Monday, March 16, 2009

What Color Is My Parachute? Seriously. What Color?

Before I secured my now defunct teaching position at Unnamed University, I was so desperate to figure out what to do with myself that I actually got What Color is Your Parachute and a couple of other career guides. I made charts and lists and drew pictures. I even looked for places to take the Myers-Briggs test that reveals your personality type. For the most part, the conclusion was what I knew all along--my perfect, dream job would be to be a co-host on "The View," especially if you throw some books into the mix.

Since the likelihood of that happening is slim, (at least until Barbara Walters gets a clue and ditches that ditzy Elisabeth--what is the deal?? They just ignore her like she's not even talking most of the time. I would be sooo much more interesting and fabulous as the resident thirty-something. I'd replace Star's "I'm a lawyer" with "I'm a Ph.D." But then, I can't keep popping out babies left and right like Elisabeth, so maybe that's why they won't hire me) I've been thinking about what else I could do with myself. Since the fourth grade, when I missed recess to help a girl with her long division, I haven't imagined myself doing anything except teaching students.

I've read that the average person has several career changes during her professional life. How does that happen? When I read articles on this topic in The Chronicle of Higher Education, for instance, people suggest being open to alternative possibilities, but then they present some story about how a wonderfully fulfilling position fell into their laps out of nowhere. How do I make that happen? How do I get to read, talk about books, and get paid for it? How can I have a flexible schedule without (apparently) being expendable? How can avoid putting my degrees on a shelf if I don't work in higher education? And--dare to dream--how can I find a job that will get a professional to do my hair, make-up, and outfit?

Clearly, graduate schools don't even try to prepare students for careers outside of academia, even though most of us won't ever grasp the brass ring of tenure. So, since I'm on this side of the degree and still on the wrong side of a tenure-track position, I feel like I'm flailing. I would gladly consider some other kind of career if I were qualified for any of them or if they didn't make me want to beat myself in the head. I don't even know what I want to do, much less what I can do. I never thought that more than ten years after my B.A. I would be trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. I guess I'll just sit here with a ready lap, waiting for something to fall.

* Totally off topic, The Diva, the Today show just played your theme song, "You Wear It Well"!


Ink said...

I hope the universe brings you something wonderful very soon.

(I had a copy of the parachute book, too, and all it did was make me want my dream job more without any clue about how to get it. Grrr. And I think you SHOULD aim for The View job. Elisabeth needs to go.)

The Steel Magnolia said...

So glad I'm not the only one who is annoyed with Lizzy!