Exploratory phase

posted by Jeff | Monday, July 16, 2012, 11:01 PM | comments: 0

I was thinking today (entirely too much), when it occurred to me that I never had a chance to go through a true exploratory phase in terms of my professional life. I'm a little troubled by this.

About the time I hit puberty, I was fascinated by radio. I sort of made up in my mind that I wanted to be a DJ when I grew up. I briefly thought I wanted to be an architect, and then I got a taste of TV production on a grade 9 field trip for inner city kids to Kent State. I ended up going to Ashland for the same thing, got sucked into radio, and got to be a DJ when I grew up. From there I did TV for three years, and then I started to learn how to write software for the Intertubes. The point is that I never really did much exploring about what I'd like to do, I just did stuff.

What do I have to compare to? Well, for starters, every person I've dated and/or married. Of the women I've had serious relationships with, the four combine for about 30 years of higher education. They all continued to learn and grow, some have restarted in different fields, all after their undergrad years.

Other friends and colleagues have bounced around between completely different things, or taken similar jobs in different industries. They aren't defined by degrees or bullet points on their resumes. One friend has even made a career at being a stay-at-home dad, which is really paying off as his kids become teenagers.

Then there are the rare few who outright built a business and made that their job. They took risks, and they get out of bed every day on their own terms. These are people who earn my highest level of respect (and a certain amount of envy).

The truth is, that if you ask me where I see myself in five years, I'll have a pretty good answer for you. I'm not wandering in the dark here. I just haven't figured out if what I see is what I really want. I feel like I've been on autopilot for a long time, and now I'm having my Ferris Bueller moment.

If I'm being honest, I don't think I want to go back to school (though I have much to learn about a great many things). I also can't name any specifics about where I'd like to try working. I would like to run my own business, in a way that's more than the hobby I have now, but fear, risk and a lack of knowledge get in the way of that. I don't mind working for someone else at all, I'm just not sure about what my dream job looks like. Actually, that's not entirely true... I have a pretty good idea.

I've always been the worker, while others around me went to school. Now I'm also a dad, which brings great responsibility. I don't resent anyone for this arrangement, it's more of an observation. I love having a little guy and a wife who very much looks out for both of us. I just feel like I'm running out of time for something I can't even put my finger on, in terms of my work life.

It could be worse. I have a much younger friend who is doing extremely well for her age that thinks it's all wrong and wants a dramatic change. I might envy her a little, because it's a lot easier to have that kind of inner dialog when you're in your 20's. Would've been nice to have that at her age!

Not sure how this line of thinking serves me. It's just an observation I had to record and share.


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