For my entire adult, professional life, I’ve traveled down a fear-based career path. I wish I could say that it was the road less traveled. Not only is it the most congested road in the realm of responsibility, but it’s also the most treacherous. It may fatten the wallet, but will starve the soul. People believe that past a certain age their dreams are silly, impractical, juvenile, and stifling. Certainly, they are at times. It’s not my intent to sound like the script of a run of the mill romantic comedy or a children’s animated movie. Dreams do not always come true and when they do, it’s often not to the capacity we had hoped. It is a difficult reality to face, but that idea also causes people to think that their dreams won’t come true at all, so they should just, suck it up, let down their dreams go, and wander down the beaten path, and if they’re lucky, they’ll make enough money to take a vacation once in a while and won’t want to commit suicide every morning when they hear that annoying little, “BEEP,” as they scan their badges and resentfully walk to their desks, emotionally preparing themselves for at least eight hours of excremental invariability.
I’ve watched my father suffer down this unfortunate path for years. While he is at an age where he should be eyeing retirement, he’s eyeing the employment ads because even though he has years of experience in management, he is massively underpaid and underemployed. He is a victim in a certain way. He worked in IT at Ford Motor Company in Detroit. He was offered another job in Atlanta. His other choice was to stay in Detroit and take a job that would put him about 10 years behind where he was at the time.
A few short years after he decided to move himself and his family to a place unknown, thus changing all of our lives forever, Ford Motor Company completely dissolved his department, which was hundreds of people. He felt IT was a shaky proposition at the time, and the car business was still doing well, so he chose to start working in car dealerships, which turned out to be extremely unreliable, not to mention, a few years later, the bottom fell out of the car business. He bounced around from dealership to dealership, as they closed their doors, or sold themselves to new companies who subsequently laid off everyone. The last layoff finally inspired him to try to look for work elsewhere, but since the economy had already declined, and he had years of experience in the car business, very few companies gave him a chance. It’s pretty hard to reinvent yourself in your 50s. So, he accepted a job at a call center, making the same amount of money he made 30 years ago, and dealing with 5000 times more bullshit.
It’s been about 15 years that he’s been enduring this struggle and there’s no foreseeable end. At a few points, while he was between jobs, I asked him, “What is it you REALLY want to do? You’ve got nothing but time now, you might as well start doing something you like and are good at!” He would never answer my question and worse would come up with a million excuses as to why he couldn’t follow his dreams, some legitimate, others not so much. To this day, whenever I try to ask him, about his dreams, he acts embarrassed and says, “I don’t know.”
Suddenly, I woke up one day and realize I was doing the exact same thing. Forcing myself into jobs I had NO interest in, but that gave me modest money, so I would stay, knowing I was worth more money and had invaluable skills, hating myself more and more each day for putting up with it, and yet continuing to put up with it, believing I had no choice because dreams are impractical and don’t pay the bills.
Finally, I said ENOUGH. I quit my massively underpaying underemployment situation (it was a “temp” position, which had obscenely lasted over a year and a half), and decided to pursue my actual dreams and talents. One of those talents, I believe, is writing. So, I introduce you to my blog. Here, I will be posting mostly opinion, some “features,” and a picture or two. My goal is to get my writing out to interested minds and perhaps one of those minds will find me intriguing enough to lead me to gainful employment in writing (yeah, I know, like there aren’t a billion bloggers out there doing the same thing). If nothing else, I will feel validated that I’m at least writing a lot and perhaps inspiring a person or two.
One last idea before I lay me down to sleep; dreams don’t have to be pie in the sky. You don’t have to hate yourself because you’re not Derek Jeter, or Lady Gaga, or any one of a number of those reality show meat heads that have been blasted into your brain without your permission. Dreams can still be done practically…or at least I hope. All I know is, I’d much rather end up working at Taco Bell, knowing I at least tried than end up working in data entry because I didn’t think I had a choice.