When I Grow Up I Want to Be…

My friend Joyce has been contemplating going to grad school and pursuing a different, but related, field than she is working in now. I solute her for making the commitment to take the GRE. You go girl! I’ve really been relating to her entries this week because I don’t know what I’m going to do for a real job when Eli and potential kid #2 go to school.

Ideally, I’d be able to keep a similar schedule and be home when they are. Which leaves teacher, teacher, and oh yeah, teacher. I am so very, very not cut out for teaching. Not on any level. I have a hard enough time dealing with adults in the workplace and they are supposed to behave in a semi-reasonable fashion.

So what does this leave me with? I’m not sure. I’ve thought about getting a masters of library science (MLS). In fact, I’ve talked about getting this degree for a very long time. That hankering actually started while we lived in Durham because UNC offered MLS degrees and had a (then) really sweet internship with the EPA. But at no time while we were there did I feel as if I could abandon my job and do it full-time, what with Stephen already doing the nearly-nonpaying student work. This degree would potentially put me in position to work in a school library. I know, I know it’s with kids but it would be different than having a classroom full, at least I think. The down side is once I have the degree it could take ages to actually get a job in one of the schools.

So the other option I’ve been considering is getting a masters in psychology which would then put me in a social work type situation. I already have a BA which is one class short of being a BS that was entirely geared toward grad school. At one time, I really thought I would be a councilor. So now I’m wondering if this is where my future lies. Was the decision I made in high school actually the correct one and I’ve just been spending all this time fighting it?

Here’s the kicker. When potential kid #2 gets to kindergarden I’ll be almost 40. Yeah, it’s a harder number to write than it is to actually read. So if I’m going to do something different, I’m going to have to get some training and get it soon.

I know that I don’t want to do Mac support again. I’m just not interested. And the only way I’d do graphic design is to work at a company, not working out of my house. Which defeats the goal I’m trying to achieve and actually potentially puts me at mega-overtime.

Any thoughts? Do you think I’m particularly cut out for either of these above listed jobs? I’d be interested in hearing what you have to say.

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22 Comments

  1. Pop
    on August 1, 2006 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    OK, anything you do for yourself for money takes inordinate time and attention; successful entrepreneurs sink all kinds of time into what they do–or they sink literally. Unless one has consumate skills or a fine reputation, ditto for the consulting gig. Figure that anything you’re gonna do will be part-time/low-pay or volunteer. Some creative librarians (academic, not school) of my acquaintance have teamed up with creative directors and shared a full-time position rather than being part-time (I know that sounds oxymoronic, but it actually can work out contrary to how it sounds.). There are any number of things you can do; you’ve excellent organizational skills and you’re creative. You love the thrill of the hunt and of bringing order out of chaos. Despite your disclaimer, you have excellent people skills and are highly persuasive. You’d be a good academic librarian (ALA MLS required) or a good archivist. With your background, you’d be great as a technical services librarian (and they’re in HIGH demand). You’d hate being a practitioner, but would probably be a good researcher (high in interest but low in income). I don’t see you having patients (or the other kind) and leading them to discover conclusions that will be so obvious to you so quickly.

    All that aside, I would wish 2 things for you. 1st, don’t measure your value (or that of what you undertake) by what money you (or the task)can command. If social utility ruled, garbagepersons would make more than CEOs (but we all know that won’t happen). Frankly there’s nothing more impt than producing a healthy, productive adult from a lump of baby, and that task normally falls to mothers. 2nd, look at those who’ve gone before you. May went back to school, got a Masters, and then a job at….well, let’s just say at an age much more advanced (by almost a decade) than Jack Benny’s “official” one. You’d have yrs to spare on that acct. Many people (of whom I am one) have multiple careers sequentially; if motherhood is your 1st, you’ve got one and perhaps 2 more left. Boomers will expand the working lifetime of those who want to continue.

    I couldn’t undertake motherhood, so I had to compensate by getting, as my sons remind me, more education than can do anybody any good. Motherhood is like teaching–yrs pass prior to major results. Perhaps validation rather than cash is your greatest need at this point; the rest will take care of itself. Not to be sacrilegious, but have you ever wondered if Mary thought she ought to have a job?

  2. Joyous
    on August 2, 2006 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The first thing that comes to mind is: you and I, and other women of our acquaintance have a unique advantage in that we don’t *need* to bring in a second full-time income. I know, I know, this is heresy, and generations of feminists are rolling in their graves as I suggest this, but there is *no reason* to feel guilty over the fact that our husbands make enough money to support us. (Shut up, Susan B. Anthony. Amelia Bloomer, you keep out of this.) It’s an advantage that we are *allowed* to enjoy. So enjoy it. Find something useful and rewarding that you will enjoy for its own sake–even if it doesn’t pay, or doesn’t pay a living wage. Your Pop is right–social utility is not the measure of a job’s worth–and size of paycheck is not the measure of a person’s worth.

    One of the reasons I didn’t get intersted in teaching ESL before was that I had NO interest in going back to public school teaching, and the kind of politics and hustling involved in getting full-time, tenure track work at the college level is yucky. But part-time community college work wouldn’t pay the bills. Now? Heck with it.

  3. Joyous
    on August 2, 2006 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The second thing that comes to mind is, “Wow, I’ve made the big time! Headline status in someone else’s blog!” 😀

  4. on August 2, 2006 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I know a librarian you should talk with. Not that you don’t know plenty. 😉

    When my brother and I got old enough that Mom could do whatever, she just ended up volunteering at our schools [mainly to keep an eye on us, heh]. She also proceeded to take up all sorts of crafty things, and taught some naught classes in basketweaving, etc. It was good for her.

  5. on August 2, 2006 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the comments, I’ve had some good ones via email as well as here.

    You are right, Joyce, how pleasent it is to not *have* to work. I am most thankful that Stephen’s job pays the medium-sized bucks. How good it is to have the freedom to say, “Hey, what do I want to do next?”

    It’s interesting to me how varied people’s responses have been to what I should do specifically. Regardless, everyone says I should do what I love. I love sitting at home and blogging all day but there’s only a handful of people who can actually do that for a living. I’m thinking it’s not gonna be me too.

    So for now at least, I don’t think I’ll be taking the GRE anytime soon. But stay tuned, I may yet change my mind and decide to go to seminary.

  6. on August 2, 2006 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    P.S. Joyce, I know the secret thrill of someone posting something I said. It totally makes me feel worthy. 🙂

  7. Limax
    on August 2, 2006 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Misty – I would say go where your passion is. My wife, who’s past 40 already, has been talking off and on about going back to school. 40 is NOT a deal-breaker. Heck, I’m close to pushing 40 myself and I still want to back to grad school another time. Whether it be an MLS or an MS in psychology, go with what you would have the most fun doing, and it will be its own reward. Took me 15 years to figure that out myself.

  8. on August 2, 2006 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I could sell you my GRE score. It’s not doing me any good! 😉

  9. on August 2, 2006 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Geof: how about we just go to seminary at the same time? I’ll even compromise and go to Methodist seminary with you.

  10. on August 2, 2006 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    So, when and where are we finding me a Sugar Mama to support me while I go to school? [And are we commuting to Emery or Vanderbilt? ;)]

  11. on August 2, 2006 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Vanderbilt? I’m so there!

  12. Joyous
    on August 3, 2006 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Personally, I think you should keep on with what you’re doing, and homeschool Eli. He’s clearly thriving under your care, and you seem so very happy with the SAHM thing. I know the schools are good in Huntsville, but I’d hate to see the sweetness pounded out of him by playground politics.

  13. on August 3, 2006 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Jessica and I were talking about this yesterday. We’ve come up with the perfect job for you, and us 😉 How about this, the three of us go into business together. We can open a yarn/stitch/coffee shop. We can hold craftshops (like the scrapbook store) and sell coffee to those attending. Any coffee spilled on yarn can go into the discount basket. That way, we can go to the cross-stitch conventions and get all the bugs we want…I mean all the merchandise we need for the store 🙂 Once we get enough people hired on, we can just manage and have a great time. What do you think?

  14. on August 3, 2006 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Ooooh, I’ve already come up with a name. How about the “Three Sisters Stitchers”? No good, just give me some time and I’ll come up with a suitable name.

  15. Joyous
    on August 3, 2006 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    “Three Sisters: Cast On, Chekhov”

    (I know, casting on is for knitting, not cross stitch–but I couldn’t resist.)

  16. on August 3, 2006 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I’m all for opening a store, especially if the three of us are in on it. Also, we could also probably get Stephen’s mom in on the action as well.

    The load would be a bit lighter with all of us and we could always bring our kids to the store.

  17. on August 3, 2006 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    There you go! Problem solved. 😉

  18. Jaime
    on August 3, 2006 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I’m moving to Huntsville to get in on this store with you 🙂 Oh wait, we JUST finished our 3.5 month new house renovation project. So maybe not yet. But let me just say that I’m in the same place as you. I’m starting coursework for a master’s degree in community counseling this fall. I can’t do my current stuff anymore… or I could do it later but have the benefit of counseling know-how to help me be a better speech-language pathologist. But this research stuff is SO not what I’m cut out for. I need peeps around! Good for you.

  19. Kat
    on August 3, 2006 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    You guys open that store, add quilting onto the mix and I’m so moving back to Huntsville. 🙂

  20. on August 4, 2006 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Sweet! We could totally do that! 🙂

  21. on August 4, 2006 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    You guys open that store, add quilting onto the mix and I’m so moving back to Huntsville.

    SWEET! We have that in writing.

    Maybe Rick and I would be interested if we could have a place upstairs of this place to run the bar/music venue we want to run. 😉

  22. on August 4, 2006 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Dude, this thing just keeps growing and growing in concept! 🙂