Monday, April 09, 2007

Vocational guidance

Ever since I realised that I didn't want to be a computer programmer for the rest of my life, I have had problems deciding on what the heck I did want to do for a living. I have some idea of what I don't want to do:

  • anything which requires me to be nice to people I don't like e.g. customer service roles
  • anything which requires me to wear full-on protective-wear (because I have so many allergies that exposure to anything suspect might cause me to stop breathing)
  • anything that gets my hands dirty (because I get enough of that looking after TLM)
  • computer programming
  • wear a headset for hours on end
I once went to a careers counsellor for some free sessions at Kiwi Careers. After talking to me about my interests, education and past work experience, he told me that my problem was that I was interested in too many things.

In a way, this is true. I'm a bit of a Jill-of-all-trades. Well, more of a Jill-of-several-skills-and-interests, but that doesn't quite roll off the tongue so easily. The full description ought to be, a Jill of several skills and interests and mistress of none, but it's really very unfortunate that the word "mistress" has much sleazier connotations than "master".

It feels as though I've spent many years of my life trying to figure out what I'm good at, only to find that I'm so-so at lots of things and that's about it.

I recently went to Kiwi Career's website and found a little quiz there designed to help users choose a career. But I really don't see myself as an illustrator, wardrobe person, navy hydrographic survey officer (I get seasick) or air traffic controller. And I've already dropped the idea of being a librarian - too much customer service - or artist- too lacking in talent and determination.

So I'm thinking, what if I do some study in journalism? That could lead to journalism work, communications/PR, copywriting, technical writing or a fabulously popular fictionalised memoir.

If only I could do a quiz and be given a shortlist of two or three careers, to which I would say "Why yes, that's what it!".


Make Tea Not War said...

Good to see you guys today.

Journalism would be good though probably you'd have to deal with the public as a reporter.

In fact I have come to the conclusion that all jobs are annoying in different ways. For me, at this point in my life, my priorities are flexibility, stability and regular income which my current job gives me so I feel I just have to suck up all the parts, and there are many, I find irritating as anything else would probably be just as irritating in different ways possibly without flexibility etc.

I dream sometimes of somehow managing to earn a decent income as a novelist or essayist and not having to deal with the public or stupid buerocracies at all ever again- but in my realistic moods I don't think its likely I'll manage it.

cesca said...

Oh my god, I could have written almost the exact same post. I'm in a real fug about what to do "when I grow up", and like you I'm a jill of all trades.

I remember a few weeks back you mentioned technical writing - I didn't know what it was so I looked it up! And yes, I could see myself doing that. I also shortlisted web designer, proofreader/editor, and a few others. I like dealing with people, but I also like sitting at a computer.

flying kiwi said...

I've thought of journalism as well. With your background, you'd probably make an excellent science writer or technical writer. How about you try it out and let me know what it's like?

Avery's mom said...

i went to school and majored in broadcast journalism but got out of it cause there was too much ass kissing involved. much prefer to make the world a better happier one body at a time with my massage.
i need to go take that quizz and see another carreer choice for when my hands give up

Angela said...

The great what do you want to do when you grow up question

The answer will always be who knows

Violet said...

mtnw: it was great to see you guys too. It seemed ridiculous that we've known you so long and never managed to actually socialise together, except for that one Buffy-viewing evening.

cesca: I had web designer and editer in my list too! I do like working with people, but more in a team rather than with lots of customers.

flying kiwi: Well, in order to try it out I would probably have to do several years of part-time study. You're more the professional type, aren't you ;-)

avery's mom: kissing, eh? That doesn't appeal to me so much. I didn't realise lots of kissing was involved in journalism. I thought it was all about research and hard-headed questions...

angela: you might be right. I may never find out.

Daddy L said...

You should be... independently wealthy.

Kazzer said...

Having been a cobol programmer for 20 years, I really can't understand why you don't want to be a programmer. You never get your hands dirty, no-one expects you to talk to them (apart from jargon) and you don't have to wear a headset unless you sit next to one of those annoying programmers who talks to themself.
You're really good at blog-writing - have you thought of something in the publishing industry? Editor? Ghost writer? I don't think you'd like journalism - all those low-life scum you have to mix with.

Violet said...

daddy l: well I wouldn't say no :-)

kazzer: if only I were good enough to be paid to blog:-) Just about any writing career would be pretty hard to get into, 'cos the world is chockful of aspiring writers. But yeah, editing, ghost-writing and that sort of thing really do appeal. Actually, being a COBOL programmer wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for being on-call.

Emma said...

I still think you would be good at and probably not limited to, writing a regular column in a publication. As well as study, what do you think of entering competitions, writing letters to editors?

Violet said...

eb: that would be my dream job I reckon. But I never get around to doing any of these things you suggest even if they sound like the best ways to get started. My problem is that, unless my time is structured for me I just don't find the time to fit such activities in - which is why I think of doing formal study rather than simply trying to produce something for publication.