“What is your dream job?”
That’s what a friend of mine asked me recently after seeing my Facebook post asking for advice on using the DART railroad system to commute to downtown Dallas – should I land a job there.
Had he asked me that question even 6 months ago, I would’ve had no idea how to answer. Now, I know that my immediate answer. My DREAM job – without boundaries or restrictions – is to be a travel writer. However, since I’ve got two boys who depend on me day in and day out, I know that’s not feasible (at least for now). Therefore, I interpreted the question as:
“What are you made to do?”
Without much hesitation, I replied, “I want to get back into marketing communications – which is what I really enjoyed most about the previous positions I held. Creating and executing marketing and promotional campaigns, doing PR work and writing and managing the production of marketing materials. I enjoy business development too – but it would have to be the right gig for me to take on sales.”
“Wow! You really know what you want. I am constantly asking people about their dream job, and a lot of people don’t know.”
Frankly, that made me feel good. I have to admit, though – clearing that hurdle was no small feat. Figuring out what you want to do professionally – and actually make a viable living doing it – has been an issue that’s probably existed for generations.
And, it’s been my reality, too.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women comprised 47% of the total U.S. workforce in 2010 – with projections to account for 51% of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018. However, I can imagine nearly 100% of adult women – at least at some point in their lives- wrestled with the idea of:
a.) what career path to choose;
b.) whether or not to start a family – and when; and
c.) whether or not to cultivate their chosen career and raise a family – or both. And how?
Sure, I’m sure there are a few lucky gals who have had unfailing certainty of their destined profession before they could even legally work. And, there are women who have always assumed they would take on a more traditional role as homemaker and full-time primary caregiver in a one-income household. And, of course there are women who’ve never experienced even an inkling of an itch to reproduce.
And, I think it’s all good. It’s indeed a personal choice, subject to each individual’s preferences and/or circumstances.
Personally, figuring out how to strike a healthy balance between motherhood and a fulfilling, satisfying career has been a real struggle for me. And, I know there are others out who share similar sentiments.
Life circumstances have found me in this transition period from essentially being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) since August 2005 to a full time employee (FTE). And let me tell ‘ya – it has been a real eye-opener. The job seeker’s playing field looks entirely different than a decade ago. It’s forced me to reflect on what I’ve accomplished professionally – in what feels like a lifetime ago. Memories flooded in of desperately seeking what I’m called to do all throughout my 20s. Feeling like I’ve been blindfolded and dropped in the middle of a dark, dense forest disguised as the corporate world with no compass, no map, and no guide – only with this single piece of advice I’ve ever received:
When mentioning my intentions of applying to the College of Education and pursuing a career as a high school English teacher: “Don’t go into education. You should go into business. Tall women are successful at business.”
Really? No kidding.
Remembering how much I enjoyed selling lemonade, hand-drawn pictures, rocks from my driveway, and other random things as a kid – I decided to give marketing a try. Since college graduation, I considered a career as a social worker, a family and marriage counselor, an ESL teacher, and a reading specialist. All the while, I felt like a hamster on a treadmill – working hard and getting nowhere.
Nearly two decades after that fateful decision as a college student, I finally, finally realized that the marketing arena is where I need to be. More about that in future posts…
So, What’s The Point? Why This Blog?
Based on various conversations I’ve had over the past few years with friends and acquaintances – mostly women, but a few men as well – I know I’m not alone in this journey to find professional satisfaction. Transitioning back into the workforce feels a bit like starting over. Except, now I also have little ones that depend on me.
I’m no expert by any means. But, with a love for writing and a heart for helping others, I figured I could combine those two and share what I’m learning in my journey from essentially being a SAHM to a FTE. My struggles and my successes. The good, the bad, and the WTF moments.
And, if I know all the blood, sweat and rejection letters I’ve experienced in this job seeking process has helped at least one person, I’ll be happy.
Share Your Thoughts!
When have you determined your chosen profession? If you are currently transitioning back into the workplace from a hiatus as a stay-at-home caregiver, are you planning to continue down that same career path?
What is your dream job?