What do you want to be when you grow up? The first time I got that topic for an oral presentation I must have been around 8 years old and like half of the girls in the class I decided to centre my presentation around how I am going to be a teacher when I grow up. At that age the only professions I knew were: teaching, nursing or a police officer so it was quite easy to choose a career. My choice was made easier by the fact that I was already called Juffrou, (Afrikaans word for teacher) a pet name I was called because my Godmother/namesake was a teacher who had taught my mother and 2 older sisters in Primary school.
Being the serious child that I was, I took my future profession seriously. I remember collecting a few bricks and teaching them everything I learned at school that day, these bricks were my imaginary students and they had names and got graded too (fun times). As one moved up the grades the topic became an essay question. I was still adamant on becoming a teacher but all that changed when I got to Grade 10. The teachers stopped making “What do you want to be when you grow up” a topic for essays and I was more then happy about it by then I knew I was not going to University to become a teacher, any thing else but not that. I however kept on asking myself the question as I felt it gave me direction and helped me in my career decision making like which subjects I needed to choose in the last years of high school.
In grade 12 I was torn between the science and commerce subjects. I knew I needed science and wanted to continue with it at University so they were compulsory. I also knew that I loved commerce but would not pursue it after high school, I went on to study Business Studies (only chose it because the teacher made it fun and she was my hockey coach) as well as Accounting (only chose it because my first Accounting teacher made me fall in love with the subject). By the end of high school, I had decided I wanted to become a Marine Biologist and after failing my first year I realized that this is not what I want to pursue as a career but I completed the degree anyway for two reasons. Firstly because I had a scholarship and secondly my dad said I needed to finish that degree and then continue with whatever my heart desired. While doing my first degree I fell deeply in love with PR and Marketing but did not do much about it apart from a stint at the PR officer for the Environmental Club on campus and later another PR position at a campus Non-Profit and finally a certificate (will write another post about that another day).
After my first degree I went on to complete two more and only realized that I might be in trouble. When I asked myself: ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?” I didn’t have only one straight simple answer. I went from wanting to be a school teacher – marine biologist – environmentalist – to realizing I want more for myself. I realized that one straight forward profession is not what will ever make me happy and I started to panic, actually I am in the panicking state as I type this.
I am not alone in my panicking state, one of my closest friend is in the same boat. Growing up one thinks you will go to University study for a few years, get a job and find your ideal job that you studied for end of the story. No one ever told me that its not that simple, no one told me that one can be a multipotentialite – like myself. No one explained to me that you can obtain 2-3 degrees and still not be content and that is when I realized that I JUST DON’T ONLY WANT TO BE AN ENVIRONMENTALIST 😦 but I am here now, what do I do to get to where I want to be? Another question comes up and I myself where do I really want to be? Personally I have realized that the career I want does not exist yet and I need to design it for myself and hope someone will employ me for now until I work for myself.
This is a list of some of the things I want to do:
- Be a PR Specialist.
- Study and practice Environmental Law.
- Become a certified Energy Auditor.
- Help organisations with the Corporate Social Responsibilities Strategies.
- Run my own Package Branding business.
- Be a radio presenter.
- Work as a waitress.
So if you ask me now what I want to be when I grown up, I will proudly list all of the above because I have many different interests and creative pursuits in life. And that is fine.