Friday, August 27, 2010
As a little pre-class assignment for school everyone was told to write a biography about themselves and why they wanted to go back to school. I decided to post it on my blog in lieu of writing an actual blog. Otherwise my new job is going great and I'm really excited about recruiting. This is definitely my new career path and what I want to be when I grow up...if I ever decide to grow up. Check out the story of me below.
Since I was a little girl I have had many disparate dreams about what I wanted to be when I grew up. My earliest memory of career choice would be astronaut. I had just come home from kindergarten and my mother was sitting in front of the television crying. She was watching the space shuttle Challenger disaster. I was completely fascinated with space exploration after that, despite the risky business of exploding space shuttles. I even begged my parents for the next few years to send me to NASA Space Camp. For science projects I did presentations on Astronauts, Cosmonauts and made a special presentation on Sputnik that was met with much confusion by my middle-American classmates.
My astronaut dreams were pushed to the back burner when one year my aunt sent my older brother a chemistry set for his birthday. He never touched it so I plundered it and turned the dining table into my own personal laboratory. For my 4th grade science fair project I set up a booth dedicated to chemistry. I hand drew the periodic table of elements, and performed magical chemical feats for the passing audience. After that I wanted to be a Scientist; no specialized field, just a Scientist (I was 8, after all). That was a short lived dream because I was told by my math tutor it required being very good at math and 8 years of college.
In 5th grade a new dream was born. I was cast in the church Christmas musical as Psaltina in “Psalty’s Christmas Carol”. I played Psalty’s wife, a gigantic singing dancing yellow Bible. Yes, a Bible. I had a solo and several lines. At the after party I received many compliments about my voice and stage presence. A seed was planted. My audience loved me. I had to share myself. I auditioned endlessly for school plays after that and I was determined to be an actress. All throughout Middle School and High School I was very active in theatre.
The theatre became my hiding place from the rest of High School where I was completely sad and miserable. I hated going to class because I couldn’t pay attention and missed so much. There were few teachers who could really get through to me, and those were my writing teachers and theatre directors. As a result in high school I failed nearly every class but English and Theatre. I didn’t care because I was going to be a playwright and actor. Who needs a high school diploma if you’re going to tread the boards and be the next Shakespeare? I tried very hard to actually achieve that diploma and even repeated my senior year, but after being told I wouldn’t have enough credits to graduate until the year 2000 (two years after my original class graduated), I decided to drop out, work and get my GED. I was told by my peers I was making a huge mistake for dropping out but my unhappiness in high school outweighed my need for a diploma.
I immediately got my GED and did very well and received an award for my essay. I suppose some of that wasted high school education managed to stay deep in my subconscious. During this time I was working for a music store, which was truly a dream job. I worked with my best friends. I listened to music all day. I sorted music all day. I ate, drank and slept music. My brain was a music catalogue. Music became the center of my world. After going to a U2 concert I wrote an eight page review and posted it on a fanstie and got numerous feedbacks from board readers about what a wonderfully detailed critical writer I was. A new seed was planted: I was going to be a writer for Rolling Stone. I was obsessed with this dream for many years. I attended endless concerts (I’m sure I spent thousands of dollars on concert tickets), wrote many reviews and feverishly read music magazines. The movie “Almost Famous”, about a young writer becoming a critical music writing protégé for Rolling Stone Magazine in the 70’s (the height of rock), was my pornography. I wrote a letter to the editor which was published in Rolling Stone’s 9/11 issue. Soon after that I was contacted by a publishing company that wanted to use my U2 concert reviews for a U2 tour book. They were signs: I was meant to be a music writer. I was connected to a publisher in NYC through a client of mine (I had to stop working at the music store when I realized I couldn’t live on $8 an hour and started working for HQ Global Workplaces in Denver), and he told me most places won’t talk to me without a degree. He was only talking to me because he was friends with my client, Kitty. I knew what that meant: time to go back to school and prove my disappointed friends from high school wrong. I was going to fly high. As Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous” said, “You’ll meet them again on their long journey to the middle.”
I started going back to school in the spring semester of 2005. It was such a wonderful feeling to be learning again and having an actual career path to my dream job. Then something happened: I met a girl. I had never been in a relationship nor had any prospective relationships so I made the biggest mistake I believe any young woman that age could ever make: I made my relationship the center of my world. Her dreams became my dreams. I was her cheerleader but didn’t allow myself to have my own dreams for her to cheer me on to. I let my grades slip and was put on academic probation.
After a while she was offered a job at Microsoft in the Seattle area. I was able to transfer with my job and it was my intention to start at a new school once we moved here. Unfortunately I allowed life to get in the way. No school right now, we’re moving. No school right now, we’re buying a house. No school right now, I don’t have a car. No school right now, her work schedule is too busy and she has choir and needs the car more than you. No school right now, we’re planning our wedding. No school right now, I’m getting married. No school right now, my wife doesn’t believe that I can handle school and we’re planning a family anyway so why bother getting a degree I won’t use. No school right now, I’m getting divorced. There was a melee of excuses that stopped me from going back to school (and let’s face it, I should never have let anyone stand in my way). In addition there was a severe drop in my confidence and abilities to be a good writer when my partner called my writing “cliché”. Let this be a lesson to everyone out there: if the person you are dating is critical of you and doesn’t support your dreams, kick them to the curb. You will find someone else. Better to be alone than to sacrifice your self-confidence and dreams to be with a person who would rather your world revolved around their own life and dreams.
All the while my personal life was falling into dismal disarray (two months prior to my own divorce, my mother announced via text message she was going to divorce my father), print publishing was also falling apart. Newspaper and magazine publishers were shutting down after running for decades and Rolling Stone magazine was taking a turn for the overly commercialized worst. I lost faith in print publishing and decided to just focus my writing on my blog. I’m still trying to find a focus and direction I’d like to take my blog in, so in the meantime it’s just a narcissistic outlet.
At this time I had been working for Microsoft as a vendor in their Usability division. I hated my job. I hated everything about it. I hated my boss, I hated most of my coworkers, I hated the work I was doing and most of all hated that after two years I hadn’t had any raises and I was having to negotiate a $.50 raise. That had been my professional path for the last 10 years: every year I negotiate a $.50 raise. After losing my job at Microsoft I decided that is not what I wanted my life to be. Year after year, begging for pocket change raises. I was tired of working low level and entry level jobs. If I met my five year old self, she would have kicked me in the shins. It was time to have a real grown up career path.
For some time I had considered becoming a Project Manager, however after working under Project Managers for two years and realizing not only do I hate Project Managers but everyone else hated Project Managers. I didn’t want a job where everyone hates me. After a lot of consideration and talking to an advisor, I decided I wanted to take my career in the direction Human Resources. Granted a lot of people hate Human Resources, but I could still live with myself at the end of the day. HR is definitely a lot more than it used to be, especially on the enterprise level. While working in Usability I really enjoyed recruiting and pegging people into key demographics. After thinking about how much I enjoy working with people and understanding them, being a cheerleader and recruiting I decided that I really want to be a part of guiding people in their careers.
I’m 30 years old (wow that’s hard to read sometimes) and it’s taken me a long time to realize what I really wanted to be when I grew up. I’ve been called a sell out for dropping my artistic career goals and going corporate, but I can still have a “real grown up” job and be true to my artistic side. At the moment I am working for Microsoft College Recruiting, I’m getting ready to start school again, working on my first book and I’m active in community theatre. I live on my own in one of the greatest cities in the world and I’m constantly inspired by the world and people around me. I think if I met the 5 year old girl that wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up, she would be okay with were we are standing right now.