Ask any child what their future career will be, and you can expect something flashy, grandiose or downright ridiculous. For most, it is unlikely they will become a professional athlete, astronaut, or actress*. Yet, we continue to encourage them to dream big.
I dreamed of many future jobs – some more seriously than others – and worked as hard as a six year old can to prepare myself. There were the games of pretend for when I wanted to be an actress, the girl band from when I wanted to be a famous singer, and the stories of a future author. As a fourth grader, I wrote a speech about the environment that I hoped to give before the village board to convince them to clean up the wooded area in my neighborhood. Just before high school, I toured a bookmaking facility and interviewed a publisher just in case my love of books could become a career. Most of the time, I just fantasized about a huge corner office and a briefcase like my father’s.
However, there is one career I was certain I would pursue. “I want to be the first female president.” Politics was a simple choice. I am an excellent negotiator and want to help people succeed at life. It seemed appropriate. Even after a week in high school spent sleeping, eating, & breathing politics through NYLC’s program in Washington D.C., I still planned to get my law degree and transform the government into a lower cost, more effective infrastructure to work for the people.
(Side note: When Hillary Clinton began her campaign for the top spot, I cried a little inside. It was not out of dislike for Mrs. Clinton but rather because if she won I couldn’t be the first female president.)
I no longer plan to enter politics because the red tape of capitol hill is too great to create a truely effective government. There is a part of me that still considers law school because my ideals have not changed, and I still want to reach out and make others’ lives better. However, I can accomplish this more effectively on a small scale. Currently, I volunteer for Habitat for Humanity both as a builder and associate at the Green Bay ReStore. I cannot make a big change in someone’s life, but I can work with other volunteers to make someone’s life a little easier.
As a marketing professional, I am pleased to look back on my former dream careers and see little ways they assert themselves in my current life. A lot of my time is spent learning and being creative whether through new classes, books, knitting, photography, or travel.
Perhaps someday I will do some great deed that will epicly change life as we know it. (Yes, I read too many books as a child.) However, I can help in small ways in the meantime.
* My favorite will always be one 3 yr old’s pronouncement that he wanted to be either Big Bird or a banana. He was quite serious.