Thursday, September 24, 2009

At Arms Length

I was driving to work today and thinking about my sisters. I am so grateful, blessed, and humbled to know them, much less to call them MINE. Specifically, I was thinking about their chosen fields of study/chosen careers and what that says about them. Example: CRV has a degree in education, and at the moment is running her own catering I think that means she plays well with others, is a fearless self starter, and nurturing. SRV is in nursing school.....she is a caregiver, intelligent, and HIGHLY motivated. MLV is a mama (of one toddler and one on the way) AND office manager/PR/Accounting/executive assistant for an architecture firm..... she is multi-tasking, organized, artistic, a born leader. ARV is a freshman in college.....she is pretty much the life of the party!

So.......that was easy and fun!

And then I thought, what about me?

The moment I tried to condense MY career goals down to a few meaningful phrases all these emotions started clouding my thought processes. My mind was as clear as a bell while thinking about my sisters, but suddenly I couldn't form a coherent thought for all the feelings filling my brain. I shook my head back and forth in an effort to sift out the insecurities and excuses and justifications and the blinding desire to explain myself. "Well I worked here cause we needed the money"......"But they were such sweet people and they offered health insurance"......"I'm not good at choosing monologs"......"I don't like eggs" Whats going on? I had no problem stepping back and making objective observations about my sisters, yet the moment I tried to hold myself at arms length..... well.... thats just it. How do you hold yourself at arms length?

Well I'm here to tell you it can be done. It involves some circus-freak-type yoga moves and your rear view mirror (I was in my car, remember?) Its uncomfortable, but it can be done. Heres how it all went down for me........I realized first that I seem to collect jobs. Since graduation I have worked in a day care, a retail store, as assistant in a children's dance class, started a company, opened a store, was a camp counselor, a telephone tech dispatcher........Its dizzying. I also discovered I am a little embarrassed (oh those pesky emotions!) that I have a degree in theater yet worked in retail for about 5 years. Yes, Patagonia is a great company, and yes, I enjoyed all the friends I made and the things I learned, but it wasn't completely fulfilling. So that must mean I lack the confidence to pursue my career goals (whoa thats harsh)..... But I also co-founded a successful jewelry design company and opened my very own women's dress boutique in the heart of midtown manhattan- A fact of which I am not at all embarrassed- quite proud, actually (again with the emotions!) So that must mean I am creative and a risk taker. Then we moved to Alabama and I went back to school for my masters in education, at the same time working as a dispatcher for a telecom company.... which I think shows tentative self confidence, drive, and (for anyone who has ever been a dispatcher in a call center) PATIENCE. Most recently, I got a job as a drama teacher in an after-school program called Drama Kids. Finally! CONFIDENCE! and of course creativity, patience, and a dash of the crazy.

And, now that I'm in the mood and in right position let me stretch back a little further to look at the whole picture. I realize that I haven't held a full-time job longer than 2 years. I may have a bit of a problem setting my mind on something and keeping it there. Better put, I'm a sprinter. (And this is true both litterally and figuratively... I'm a dreadful long distance runner, but pretty darn fast in short bursts.) But looking at it from another side, I can also see I've been slowly piecing together the type of career that suits me best. Every job I worked appealed to me in a different way, but none was completely captivating. (Oooh Oooh! I'm starting to like this self- introspection business!) And thats also true in my daily life- for example when I get dressed I try on various tops and bottoms, add a scarf, scrap the necklace, trade the flats for heels until, VOILA- the worlds most perfect outfit.

So what do I hope my World Most Perfect Job/Outfit will say about me? It will say Helen is a (insert Worlds Most Perfet Job/Outfit here) which shows she lives to enrich the lives of others, is creative, is grounded but has very high expectations (a realistic optimist?), and loves to PLAY!

1 comment:

  1. ...Not to mention extremely inspiring and someone I live vicariously through!!! Just like your clothing, your career in life is so colorful and unique and all woven together tells an incredible story - just think of all the experiences you have had!
    I love you!!! ML