered a new appreciation for the power of educators and their ability to shape, create, mold, and inspire.
Some time around tenth grade, I was pretty well set that I would be a writer. In my mind, that meant I had to work for a newspaper or magazine and would probably have to move to a larger area to truly be successful. After high school, I went to Louisiana Tech to study journalism. From there, I moved to Tyler, Texas, to work in marketing/advertising/public relations for the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System.
This was not what I had in mind when I pictured myself as a writer.
Where were the trips to exotic places, the interviews with political powerhouses, the hard-edged essays spotlighting the world’s injustice? How did I end up writing stack upon stack of proposals, brochures, ads, commercials, press releases and who knows what else on any given day without ever getting to see my name attached to any of it?
Where was my she’s-so-great spotlight?!
It turns out that the much-desired spotlight I always thought was in my future wasn’t my true path. Except for one year when I was in school working on my Master of Education, health care has been my focus since I first moved to Tyler in late 1994. Every time I think I am going to escape the hold the healthcare industry has on me, I come running back.
Health care has served me well for the most part, even though it hasn’t been what I would classify as my “dream job.” It has taught me quite a bit I wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to learn, and I’m thankful for the blessed opportunities that have come along. My current job centers on grant development and working with community benefit programs, so the mothery, bleeding-heart side of me is quite pleased with the work I do.
But is it really what I am meant to do? I don’t know.
Is it my dream job? No.
However, my dream job is no longer traveling writer with major assignments each week in awesomely out-of-the-way locations with internationally known dignitaries and celebrities.
Nope. Not even close.
Since you girls have come along, that career path doesn’t appeal to me anymore. If I can’t have you with me on a daily basis, I’m not interested. My dream of being a mother has become a reality, and the importance of that far outweighs my career dreams.
So what is my dream job now? I guess if I had to pick something and know that it would be the focus of the remainder of my career, I would teach journalism at Louisiana Tech. That is about as close to a dream job as I could get. It takes my Master of Arts in journalism and folds it into my Master of Education and gives me the chance to return to the place where I was educated to assist with the training of others interested in the field.
I do not believe that “Those who can do, and those who can’t teach.” In fact, it’s just the opposite – so often, those who can’t are out in the world publishing and getting attention when they, in fact, are only mediocre at their craft. Those people could not survive in a classroom if they were acually put on the spot to explain the theories and history behind journalism. They know nothing of design, editing, the evolution of newspapers and magazines, advertising, public relations, marketing…
The list could rattle on for quite a while, but that’s not the point.
The point is that I feel well grounded in journalism. The real-world career I have had for nearly 20 years has provided hands-on, hardcore experience in journalism from many perspectives. I don’t know everything, of course. There is always more to learn and ways to improve, but teaching journalism is a job I know I can do.
Maybe someday I will get the chance to prove that. Until then, I will seek joy in what I already do and remain thankful for the privilege of returning to my desk each day. You – my supposedly-never-meant-to-be children – took the shine off the old dream job and placed the spotlight on a different dream.
Thank you, girls.
I see now that my place isn’t out in the world leading marching bands, pirouetting through Life or reporting on international injustice from the shores of MiddleOfNowhere Paradise.
My paradise is right here in your world, and at the end of my Life, I am 100% certain I will look back and know without a single doubt that the dreamiest job title I could ever have is “Mama.”
You gave me that, and no other job that comes along will be more important. You are, after all, my dream come true.