Career management expert Ginny Clarke shares an interesting technique for jobseekers and career changers who are in the dark about the next step in their career.
She calls it “When I Was Ten,” and it’s a suggestion to look back at the time when you were 10 and remember what you wanted to be when you grew up. Did you want to be a cowgirl, a nurse, a teacher or U.S. President? Whatever dreams you had then may not be directly relevant to your career path today, but some of the things you enjoyed can be a springboard to insights and, ultimately, your next job.
When I was 10, I wanted to be a writer. Inspired by all the Nancy Drew mysteries, my best friend Martha and I each started writing what became, for me, a 15,000-word novel – The Adventures of Pat and Peggy. Pat (the pretty, brave one) and Peggy (the chubby but sweet-natured scaredy-cat) were twins, and not unlike Ms. Drew and friends, Pat and Peggy attempted to solve a lot of mysteries in the small farming community where they lived.
Martha and I enjoyed countless hours sitting happily on her front porch, writing our novels on thin-lined notebook paper tucked into three-ring binders. We occasionally stopped to read passages to each other, only to plunge in again with our hand-written reveries.
That love of writing became, for me, a love for journalism in college, and ultimately a passion for my profession – public relations. 2012 marks my 40th year in PR, and I love it more than ever, thanks to all the challenges in a digital age where I’ve had to learn so many new functions.
I didn’t expect to still be at it. Truth be told, I suffered from career burn-out multiple times. Also, I had another life-long passion that I hoped to turn into a career: art. A painter all my life, I can’t count all the art workshops and courses at the School of the Art Institute that I took, learned from and enjoyed.
Ten years ago, my career plan called for retiring from PR and traveling around the country in a trailer, exhibiting and hopefully selling my paintings at art fairs. That was plan A. Plan B called for retiring to a small town and selling my paintings online while volunteering to make the world a better place.
I doubt either of those things will happen anytime soon. I’m in love with PR – especially the writing side. Social media platforms and blogs have given me that gift. They have rekindled my passion for writing in the way I experienced it when I was 10.
That’s my story, now tell me yours. What did you want to be when you were 10?