From the time that I was a young lass up to now, I have wanted to be a million different things. The first thing that I wanted to be was a doctor, mainly because my dad said that it would be a good profession with prestige that would make me a lot of money. It didn’t hold my interest as an energetic seven-year old, though, so I had to come up with a new idea.
Next, my interest switched to being a fashion designer. Excited by my career choice as an eight year old, I began to hijack all of the spare socks lying around the apartment so that I could cut them up “innovatively” and place them on my Barbie dolls. I began reading fashion magazines so that I could get a look at the latest styles. That lasted a good three years until I concocted yet another new idea: modeling.
I looked at the women in the magazines and was entranced by the glamour of it all. As an 11-year-old preteen, I was fascinated with how confident that these women were in front of the camera. In my mind, I couldn’t do that – but I was determined to try. My consumption of fashion magazines reached massive levels, and I even found a photographer in my hometown that was willing to do photoshoots with me for free so that I could get practice taking pictures. It was great! Now, all I needed to do was apply to colleges in New York City, get into one, and get my modeling career off the ground while going to school.
At some point during high school (while still holding my dreams of modeling), I also became interested in politics/running for office. I started going to local political meetings and doing fashion shows/pageants so that I could indulge both of my interests. The plan was to major in political science, which I eventually switched to communications, and finally landed on finance – mainly because it’d make a lot of money while giving me important knowledge to use as a politician.
I did not get accepted to any NYC colleges that I applied to, so I ended up having to come to Pittsburgh. I figured I’d ride things out here, find a rock band to join (I love singing/playing guitar) & leave after I was done w/ classes to go to NYC. How wrong I was! I got to work on a couple of campaigns & became disillusioned with politics. I worked in the restaurant industry for about a year because I like cooking, but discovered that I didn’t like it enough to do it as a job. I did a couple of nonprofit service years, and decided that I should probably make money at some point in my life. After a brief stint doing sales of technology (& learning invaluable sales skills along the way), I then decided to learn programming so that I could have a skill that is invaluable to most any employer. I learned by doing a three-month course that taught me a lot in a small amount of time.
If you have made it this far in the article, you have probably seen that my interests have taken me all across the map. It seems entirely chaotic. That’s because it has been. What I have discovered about myself along this journey to find professional happiness, however, is this:
- Do not be afraid to try something that you are interested in doing. Even if you don’t succeed, it is better than a lifetime of wondering ‘what if’. And if you do succeed? Just know that your ability to move ahead despite your fear got you to that point.
- Every job/profession that you engage in over the course of your life has something to teach you.
- You will be one heck of an interesting person, and you’ll have millions of stories to tell your friends/significant other/children/anyone else, by saying yes to the eternal pursuit of happiness.
- Finding professional success is a lot like dating: you’ll only succeed if you dive in headfirst & keep trying until you find what you are meant to do. And that will happen eventually.
- Embrace chaos. Life will never be perfect. There will never be a right time for anything. “Stop trying to find logical answers in an illogical world.”
Where do my interests lie these days? Well, I have rediscovered writing, so I’m contributing more to my blog. I am also working on a creative nonfiction book and have several other writing projects that I am doing. I do freelance web development. I have a wonderful boyfriend with whom I am (finally) looking to move out of Pittsburgh next year [when he is done with his licensing exams] so that I can be closer to a stronger fashion industry and so that he can be closer to a stronger design culture for his profession. My friends are pretty great. I have been through a few dreadful times recently, but am finding my way back from those.
I have accepted that my life will always have some level of chaos, but as long as my relationships with others are strong, I’ll be fine.