Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Different Choice

Have you ever wished you had pursued a different career choice than you have?
 
There's probably no doubt that hindsight contributes a little (or lot) to my own thoughts on the matter. 
 
If I had had the support needed, I now believe I could have/would have jumped in with both feet to follow a path to gain the credentials required to have a career involving my lifelong passion of creating with my hands.
 
My parents, although truly wanting what they felt was best for me, discouraged me from using whatever talents I may have had of an artistic bent.  Instead, I was told to, "Become a teacher or nurse and you'll never lack for a way of earning a good living for yourself or as supplement to a husband's earning power."  This was their sincere belief and felt that trying to earn a living while being "artistic" in any way was foolish.
 
I went to college to earn a teaching degree (silly me, as I would not have made a good teacher), found it totally uninspiring and never finished.
 
When Papa Pea and I married, I got a job with a large company while he changed his major to education (and had a long career as an excellent teacher).  I worked my way up in the company to become right-hand (wo)man to a vice president.  The salary was good, not doubt about that, but my job did nothing to fulfill my creative desire.
 
I'm not saying I've not had a good life.  But I am saying, using good old hindsight, I know I would have made different choices way back then.
 
So, big question for you.  Would you have done things differently in that respect than you have? 

25 comments:

NanaDiana said...

Yes-I have felt that way. Knowing what I know now, I would have gone to medical school to become a doctor. Little late now...lol. I have not been unhappy with my life but that would have been the dream for me. xo Diana

Mama Pea said...

NanaDiana - Isn't it the truth . . . "knowing what we know now!" Unfortunately, no way to have the foresight to know the hindsight (what??!) . . . but you know what I mean. A doctor! How interesting. :o)

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

This is such a good question. I think I made the right choice in teaching, but something I might have really immersed myself into would have been some form of investigative work, or possibly writing / journalism.

Michelle said...

I don't let myself think about that. I wouldn't have changed my career path, but would change other things. But those thoughts only poison the present, at least for me.

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - I know you would excel at writing/journalism in some form, and it's very interesting to hear you say some form of investigative work appeals to you. This is all food for thought, isn't it?

Michelle - Oh, you would be such a natural (and in seventh heaven!) to have a profession working with horses! Training, showing, raising, teaching. I can see you doing all of those.

Michelle said...

Mama Pea, I think a lot of professional (as in vocational) trainers don't enjoy horses as much as I do because they become more work than pleasure. I know back when I was training and competing two of my own it took some of the fun out of it. No, I think horses are better as my avocation. I do enjoy graphic design, which is – or was – my career. Now I do bookkeeping to help Rick's practice and to earn some extra income; no passion there but I don't mind helping out.

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - A very interesting and insightful take on working with horses as a vocation. And you've had the experience to know of what you speak! :o)

betty said...

This is an interesting question and one I have thought about over the years. I didn't pursue college, instead just took a short 3 month course on being a medical receptionist. It landed me nice jobs and I eventually went on to do medical transcription which was very lucrative and I would have been content to do it up until my retirement but technology and software changed how it was done and at the age of 62 I found myself unemployed after working in the field for over 30 years. I eventually found temporary jobs, which I'm currently still working one. I think I would have done what my husband always recommends to people starting out. Have 3 things you can fall back on to do in case one closes up. He had gone to college so had a degree and a good career in hospital management, also could teach guitar lessons and could play in a band; thus his 3 "careers". By limiting myself to just transcription for so long I didn't have too much other training to do anything else. So if I had to do it again, I probably would have pursued several other things to be more marketable if I needed to be. Good thought provoking question!

betty

SmartAlex said...

For starters I wish I had taken shop classes and home ec in high school instead of the maths and sciences my advisors pushed on me. Then I wish I had left the area for college. I was so focused on the horses I had at the time that I couldn't imagine leaving home. I really enjoyed the office career I ended up in but I wish I had followed my parents footsteps and gone for Horticulture.

Kristina said...

I went to college for Journalism. Oh my...so much to explain about this journey, I just may have to do a full blown blog post!

Tim B. Inman said...

Well!.... My wife wanted to be a vet. Back then, there were no women admitted to vet schools, and her parents absolutely forbade her from even thinking about it. She would have been a good one. I wanted to work as a furniture maker and artist. Back then, boys were not allowed to take art classes in my high school. We could take wood shop, which I did and loved it. Then college happened. Having a bunch of lawyers in the heirloom cabinet, I was encouraged to go into law. I did. I hated it. Although I was pretty good at it, it didn't light my fire. I knew I was on the drunken lawyer flight path if I kept up my career. Soooooo.... I chucked the whole works and started a furniture restoration shop. Joyce was good enough to go along with me. We ended up happier, at least as prosperous, and fulfilled for the effort. Some of my relatives still don't speak to me. I carried a red farmer's bandana in my suit coat pocket just to keep the riff raff on their heels. When I had had enough of their boot licking, I suddenly had a sneezing fit and pulled out the 'daner.' I quickly found out who was being my friend because I was their friend, and who just wanted to be close to the act.

So yes, I have been there. One thing I've learned and frequently observed over the years (a lot of 'em now and counting) is that it is most important to learn to roll with the punches and look ahead, not behind. What was, was. What is in the future is what could still be!

Overall, just be happy. Life is short. We learned that the hard way, sadly.

Cheers!

Mama Pea said...

betty - Such a wise idea of your husband's! When in high school, I took those "college prep" courses but my mom always encouraged me to take typing, shorthand and other secretarial courses, too. (No computers then, of course.) Being prepared to work in an office setting sure helped me after I dropped out of college. I have an acquaintance who did medical transcribing as her profession but was abruptly "retired" (as you were) when technology changed things and she was let go. :o(

SmartAlex - First off, I think you are an expert in the horticultural field whether you have a degree in the science or not. So now you have obtained your dream job! And yes, I, too, would have benefited in going "away from home" much farther than I did when I started college. I think that's a big part of growing up.

Kristina - Do it, do it!

Tim - Wow, kudos to you for following your heart (and head) in changing your career path! No boys could take art classes??! Sounds like when I wanted to take Drafting in high school, but girls weren't allowed. "What is in the future is what could still be!" Something we all need to remember. And act upon! Thanks for your great reply, Tim.

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Retired Knitter said...

In the early 1960s the paths for women were limited unless you were a trail blazer which I was not. And in my family going to college was not a path that was encouraged. But I did want to go to college and I won that battle because I had a mother who probably wanted to go to college herself but didn’t because only boys went to college in her family. :-(. What did I want to do? My choices were the same as yours - teacher or nurse. I picked teacher and did that for 4 years and was uninspired too. My personal and private goal was to become an actress - TOTALLY not encouraged by my parents as it was not a stable profession - and they were right in that regard. I would have been happy for a time I guess, but would I have been able to support myself with that profession - probably not. I never had a defining goal of what I wanted to do. I have always admired those who knew and made it happen. Here I am now at 74 and still can’t put my finger on it.

Mama Pea said...

Retired Knitter - The thing is if you had given acting a go, you MIGHT have been a success! Even if it didn't turn out that way, who knows what else it could have led to? Plus, just to have had the experience and tried it out would have settled the dream in your own mind. Maybe you and I should form a pact and try to figure out what we want to be when we grow up. ;o)

Agent X, not said...

No regrets at all. I loved kids, still do-6 kids & 7 grandkids later. I was a poly-sci/ Latin American Studies major, & bi-lingual at a time when few even thought of this. I got married at 19, 1st kid at 20, dropped out of college because we could only afford one set of expenses and it wasn't mine. I got my 1st real estate license at 25, because it didn't cost a fortune, offered unlimited opportunity, afforded me the freedom to be a mom/artist/& business woman. I am now still a Realtor, with 40+ years of experience. Through the years I have used all my passions from helping first time buyers, building communities, serving the underserved as well as luxury homes, teaching (adult-ed can be sort of like herding cats and not so different from being a mom!). I coach, teach, and still sell with a small team. Similar to what Tim has said, I tell my new agents to look at life through the windshield, not the rear view mirror. "Don't look back, you're not going that way". Love the comments, thanks for the post.

Mama Pea said...

Agent X - Wow, I am impressed! And said in all sincerity, good for you! "Don't look back, you're not going that way," and if you don't look forward, you'll never get there. Wise words. And you're welcome!

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Tressa said...

Now that I'm older I would have chosen a career with good retirement benefits. When I was young I was about the money in my pocket.

Mama Pea said...

Tressa - Funny how our priorities change as we are in the different stages of our lives, isn't it? Unfortunately, no matter what career you might have chosen "back then," way too many folks are finding that the retirement plan they worked for has unexpectedly disappeared. One of the tragedies of our country today.

Katie C. said...

I was 10 when my father unexpectedly died leaving my mom with three kids just as she was finishing her teaching degree. I saw how tired that profession made her and all the work no one sees that goes into it so that one wasn’t for me. It was a given that college would be on my own nickel. I always knew I needed to make a decent salary so I became a software engineer. I am good with numbers and math so it was a decent fit but not my passion. Looking back, there were so many other professional choices that I didn’t even know about.

These days I love reading, cooking, gardening, and I’m an early retiree.

Mama Pea said...

Katie C. - As you've shared, there are times when it's necessary to make a career choice that is the wisest choice rather than another that might be more to our liking. Where is it that we all go to find that "perfect" career path that checks all the boxes for us personally? My high school (300+ in my graduating class) had a full-time guidance counselor but other than knowing his name, I never had any contact with him. If we don't stumble across a personal mentor early in life, sadly we're left to make a decision that doesn't look or feel very good years down the road. Your story illustrates the point that sometimes "we gotta" rather than "we wanna." Glad you got to take an early retirement and are filling your days with activities you love. Thanks for sharing with us.

JustGail said...

Well, sort of. I did go non-traditional and signed up for the electronics training at the local community college. I think the 3 of us were the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th females in the program ever. It didn't turn out bad for a spur of the moment decision made at the open house. All my dad could see was TV repair in it. I got a job as a lab technician at an avionics company. What I would have done differently was to put my foot down that I was a technician (did mostly test and debug) not an assistant (did mostly wiring and assembly) and to get more into the computer software & network side of things as they came into use at work. That said, I did learn I like building things far more than staring at a schematic staring at an oscilloscope trying to figure out what was going (or not going) with a circuit. I guess that's where my fondness of a variety of textile arts comes in - satisfies my love of making things, especially things that don't disappear in minutes like food does.

Anonymous said...

In mid life, my husband and I decided to take a huge risk and get out of the mainstream "grind". We both realized that we were living to work (for someone else) and not working to live a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. We wanted to homestead first, and maybe/somehow fit in compatible jobs that contribute a service to the larger community. We knew our mindful choice would be more difficult, even frustrating at times. Fortunately, the homestead lifestyle has kept us somewhat physically and mentally agile as it allowed us both to think outside-of-the-box and create new solutions to everyday problems. 'No regrets for our change. However, I do wish I had more personal time for pursuing all of my interests--impossible in one lifetime, I'm sure. And, the last 20 years have been very tough with doing long distance elder care plus administering their estates; all requiring long travel and significant time spent away from our home. So maybe I wouldn't have moved so far away from my elders, knowing what I know now. But, on the other hand, I realize that their communities would have been toxic for me/us to live in. So with every decision there is ultimately a trade-off and a balance. No decision will perfectly check off all of the boxes. Thus, second guessing cannot be an option regarding our past choices. We just continue to do the best we know how in the moment.-MR

Chy said...

I ended up in my dream job and it uses my creative side as well, so best of both worlds. BUT it took a weird path to get here and that makes me cherish it even more every day. I wish adults would allow and encourage kids when they share what they want to be when they grow up. Let them dream! And then help them get there.

Great post!

X Chy