Monday, April 22, 2013

"What did you want to be...?"

On Day 22 of 30 Days of Blogging, coming into the home stretch, I'm turning my attention to a topic suggested by Kristin. I actually kind of forgot she suggested this (people suggested through multiple avenues, and I didn't think to consolidate them into a list, which would have been smart), but she reminded me while we were skating the other night:

What did you want to be when you were growing up and if you could have any career in the world right now what would it be?

Other than a superhero or an assassin?

Seriously, though, there have been a few ideas over the years that stuck around longer than a few days or weeks.

FBI Agent: This one popped up in high school, and I can point to one thing that directly influenced this: Twin Peaks. I love this show, even if it did fall apart in the second season, and it made being an FBI agent look like the best job in the world. You got to travel, meet strange and unusual people, shoot people, stay in hotels, and bill your coffee and cherry pie back to the agency. You even got to have a nemesis!

When "Twin Peaks" went off the air, The X-Files came along right behind it, and being in the FBI still looked fun. You got to shoot creepy monsters, chase UFO's, travel, stay in hotels, bill your snacks to the agency, and your own bosses might be your shadowy nemesis! Sure, there were downsides: You could die horribly, or just have something implanted in you, but being in the FBI still looked fun.

Except that I wore glasses, and read somewhere that you had to have 20/20 vision. And I was never going to be in the kind of physical shape that the FBI requires, so somewhere along the way that career idea kind of fizzled out.

Journalist: I took a journalism class in the seventh grade, and it seemed fine. I worked on the school paper all the way through high school, and was the editor my senior year. Journalist seemed like an interesting job, and somewhat respectable: Spider-Man and Superman both worked for newspapers, after all. Granted, so did Lois Lane, but every professional attracts the occasional oddball. Working for the paper meant that you got to write, and also to decide what was and was not important for other people to read about. Sometimes you even got to take pictures, too.

Unfortunately my experience on my college newspaper freshman year with a sloppy drunken editor who actually told me not to correct articles while typing them ("You're a typist, not a copy editor." "Your copy editor should have corrected this." "SHUT UP AND TYPE FASTER!") turned me off to the whole idea. I did spend the next three years of college correcting each issue of the paper with a highlighter and tossing it in the editor's box in the student government office, though, without signing my name to it.

Teacher: I kind of wandered into this idea because I was out of other ideas. I knew that I wanted an English degree, and that I wanted to work with words and writing and maybe someday become a writer, but I also knew that after college I needed a job, and I was told by a number of counselors, parents, and other well-meaning adults that I wasn't getting a job with just an English degree. Fearful of a lifetime of unemployment and recognizing that I might never write a novel (which turned out not to be the case) or that I might finish one but nobody would buy it (which did happen, although now that I think of it I might have just been too early; I wrote a novel about superheroes, which is now a recognized subgenre of sci fi/fantasy, and an agent optioned it for a year, but no one was interested in publishing it), I went for a double major in English and education.

Unfortunately, my program didn't put us into the classroom for more than a few hours a semester until our senior year, and my semester of student teaching taught me that I hated teaching. A lot of the problem was that the students were only two years younger than me. Also I was drinking a bit, and under an intense level of personal stress due to being in my first gay relationship and figuring out that I might actually be gay. I like teaching now, but it's definitely something that I had to grow into.

As for my ideal job...

Is independently wealthy a job?

Seriously, though, I would like to do something that let me write, even if it's just blogging. I would like for it to also include some travel, and maybe some photography. I have no idea what this fantasy job would be in any actual sense, but I know that's what I would do if I won the lottery: settle down in my imaginary loft, read comic books, go on a trip every couple of months, cook, read, and write.

If anyone would like to finance that, by all means, send me a message.


Justin Bower said...

I've often said that my ideal job would be much like what I do now, except that the watersheds and ecosystems I would work on would primarily suffer from being dangerously underhiked and underphotographed and have shockingly large infestations of supermodels.

stanford said...

2 thoughs:

1. That guy probobly still wakes up in cold sweats dreaming about the weekly corrrected copy of the Cortland news. That needs to make your next novel. Which leads me to...

2. I was just telling someone that most authors try and give up on fiction too young. I'm intrigued by the prospect of your later life fiction.