Friday, May 11, 2012

Career choices

When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother, what will I be?
Will I be pretty, will I be rich?
Here’s what she said to me:
Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera

I never had that exact conversation with my mother but from as early as I can remember I thought about growing up.

Thanks to Mattel and their endless array of dolls, my earliest career choice was to be a Mom. But after cutting off the hair off every doll I owned, and a few I didn’t, the next obvious choice was a hair stylist.  Access to an endless array of folks whose hair grew back sure looked like nirvana.

Ballerina was a brief flirtation. The tutus looked pretty. The realization my brain and feet had only a passing knowledge of each other seemed to be a stumbling block.

My first airplane ride in 8th grade hooked me on travel and becoming a stewardess. Those pretty ladies with the smart outfits not only flew free, they got paid!  In high school, famous seemed a worthy endeavor. Stage fright ended that notion with a thud. In college, I settled on art without a vague notion of where I’d end up. I just figured I’d know when I got there.  

After graduation, I found work in marketing and design and I thought I finally had everything figured out. And then along came Sam. It was around his third birthday I finally figured out what I’d been training for my whole life: a career as a Samologist.

Not everyone can be a Samologist, you know. The job requires certain basic skills: creativity, patience, flexibility, a calm nature and good observation skills. Familiarity with random curve balls is a plus. Providing haircuts, a double plus. It turned out my middle child status, college study, jobs, and the pile of bald dolls to my credit, provided me a good foundation.

But I had a lot more to learn.

During the years I like to think of as earning my Masters in Samology, the curriculum was tricky and ever-changing: I found when The Weather Channel showed up on TV, we were in for stormy weather – and it wouldn’t be outside; a wardrobe du jour of underwear on backwards suggested we'd be taking a mad dash up the street. The words “January” or “Everybody” pretty much meant take cover. Now. I learned every joke and discovered singing a song about sunshine really could make the sun shine, and finally understood sometimes it was simply time to sit and hold hands.

Though Samology is a unique and specialized area, I met experts in the related fields of Joeology and Connerology who proved most helpful. These specialties are often confused because they look similar to the casual observer, but a good Edologist once told me a Samologist is distinctly different. Still, we have some commonality and sometimes find time to collaborate.  

After almost 17 years on the job (and nearly doctorate level, I am inclined to think) I’d sum it up this way: The job doesn’t pay particularly well, the hours are long and the vacation time is lean. But there is plenty of job security and some benefits I’ve learned I can’t live without: a rollercoaster ride of surprises every day (ok, maybe a few I could have lived without), hours of free entertainment, the best smiles around, not to mention up to 5,000 hugs each and every day.  

How can you possibly beat that?

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1 comment:

  1. The hugs alone are the best pay you can get, especially with a doctorate. ;)