Thoughts and ideas to inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree, by circumstance and by choice
My high school career advisor had a method of analysis that involved a brief interview, a look at your grades, a lengthy questionnaire and a phonebook-sized text of every conceivable job. It was a bit like the sorting hat in Harry Potter except that instead of determining something relatively minor, like the school house you’d be in for the next few years, this process appeared to have the power to determine the course of your entire life.
I was told that someone with my personality and skill set was best suited to ‘systems analysis’. I didn’t know what that was then and I don’t know now (it still doesn’t sound even the tiniest bit more interesting to me though). When I did eventually finish school, I remember being hit by an overwhelming wave of panic and lethargy at the thought of doing any one thing for the rest of my life. Regrettably, the enormity of the decision floored me so badly that I did nothing for a while.
I would love to be able to go back in time and have a quiet word with my gloomy eighteen-year-old self and tell her that actually, you get to do lots of different things in the course of one lifetime. As long as you’re guided by passion and enthusiasm, the odds are that you’ll do your work well and it will propel you towards interesting possibilities you could never possibly have foreseen. At the age of thirty-six, I’ve now been employed in three completely different fields of work and my plans continue to evolve and extend in new directions. I’m excited and curious about all of them.
I know that in my case, my work satisfaction has a huge amount to do with the freedom associated with not being a parent. I’m able to work absurdly long hours without interruption when that helps me to meet my goals. I’m able to leave jobs that have become unsatisfying and wait for work that interests me. And (best of all) I’m able to take gambles on the various hare-brained schemes I dream up from time to time and just see what happens. If funds run dry, I’m happy to live on baked beans and library books for a while and it doesn’t cause anyone any hardship but me. But when I look back over my own experiences and those of my friends, I suspect there’s a lot of truth in the saying that fortune favours the bold.
Systems analysis! If only I’d had any idea how interesting life was really going to be!
But in the meantime, how about you? Do you find that non-motherhood has created any interesting opportunities work-wise?
[The gorgeous image above is another of Yataro’s
photographs, presented here with permission.]