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When I grow up I want to be……………………………Umm I’ll tell you when I grow up! Maybe I’m just a late bloomer but I can never work out what I really want to do in life.  Oh I do lots but as soon as I’ve mastered something, i get bored and want to try something new.  I have the attention span of a goldfish.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Usually, we know exactly what we’re meant to do with our lives at a very early age but then we get pressure from all sides and we sometimes lose sight of our inner knowledge. Our parents want us to do one thing, our teachers another, our peers think they know whats best for us and we put pressure on ourselves to conform and fit in.  We become hesitant to tell people what we really want to do  for fear of being laughed at.  I know as a little kid, i wanted to be a singer, an actor, a teacher, a writer and a princess.  (I still want to be all those things.)  I was so sure of what I wanted to be until I started talking about it.  Being laughed at about your ambition in life is soul destroying. Be very careful when talking to children.  We CAN do anything we want to do and they need to hear that.

When I look back over all the careers I have had, although I haven’t achieved huge monetary success with them, I have done all the things I knew I wanted to do.  I won a karaoke competition once and got asked to come back and host it.  Okay, it was a one night a week gig, but I got paid to do what I love…. to sing.  So although, technically I didn’t become a singer in the way we expect someone to be, I got paid to sing.. (first box ticked)

I did amateur theatre and because of that, I auditioned for a role in a health dept video called “Attack of the Stressoids”.  Don’t be looking for it in a cinema near you anytime soon and if you do happen to find it (i’ve never seen it), don’t expect to see me.. I probably had a 2 second role in it.. BUT…. I got paid for it.  I also got asked to do some puppetry work for a local children’s author while she read books to school kids.  So again, while I didn’t have huge success or fame with that career choice, I still did it. (second box ticked)

I wrote a motivational course called Reprogram for Success after completing my Training & Assessment certificate.  I then got employed by a job network provider to teach it to unemployed people.  Now, I’m not a teacher in a school nor do I teach accredited courses (although I’m qualified to) but I have written and facilitated classes and I like to believe I made a difference to a few peoples lives, which is what a good teacher does.  (third box ticked)

As for the writing, well here I am writing a blog and if you’re reading this, I guess I have achieved what I set out to do there too.  Capture someone’s attention with my words.  I’m also writing a book about my daughter’s life and death but that is a slow, arduous and difficult journey.  It’ll be worth the pain when it’s finished.  I certainly hope you all want to buy it when it’s published.  (fourth box ticked)

As for the other thing on my 5 year old list, I don’t have to attempt to be a princess.  I’m a Leo, so that’s just a given, so all boxes have been ticked. (hooray)

I think sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves when we are planning our careers and see success as inextricably linked to money and fame.  Although when I first imagined doing all those jobs, i thought of them in a strictly traditional sense and whilst that may not have been how they were played out, I have accomplished them in one way or another.

My very first job was in the local general store in our small town.  I loved the job but hated the boss.  He was sleazy and always made me feel completely uncomfortable if left alone with him.  He constantly ogled my breasts, brushed close against me when he walked past and made unacceptable comments to my 16 year old self. He did this to all the girls who worked there, all of us under 20 years old. He never did enough to be able to say completely that he was doing something wrong but he was. In this day and age he would be taken to court for his behaviour but back then, we just sucked it up and avoided him where possible. I loved working with the general public though.  I loved being part of their lives.  I went out of my way to make sure I made every visit to the shop a pleasant experience.  I realised at a young age that my greatest skill was in how I dealt with people.

From there I went to work in the marking room of the Myer Stores.  All stock was brought to the warehouse where we priced it ready for sale.  This was a hoot.  Although we didn’t deal with the general public, it was a great group I worked with and we had lots of fun while getting work done.  I did get caught one day by the big boss of Myer.  I was marking sheepskins when Running Bear came on the radio.. Well, what’s a girl to do? I put the sheepskin around my shoulders and started to do a rain dance to the song.  Someone could have warned me he was visiting the warehouse that day.  Thankfully he just shook his head and walked back out. He walked in another day while I was in the middle of doing a fantastic Elvis impersonation.  I must have been great at my job because I still didn’t get sacked. I think I made it rain though.

I have worked in a few Government departments such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Centrelink.  Next time you are dealing with a government department, just stop before you start yelling.. I know it’s frustrating dealing with them, but it’s a much harder job than you would think.  We would be evacuated at least once a week for bomb threats. Let me tell you that plays on your nerves.  We would have, on average, 70 emails everyday to read on changes to legislation.  We were allotted 20 minutes to read them.  The job’s rules changed on a daily basis. Then we had to deal with people who would be completely abusive because their payments had been affected, generally because of their own non compliance to rules.  It was not an easy time.

My longest stint at a job was working for the Geelong Hospital in their Ante Natal Dept and then in Outpatients and other departments within the hospital. In Ante Natal I was in my element.  I worked with the greatest group of women you could ever ask for as colleagues.  Our clients were, generally, coming to us during one of the happiest experiences of their lives. There was nothing more satisfying than having a father brings his newborn baby down to show us, as we were part of their overall journey.  There were times when the outcome wasn’t joyous and it broke our hearts but I like to think we still offered the support they needed at the time.

I have walked around department stores, drawing people’s attention to services offered within the store.  I have been a spruiker.  I have cooked in supermarkets to demonstrate new products.  I’ve been been a cleaner, a sales assistant, a laboratory assistant, worked in a nursing home as an activities assistant,  have done data input and I have sold numerous things by party plan, including cosmetics, perfume, linen and adult toys & lingerie.  Basically these jobs have been the ones I needed to do when I was raising my kids.  They put food on our table and I don’t regret any of them.

I have been a cook, both in my own cafe and for other businesses.  I’ve even written and performed singing telegrams for a while. I got asked to do one for a young girl who had just fought a battle with cancer.  When they heard she was in remission, her workmates held a hair party for her.  I was so nervous doing it and ran the song by them to see if it was appropriate as I so didn’t want to offend this young 19 year old who had lost her hair during treatment.  They assured me she was great and would love it.  Well she sobbed all the way through the song, making me struggle to sing as I was fighting off tears.  I think she did enjoy it but it wasn’t an easy one to do.

I’ve had so many jobs I can’t remember them all. My inability to settle in any given career has given me lots of  reasons to beat myself up over the years.  I’ve since found out that one of the classic symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not being able to follow things through.  It was a relief to finally hear that I wasn’t just the ultimate goldfish brain but that there was a reason for my plethora of jobs.

While it has distressed me over the years, nowadays, I don’t regret my diverse career history.  It has given me an invaluable experience in different walks of life.  When I’m on my death bed I won’t rue what I didn’t do.  At least career wise.  I had a go at all the jobs I thought I wanted to, some I didn’t want to do and I did what suited me at the time.  I met some of the best people and learned lots of new skills.  Those experiences gave me lots to write about.  It’s all good.

Nowadays, I work for myself from home.  I make slideshows for birthdays, funerals, anniversaries, weddings etc.  I do some photography, I write, I paint and I create mosaics.  It’s a nice life.  I might not make massive amounts of money but I’ve learned that being rich doesn’t necessarily mean having lots of money in the bank.  It’s about being happy inside and I am.  I certainly wouldn’t complain if I won lotto and had a much bigger bank balance, that’s for sure but I’m enjoying life right now.  I will get to Ireland eventually and do a travelogue so if anyone would like to sponsor that, I won’t complain lol.

They say if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.. I agree with that, but I also know that regardless of the job, if you work with good people and take pride in what you do, you’ll enjoy your job.  That my friends what it’s all about.. As James Taylor says… the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.

Think back to when you were 4 or 5.. What did you want to be and have you ended up doing something similar to what you had dreamed? If you didn’t, do you still have a hankering to be that firefighter, ballet dancer, astronaut, singer, police officer, president or dog pooper scooperer?    If you’re not happy with what you do now, is it too late to change? I don’t think so! As Bikram Choudhury said… Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again.”  I have no idea who Bikram is or what he or she does,  but I agree with him or her.  If you have always hankered to do something with your life… just do it. It’s time!

They say that 80% of the jobs we will be doing in 10 years time haven’t been invented yet.  So think outside the square and create your future.  Life’s too short to hate getting up every morning..  Don’t look for the job that has the best holidays, look for a job you don’t need to escape from..  I’ll leave you with a beautiful quote I just read.  Sums it all up really..

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,”who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,we unconsciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.”

– Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love)

Happy toiling… Livvy 🙂