What Did You Really Want to Do with Your Life?

A post over at helium.com gives a very quick list of ten things we all wanted to be before we grew up. Supposedly. How did they get these results? Who knows. They could easily have been plucked out of thin air. If they did come from a survey, reciprocal linkage would have been a good idea.

But I digress.

I’ve read through them all. None of them match what I wanted to be. Honestly, when I was going through primary and high school – I had no thoughts on my mind about where I would be when I left. None. Nada. Kaput. Zilch. Naught. That’s right.

I didn’t go to school to get prime-grades to get into university. Whilst other kids were repeating classes to memorise the correct answers to A+ results, I was …. well, let’s just say that during my Y12 study-week (SWOTVAC, as it was known) I learnt some interesting life lessons:

1a. A car with four people in it will leave the ground if forced to. A well-positioned rock (thanks to mother nature and erosion) in the middle of a road managed to hurl a full-laden car from the ground to the fence-line.

1b. Four guys will fit into a tow-truck cabin.

2. Opening a bottle requires a bottle opener. Twist-tops were not invented in 1986. Enough on that one. My arm still hurts.

I’m sure there are other things to remember from those five years of imprisonment, wait, I mean to say five years of unimaginable delightful lunch-hours with other teenage mutants.

But twenty one years (and one missed reunion) later, I still don’t recall thinking about what I was going to do earn a few dollars for surviving in the big bad world.

Stop. Footpath. Pedestrians.

Let’s take a serious look at the list suggested:

10. Be a bus driver who sold ice cream instead of tickets.

If number ten is the most wanted job, then I fully understand. What’s not to like about this job?

The hours are what you make them, the margin of profit is determined by the want of your audience and the weather of the day. Owning a franchise is not an easy job to take on, but there a heaps of perks. Other than working in accordance with the wants of the mother company (if it has one, many do), purchasing stock to keep your business working is probably the hardest thing to do.

Keeping the accountant happy with cash-in-hand could be tricky. Keeping up with the latest food trends would be fun. Surely there would be Food-Expo’s or social-events where you can see what you might need or want to change in your ice-cream flavours. Other than that, this job is what you make of it. I’d like it! Oh, and having the capital to purchase the both the franchise and van. If you take this job, I’ll be first in line for a simple chocolate ice-cream cone. Nothing beats chocolate!

9. An Olympic swimmer.

Having what it takes to do this job means a lot of sacrifice. Nobody I know has ‘grown up’ to become an Olympian. More often they start on this journey before they reach the double-figure age-group. Seven-year-olds wake up one morning, head down to their local swimming-hole/pool, swim for an hour – and then say, “I am going to be in the Olympics“. Then they are told by their coach what they’ll have to give up, how much exercise and discipline it requires. Then the kid baulks, goes pale in the face, hurls some chlorinated breakfast. Then commits to the monastery of swimming.

Not something anybody can just jump into. But I encourage everyone to discover if they can. Representing your country at the Olympics would be the most amazing moment in your life. Do you think you could do it?

8. A Karate instructor.

Wait. Wouldn’t you want to be good at karate before you got to this point. You’d have to win a lot of trophies and prove yourself worthy before even thinking about teaching other people. No thanks. Being a student of Karate is difficult enough.

7. An Aircraft Pilot.

Nice one. Yes please. Apparently you need high-grades to plow your tin-can contraption around the air. But it would be a great job. Hurtling along at the speed of sound, breaking windows as you do flyby’s over your mates working at the 7-11, getting a helmet that says MAVERICK or TOPGUN on it. Yep. This would be cool. Good luck, again, to those who choose this career.

6. A British Ambassador, 3. Foreign Secretary, 2. Prime Minister

Come again? You what? OK, so the superannuation payout might be good when you retire – but what do you do for the rest of the time? Keep a desk warm? Pretend to know what restraint is? Keep waving at the peasants? I’ll leave this one for the British elite.

5. A cartoon creator.

Another freelance job! Yes, show me the mon…. oh, wait, you have to be good, damn good to make any money from this field. Years of drawing the same characters, creating a cult-following who give you free advertising across their forums, and finally – animated on the Disney channel. Success is often lower than the standards we set.

4. A writer like L.M Montgomery.

It would be easier to become an pilot than be a successful writer. The problem with writing is that everyone is so fickle about what they like. A pilot simply flys. The audience is locked in. You wanna fly there? Let’s go.

But being a writer sometimes means being selective, caring, understanding and sometimes negative about your audience. The people looking out for you are not always going to be interested.

So if you want to succeed as a writer, find your niche and write about it. An audience will build itself if you are consistent and true to your ideals.

1. An Astronault.

I presume they mean ‘astronaut‘. This would be an exciting job, one where both the training and the final workplace would be amazing.

According to LiftOff to Space Exploration, “early in the U.S. manned space program, jet aircraft and engineering training were prerequisites for selection as an astronaut. Today, scientific education and experience are equally important prerequisites in selecting both pilots and mission specialists. NASA accepts applications from qualified individuals (from both civilian and military walks of life) on a continuing basis, selecting candidates as needed for the [sic] 1-year training program…

That would be fun.

But where does that leave me and you? Wherever we want, I guess. Have you got it takes to go forth and complete the necessary studies for any of these career choices? How would you fare in the big bad world of finance? Could you take on a franchise successfully? Sorry, but I don’t have the answers to these questions. You might though.

Let me know what you would do if you could live your teenage years all over again.

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2 thoughts on “What Did You Really Want to Do with Your Life?

  1. Man look at you, you are smoking! All these posts, I am happy that you found inspiration so I get to read these interesting things from you. Btw love the pictures of your flickr account!

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  2. Thanks radiantwoman. I am stuck at home with illness (commonly known as the ‘flu’) which involves endure irregular bathroom visits, sporadic sleeping …zzz… and phlegm filled tissues adorn the bed around me. Lovely.
    So the laptop sits to one side and I allow the thoughts of my suderfed(mild drug)-stupor to be typed down when I’m awake.
    Expect more…

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