I am the daughter of military parents. I was lucky in that once we settled down in Ottawa, both of my parents retired, thus saving me from travelling base to base to base. Lately, I’m finding myself envious of my parents, though probably more specifically my mother. I think I have inherited my father’s trait for uncertainty. My mother joined the military and became a nurse as soon as she finished school. She had a clear path in mind, a clear and obtainable goal, and she went for it. She embodies “Nurse”, even to this day. She is the person I call when something isn’t right in my body. She always has been.
My father didn’t have it quite so easy. He tried teaching, he joined the military, he tried computers and consulting, but he never really seemed settled. None of these things really fit comfortably for him. This is very close to my situation.
As a child, I thought I wanted to be a psychologist, an anthropologist, an archaeologist, and then a teacher. I daydreamed about owning stores, about writing, I wanted to find a career that would make me happy, that would be fulfilling. I wanted to be passionate about what I did.
In highschool, I was told that there was a deep need for teachers in our community, so I set my course. What I didn’t know was by the time that school year had ended, the teaching shortage was no more. By the following year, it was a different problem all together: Too many teachers, not enough positions. But, guidance counselors didn’t get that memo. They were still telling kids that this was the job most in demand.
So, I went to University. The plan was, finish school and go teach in Japan for a year or two. If I loved it, come back, do teacher’s college, and teach here. By the time I hit my third year, I knew the situation in the education field. People were taking whatever teaching jobs they could get. Didn’t matter if they hated the subject, they needed the income. I was disgusted. I decided I would give myself time to figure it out, but that I wouldn’t teach unless I was sure about it. I had had too many teachers who made me hate a subject because it didn’t matter to them.
Coming out of University, I took the first job available: Data entry for the Canadian Census. I was offered an extension on my contract, but knew I couldn’t set myself up for a lifetime of cubicles and numbers. I would hate it. I would be miserable. I was offered a job, thanks to a close friend, in geneology and history. I have a great love of history, so I thought it was perfect. As it turns out, I found it tedious and boring, and left before the year was up. I fell into a deep depression. I was so unsure about my path.
I went to a job agency and was placed at a tiny engineering company as a receptionist. It was supposed to be short term. Pat had just bought a house, and we needed a second income to afford it. Three years went by. I was promoted to finance, and somehow, tolerated it all. I met some great people, I told myself it was decent cash and I couldn’t just walk away from it.
I was fired in August of 2009 due to office politics. Licking my wounds, I told myself it was good timing, because I had lost my way. I had lost sight of the path and my search for my true calling. I started poking around, trying to get a feel for what would make me happy. I tried being a Doula. I took some courses in web design.
This past Monday, I started another Admin job, this time at a local hospital. It was for more money than I’ve ever made. Benefits. Pension plans. It seemed perfect. By the end of the first day, I knew it was all wrong. By the second day, I knew I needed out. I submitted my resignation and ran for the hills.
I am lost. I don’t have a path. I don’t have a plan. I have no idea what I want to be, or how to get there. We’re broke, I’m exhausted. I’m 26, and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I have no idea where to begin.