Tuesday, March 21, 2006

When I Grow Up . . .

I saw an article on MSN today that took me back to the 2nd grade: Long-Neck Dinosaur Sets New Standard. The article is pretty interesting, actually -- if you're into anatomy and physiology, like I am. (If you're not, you should at least look at the drawing.)

But I don't want to specifically write about the article. I want to write about the career path I had chosen as an 8-year-old. Well, I guess I chose it before that. In the 1st grade, I thought I wanted to be an archaeologist because I loved dinosaurs. It wasn't until the 2nd grade that I found out people who study dinosaurs are called paleontologists. So in the 2nd grade, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would precociously answer, "paleontologist." (Incidentally, being interested in dinosaurs is probably the only thing I've ever had in common with boys.)

What am I now? A web content manager. And what I wonder is, how did I go from paleontologist to web content manager? What happened in 15 years that so dramatically changed what it was I chose for my career? I remember that I kind of stopped wanting to study dinosaurs around the 6th or 7th grade, but it made me feel bad, so I never admitted it. I wanted to keep studying science, though. And that changed somewhere, too. Not completely, of course -- you can all still see that I'm a physiology nerd. (Who really gets interested in reading about giant necks?) But I'm an editor, basically. What happened?

So my question for you is, what did you want to be "when you grew up?" What are you now? I'm not asking you to evaluate your career path to decide if you're happy and whether or not you "sold out" or anything like that. I think people's interests change, though, and I'd like to know why or how. I don't know if there is a specific answer, but I wonder if other people went through such a dramatic change, too. Please comment!

Thing I'm thankful for: the burst of cold weather we are having. Yay!


Blogger Nicole said...

This is a fun question, Sara, I like it. When I was little and still carrying injured birds and mice to the vet all the time with the neighbor boy (who proposed to me at age 5 and delivered to me bunches of daisies on a sort of subscription basis), I wanted to be a vet. I thought it would be great to see that many cute animals all the time. It was only later that I realized that that would sometimes entail yucky, bloody stuff and having to put animals to sleep. I dropped any intention of ever studying medicine of any kind after being in charge of doctoring up small, clumsy children at a holiday camp where they build huts. Nasty, nasty wounds from nails and stuff—I decided I definetely couldn't handle injured animals or people. Like them too much and have to much empathy.
Then I wanted to do something with handicapped children and began music therapy. Kind of a similar vein, I guess: I like to help. Well, the program was discontinued, but around the same time (after having been a social worker for several years) I realized that again I could not handle all the problems I was surrounded by. It drove me nuts! So, I did what I had always loved: languages!! It seems a lot less useful than medicine or social work or music therapy and sometimes I get on my own case about that. But it's what I love. And truly, some of my English professors have made a more profound impact on my life than my doctors. That may sound ungrateful, but the impression was more lasting. Anyway, here I go, heading for a lifetime in the university ;o)

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe paleantology is closer to web content than you think? Not sure how, but maybe. As for me: My Attempts to be a shoe designer.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A star.

I never really wanted to be anything in particular. I just came up with a career to tell people when they asked me what I wanted to be. So in third grade I said I wanted to be a television journalist (I just liked the sound of it). By the end of my senior year of high school I thought I would do something with art or act. It's important to note that throughout my life I envision being the guest on the Tonight Show -- David loves me. Today I think, how can I use my skills to become illustrious and renowned (and afford my loans)? Is that wrong? :o)

I still wanna be a star (but not the kind that gets bothered by the paparazzi...maybe I'll just marry a star).

1:03 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I wanted to be a fairy princess for a while. But that ended when my mom said that I'd just have to sit around on a throne all day long. (Ironically, now the prospect of sitting around all day doesn't seem too bad.)

When I was in about third grade, I wanted to be an architect. I drew houses ALL of the time. I still have the floorplan from one that I'm going to use one day.

About that same time, I decided I wanted to be a writer in addition to being an architect. I loved when we had creative writing exercises in school. And, hey -- now I'm an English major, working on a Creative Writing emphasis. What'da ya know?

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first I can remember, I wanted to be an astronaut, live on the moon for a while, go out and explore new planets.

Later on I wanted to be a computer programmer, cuz they could make cool robots and stuff.

Then in high school I got into hypermedia stuff (pre-web hyperlinking multimedia stuff... anybody remember hypercard?) and decided that was a much more pleasant approach than programming.

College started with music school as I tried to get into computer graphics (glad that never panned out), moved into graphic design (I would have sold my soul to become a world famous typographer) and finished out with film school... I started out wanting to become Frank Capra, or maybe a pre-prequels George Lucas with better writing chops. (I still have a fun little script on Postmodernism starring Troy McLure, and my movie adaptation of Bradbury's "They Toynbee Convector" hanging around somewhere.)

In the end I wanted to be a professor. (I was working in instructional tech at the time, but really wanted my own classroom.)

After a great time working as a web apps developer for an ad agency (at the time I would have loved to become a copy writer), the professor thing carried me to grad school, where I studied info design, educational tech, and video games. The summer between years I even got to work for George Lucas, working on the never-released adventure games Sam-n-Max: Freelance Police and Full Throttle: Hell on Wheels.

So what now? It's all about the Information Architecture. It's a nice place to be, since I get to pull together the communications stuff from film school and growing up in an ad man's house, the info design and educational messaging stuff, and wrap it in the make a difference stuff from wanting to be Frank Capra (it's good to contract with the CDC), and even get to throw some more conventional(ish) coding in with the HTML and CSS development.

It's funny, I'm ever the accidental programmer. I'm gonna have to pick up the new Lego Mindstorms when it comes out in August, start making those robots I dreamed of making when I was a kid.

I'll let the moon voyage wait until I can go with my grandkids.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to be a EMT. I always thought it would be so exciting and wonderful to help people during emergencies. That dreamed morphed into wanting to be an ER nurse...followed by an OBGYN nurse. I became a CNA a few years ago and worked as one for a few months after I got married. That's when I realized the medical field wasn't for me. I realized there are others ways to help people besides medically. Right now I am a mom but have a dream now of opening the first non coffee shop here in Provo.

P.S. I really like this post Sara!

12:59 AM  
Blogger Jacki said...

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a Country Singer! (oh wait... in 3rd grade I did want to be the first woman Persident) I used to sign my journal, "I will be a country music star" every night before I went to bed. I still have a desire to do that some day, but realisticly, I would love to just write the music and have someone else sing it... ok who am I kidding, I want the spotlight!

My other dream job was the Monday Night Football Anchor. Being on the field with all those football players. Now that I am married, my desire to do that has gone way down!

3:50 PM  

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