Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Reader mail day - alternate career paths

Last week, I turned the keyboard over to you guys and asked for some help in dreaming up content. I told you to go ahead and ask me any question, or give me a topic, and I'd blog about it in an upcoming post.

Ahem. Not too many of you took up the challenge (looks pointedly around) BUT the clever blogger from whom I stole the idea in the first place came through for me. Suzanne of Mimilou asked: "In a comment on my blog, you mentioned having a crush on editing as a profession. Other than what you are doing now, what kind of career could you see yourself pursuing?"

Well, the 'kept woman' career path never panned out like I had hoped, but in general I'd be happy doing just about anything with words.

In a 'money-is-no-object' fantasy world, I'd love to be a freelance writer and researcher. (Quelle surprise.) I'd love to have a little home office all to myself and a steady stream of small jobs on a huge range of topics. I don't think I have the stamina (read: attention span) to be a book writer, and I'm not sure I'd be creative enough to write fiction. But just to write pieces that I could choose, enough to keep me busy about five hours a day... yep, that would be sweet.

In the real world, there's a part of me that thinks I would have made a really good teacher, espeically to primary school kids. I would have loved to do that, and tossed around the idea of going to teacher's college after I finished my degree in 1998. The main reason I didn't, in fact, is that I had gone to school part time while working full time, and you can't go to teacher's college on that schedule. That, and I just wasn't brave enough to give up my income entirely for a couple of years and start over after being in the paid workforce for eight years. Money talks, ya know?

I'm too comfortable in my government job to think about big changes any more. And I do love what I'm doing, albeit some days more in theory than in practice. I've worked pretty hard to get where I am, and I'm content now that I'm here. I've started to look at other opportunities within the realm of government communications, but I don't think I'll ever move outside that scope. Next month will be my 16 year anniversary with the government, and in addition to my handsome remuneration and benefit package, my annual vacation will be bumped up by two days to 22 days in total.

The other nice thing about my government job is that I'll be able to retire with a full pension on my 55th birthday. That will leave me with a lot of free time to set up that nice little writers' garret in the one of the spare rooms, as the boys will have just gone off to college. (Yes, I'm 36 years old and have my eye on my retirement. That's not sad, is it?)

When I go back and read all that, it sounds a little bit like I've sold out and am just trudging toward my retirement. I don't really feel that way - I've just always found that a job is something you do during the day that enables you to do the rest of the stuff you love in your 'real' life. I guess I'm a little underambitious; I can pay the bills and support my family, but what I'm really passionate about happens after 4 pm. Remind me not to give any future employers a link to my blog, willya?

So what about you guys? What's your alternate-universe dream job? And, ahem, I'm still taking questions and ideas for future posts... throw a dog a bone, whydontcha?