Sunday, February 14, 2010

The 5-year plan

I don’t recall being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was assumed that I would marry a returned missionary and be a stay-at-home mom. The Mormon girl’s dream. As such, my husband would work and I would not have to worry about my own career. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Let me explain what I see as one of the fatal flaws in the traditional feminist movement, i.e. the choice to be a stay-at-home mom is frowned upon. Or, that it is not really seen as work. My sister and my sister-in-law are both stay-at-home moms and each have four children. I would not want their job; they work just as hard as their counterpart who brings home the bacon. Now, I’m all with my sister suffragists and I agree, at least intellectually, anything you can do I can do better. But to choose to be a stay-at-home mom is just as novel as choosing to be a stay-at-home dad. As long as both individuals in the particular relationship are in agreement. Yep. Yep.
However, that is not how it happened for me. Nope, that’s not my story. Since I was never asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I never really thought about it. Oh, I had little girl dreams of being a ballerina or an actress… As I wandered through community college after high school, I finally decided to major in Anthropology because I thought it would hold my attention long enough for me to graduate. It was important for me to get my bachelors, but I had no plans for life after graduation. I knew I loved to travel, but that is an expensive avocation. I moved to Los Angeles after graduation on a coin toss. That and my older brother already lived out there. I randomly, and very fortunately, landed a job in Beverly Hills which taught me a skill: bookkeeping. It turns out I am not only good at it, but I actually enjoy it, and it introduced me to Ed. We met in the hallway at work, a month before his company moved out of the building. I think Ed really saved me in Los Angeles in a way, saved me from what L.A. could have done to me or what I might have become.
Ed would often ask me what my long-term goals were. I’d reply that I didn’t have any, or they were completely vague. Going back to school crossed my mind from time to time, but with no particular subject in mind. Well, underwater archaeology, maybe. The past few months Ed and I have been in deep discussion about these things. I took an on-line career/personality assessment test. My strongest working style was authoritative, and my strongest working field was administrative. I have often been told I would be very good at the top if I could just get there. In high school, when I worked at Wal-Mart, the store manager sat me down and told me I could go as far as I wanted to go in the company, if I could just curb my eccentric behavior. I quit a few months later because I believe I shouldn’t have to curb my eccentric behavior. You’ve got great potential I was told. Well, what good is potential? Potential for what? It’s only as good as you make it out to be. Mine was an aimless potential.
In mine and Ed’s conversations we’ve come to the conclusion that I, being twenty years younger with a longer career in front of me, really have the greater earning potential in the long run. However, we should make my credentials a little more bona fide and my skill set a little more bankable. That means in the short run, incurring the expenses to send me back to school. It’s a hard three year road I’m looking at. One that if I start I must finish. That will be my goal, my first official timeline structured goal.

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