Sunday, May 4, 2008

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When posed the question that titles this blog, my answer has changed along with my age. This question was a topic in my father's engagement toast to Dan and me (he recounted a story about how I told him I wanted to be a septic tank technician when I was four because one came to our house... and I suppose I thought it was cool).

Age 4. Septic tank technician. Actually, I think I said, "I wanna be a sepick tank lady." The technician who came to our upper Michigan home to suck out the contents of our Lake Bluff home's icky tank had a big truck, a long hose and what seemed to be a good job. The story goes on to say that after the technician left, I went and put on my little brother's kid-sized flight suit, walked out to the backyard and put a hose into a hole in the sandbox and proudly declared, "look! I'm a sepick tank lady!"

Age 8. While I didn't come out and say it per say, I think I wanted to be some kind of actress or director. Plays, aerobatic performances and other theatrics were regular occurrences in our backyard and living room. I usually enlisted friends and family, coordinated roles and the schedule of events and recruited friends from the neighborhood to come watch our "shows." On second thought, maybe my calling was event planning or project management during this time in my life.

Age 12. Making a career as a lawyer seemed like a good idea. My mom told me that I was good at listening to both sides of any story, asking tough questions, brainstorming possible scenarios and communicating my ideas. Wait, maybe my mom thought I would be a good lawyer. Thinking back, I'm not sure I did. Good thing I can use all these capabilities as a journalist/communicator (what I have chosen to do in the end).

Age 14. Extreme exposure to Law & Order, criminal investigation shows on TLC and movies about serial killers and other assorted criminals got me thinking that I should consider a future in criminal psychology or forensics. I mean, how cool would it be figure out what goes on in the mind of a psychotic killer... or to be the one who breaks a case by considering the pizza man or the concierge as suspects when no one else would. Maybe it was the idea of not being able to sleep at night or being the next victim that turned me off of this bright idea.

Age 17. At this point, I really had it figured out. What could be more interesting and have more variety than working as a broadcast journalist, specifically as a reporter for one of the television news magazines (think Dateline, 20/20, Primetime and 60 Minutes). With a position like that, you have the honor of interviewing and investigating politicians, entertainers, scientists, economists, psychologists, criminals and other famous (and notorious) personalities. When I completed all my core classes during my first two years at the University of Georgia, it wasn't the scope of work that eventually deterred me from being a broadcast journalist; it was finding out that you get paid peanuts for decades (not to mention have to move every year or two) until a select few make it to the coveted seats on television news magazines. Screw you Ann Curry, Barbara Walters and Keith Morrison.

Age 20. After figuring out that broadcast wasn't for me, I settled on studying public relations and journalism. My degree reads "ABJ," which sounds like an associate's degree; but it actually means "Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism." In this program, I learned more about writing, handling public relations campaigns, graphic design, persuasive presentations and researching opinions and markets. If UGA, which happens to be one of the better journalism schools in the nation, had a corporate communications program, I probably would have done that. Nonetheless, I am glad I took the route I did.

1 comment:

moeko said...

after watching way too much CSI and the X files, and reading too many Patricia Cornwell books, I wanted to be a forensic doctor, aka medical examiner, aka coroner, hahaha. then I realized I was crazy for wanting to look at dead bodies for a living!