Another book we don't need
An Answer to the Ultimate Question, 'What Should I Do With My Life?'. To Po Bronson and his agonized subjects, choosing a career is the central decision of life, paralyzing in its hugeness. By Caitlin Flanagan. [New York Times: Business]
Really now, Po, it's been done before. Maybe not by an author who glorified the dot-com madness as an appropriate career choice, but it has been done. And I certainly don't need it. Heck, you could have interviewed me and gleaned some lessons from my experience.
Like for instance, I left college armed with a Masters degree and teaching credential (with no intention of ever teaching), and promptly went to work building boats so I could live my dream of being a nearly-professional sailor. That worked for several years and 80,000 miles of ocean sailing, until I burned out and wanted to settle down--you know, home, family, pension.
My second reinvention, as an office-worker/business manager, was only moderately successful. I was competent, even good, at much of the required paper shuffling and administrative hoo-ha, but I never had a real instinct for business. And I ultimately--after nearly twenty years--realized that I was miserable. The work made me miserable, the bosses made me miserable, and the idea that there was nothing else I could do for work made me miserable.
So my latest reinvention, as a technical writer, could be the last one. Or it might not, I don't know. I've learned that change is not as scary as I once thought, that affecting change in my life is hard work, but it's not impossible. And I've learned that whatever I'm doing now can, and probably will, change. And if I actively re-educate myself, investigate new avenues, and remain open to opportunities, I can continue molding my life and work to better suit my needs.
While I was in between careers, working on the last reincarnation, I made a list of my dream jobs. After writing down a dozen or so, I realized that most of them involved writing. Then I realized that the only thing I'd enjoyed at my previous jobs--that gave me any satisfaction about doing a good job--was when I got to write. Didn't matter what: a letter, advertising, policies and procedures. I loved it. So I suspect it wouldn't really matter if I was writing software manuals or sit-coms, I'd still be in the right place.
Come to think of it, of all those dream jobs I wrote down, writing for a comedy show was my favorite. I figure there's still time to live that dream, but I'll have to get started.