I found myself involved in a conversation with a teenager the other day (I’m not even really sure how it happened) about work and jobs and life and the future and the chatter eventually came around to what steps said ‘young’ should be taking to secure his future as a good and productive citizen of the universe-world. Then, someone asked me my opinion on the matter. Cue that sound that always plays in the movies, you know the one – where the record gets stopped abruptly with that awful scratching noise and all the kids at the party pause, mid-keg-stand.
Um, dude: you are totally asking the wrong person.
People always ask me how I got into IT and working with computer junk. The simple answer is, I have no idea. The more complex answer is: it just kind of happened. I never set out to work in the magical world of the web. I didn’t even have my own computer till I was 20 and only recently discovered that they are not powered by a combination of hopes, wishes and witchcraft. And while I have found that I do have an affinity for the old PC and all its workin’s when I put my mind to it (or at least moreso than the average jerk), I’m no expert. I may be able to wrangle around the InDesign and assorted other Adobe package wonders, I can muddle through building a basic website (but that shit’s going to have bugs, sorry) and sure I can complete those million other tiny job-specific tasks that I’ve trained myself to do over the past five years of doing my job – but I’m really just kind of winging it.
That’s because, despite being 30 years old and having all manner of adult accoutrements (such as a car, a savings account and simply enormous breasts) I’m not really a proper grown up and I actually have no idea of what I want to do with my life.
Okay, that isn’t true. I do know what I want to do with my life and it involves writing science fiction stories, reading plenty of books, blogging, living by the ocean, doing lots of Yoga and generally being awesome, preferably with a bunch of dogs and cats. And maybe a goat. I just don’t know if I can ever make a living doing only those things. Probably not. Maybe, if I’m lucky and I work hard and become extremely awesome at writing.
As for the whole notion of having a career doing some kind of job? No idea. I work with computers and websites now because it seems like a cool idea and I don’t mind it, but I’ve never had that whole deep passion when thinking of a career. (Well, except the writing thing.) I’ve got friends who are super passionate about things, and thus made it their jobs. Like, they are mad keen for language and thus became speech pathologists and ESL teachers. I know folks who love kids so they became childcare workers or teachers. I’ve got some friends who love punching holes in people’s skin and filling them with shiny jewels, and so they became body piercers. Or those kids who super dig on making shit, and thus became…like, folks who make shit. You know, houses and furniture and boats and bridges and stuff.
Me, I’m passionate about books. So, following the above logic, I should really make books. But I’ve always had this whole things of being too bloody practical. At uni, my classmates would talk about being writers in the future, whereas I was always too pragmatic for ‘dreams’ such as that. I thought about paying the bills first and my aspirations second… and I think it was to my detriment. ‘Cause while the bills do need to get paid, there’s also room to aspire for more and if the thing you really want to do is something you are halfway decent at and love and that comes naturally, maybe it isn’t such a long shot.
Hopefully I’ll graduate from desk-jockey to…a different kind of desk jockey one day. Maybe, if I work hard enough and have enough luck and persistence and all that, I’ll get to do what I love when I grow up.
Do you even know what you want to be when you grow up? If so, did you reach as advanced an age as I before you figured it out? Let me know all about it!