Career Day: What do you do? Who are you? And other questions of identity

Today I am presenting at my youngest child’s elementary school for career day.

My husband has been presenting at Career Days since our oldest child hit kindergarten. He is a dentist. His career, what he does, and how he might identify himself lends itself to career day. Pictures of nasty teeth made pretty. Impressions of teeth. Scrubs. Loupes (those cool and yet goofy looking magnifying glasses). Non-latex gloves. Dental lasers. Who doesn’t think using a laser would be a cool career?!

But I am not a dentist. I am….

A mother of three. A wife. A daughter. A sister. A sister-in-law. An aunt. A friend. A neighbor.

A part-time cosmetics salesperson.

A full-time multicultural trainer and diversity officer for a religious non-profit organization.

A volunteer. 

Year after year I would watch Peter fill out the Career Day volunteer application, and I would wonder what I would do as a presenter. Is a career something you get paid to do? Is it something you have achieved a level of expertise? Is it a job? Is it a passion?

Well, I finally decided I am a writer. I have had and continue to work in a variety of jobs, but at the heart of it all, I continue to write. Sometimes I get paid. Sometimes I don’t get paid, but what I write leads to an opportunity to speak in front of groups of people, for which I get paid.

I blog. I edit and write comments. I read other authors’ books, and I write reviews. I tweet. I journal.

I am a writer. 

What are you?

Did You Grow Up to Be What You Wanted to Be?

When I grow up I want to be a….

What did you want to be?

When I was much younger I wanted to be a teacher. And then I wanted to be a journalist. And then I wanted to be a section editor of a major metropolitan newspaper and win the Pulitzer Prize.

Somewhere along the way I figured out that I’m still growing up, even as a 40-something mother of three, wife of one, and there are many things I want to be when I grow up.

In the meantime, I am, among many other things:

  • a culture, management & leadership consultant and trainer
  • a public speaker
  • a writer, blogger, author

Friday I will be spending the day at Corban’s middle school for career day as a presenter. I don’t remember attending a Career Day at school as a child, but I do remember how I felt when Ms. Johnson, my high school English teacher, encouraged me to rework some of my poetry because she saw “potential”. I remember Mrs. Umlauf encouraging me to spend a week of my summer at journalism camp and learn the art of sports writing because she believed in me. I remember Mr. Studt asking me why I was wasting time on the poms squad when I could try out for the speech team. (I did both, so there.)

I also had parents who believed in me. They sat me down and told me that I shouldn’t pick one school over another just because of the financial aid package. They wanted to me chase the dream (Little did I know they also had a another dream of me writing for awhile, getting that out of my system and then going to law school. It was like a Korean drama/Inception kind of dream.)

I stopped and took a detour between “journalist” and “section editor”.

So help a presenter out:

What did you think you wanted to be/do when you grew up? And are you doing it? Why or why not? If you are, is it what you thought it would be? If you aren’t, what are you doing and how the heck did you get there?

And for those of us still growing up: What do you want to be when you grow up?