What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up?

Monday, August 24, 2009
I'm 44 years old, and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

My first career was as a Navy NCO. I loved it. I still miss it occasionally. It was incredibly rewarding, and I was good at it.

I'm currently working in my second career. I'm a systems engineer for a major manufacturer of telecommunications equipment. I really enjoy the work (most days), it pays really well, and I'm good at it. Because the Smart Twins are now college students, the whole "paying really well" benefit is important right now, and I intend to stick with it until they're done with their undergraduate work or drop out and become commune hippies, whichever comes first.

But now that the academic year has started, my mind is turning once again to a mid-life career change. For a long time I wanted to go to law school and work in public policy. But after doing some research, I don't want it bad enough to incur the debt that would be required for me to attend Law School full-time for three years. Public service attorneys don't typically make a ton of money, and I don't want to have to work until I'm 70 in order to get out from under my student loans.

So I'm considering alternatives. Nurse. Librarian. Phlebotomy. Something that allows me to serve others in a meaningful way.

By the time the kids are off the payroll, I'll be done with my own BA, so pursuing an MLS would be completely doable. I could even do a large portion of it part-time, and there are several schools here in Colorado that have reputable programs. I love libraries. I think I would like to be a librarian, especially a research librarian. Unfortunately, most MLA programs require a teaching certificate, as well. And I don't want to be a teacher.

Nursing is also problematic. I would probably have to attend an accelerated program full-time after finishing up the science prerequisites, which would constitute about two semesters (in addition to my in-progress BA).

The expense for either choice is considerable.

I may end up with an early retirement and a phlebotomy certificate, instead. The certification program is only twelve weeks, and the cost of the program is only about $1K. Of course, it only pays about $15.00 an hour.

I really need to win the PowerBall. That's a mid-life career change I could get behind.

18 comments:

The Mechanicky Gal said...

Same here. What to do, what to do. Right now, get close(er) to paying off mortgage. But Lowes or Home Despot is looking pretty good. Garden Dept. natch.
I guess I'll stick it out here for a while longer.....
ICK.

Janiece said...

I'm so with you. I want a low stress job that serves others in a meaningful way, but doesn't pay so much that I can't say "fuck you" and walk if it's a haven for douchebags.

I figure a phlebotomist can get work anywhere, and there're volunteer opportunities for when I'm REALLY retired.

Juan Federico said...

Ombudsman. You'd make a fantastic Ombuddy. I think we went over this once.....deja conversation ey what?

Janiece said...

Yes, I believe I would. But aside from a J.D., I don't know what type of degree program they look for. Psychology? Social Work?

Both kind of leave me cold...

Steve Buchheit said...

Elected Official. It's done wonders for my Duty Bone problems (I'm still trying to find a doctor to remove the damn thing). And, if you're lucky in your locality, it does pay okay. Better at county and state levels. Requires no previous experience except intelligence and the ability to see through BS. Having been a Chief you'll fit perfectly (although you may be frustrated by the pace - slow).

Steve Buchheit said...

Oh, forgot to add, there are plenty of classes you can take to help you in the positions.

Eric said...

Pirate or ninja. Unless you've done a recent midichlorian count and can go to Jedi school, because that would be even more awesome.

Grown up? What?

Janiece said...

Steve, I am a liberal in a conservative county. There is no way I'm going to get elected to anything around here - not even "handicapped parking enforcement," a job for which I think I'm FABULOUSLY QUALIFIED.

I can't be a pirate, having spent so many years in a diametrically opposed profession. If I was a ninja, someone would be likely to hit me and I'd have to cry.

I guess I'm off to get my blood checked...

Eric said...

I can't be a pirate, having spent so many years in a diametrically opposed profession.

Privateer, then?

Feel free to print the following:

----------
LETTER OF MARQUE AND REPRISAL

LET IT HENCEFORTH BE KNOWN AND ANNOUNCED THAT THE BEARER HAS FREE PERMISSION AND USE OF THE SEAS, LAKES, PONDS, FISHPONDS, PUBLIC FOUNTAINS, SWIMMING AND WADING POOLS OF THE WIDE WORLD FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING BOOTY AND CAPTURING SHIPS, BOATS, YACHTS, SUBMERSIBLES, BATHYSPHERES, PADDLEBOATS, WATERWINGS, INFLATED INNER TUBES, LIFE PRESERVERS (RING-SHAPED AND JACKET), AND ANY AND ALL OTHER MARITIME VESSELS HERETOFORE DESIGNATED AS BELONGING TO THOSE STATES, EMPIRES, FEDERATIONS, REPUBLICS, CONSORTIUMS, ETC. DESIGNATED AS "ENEMIES OF ERIC AND/OR ERICISM" OR OTHERWISE DEEMED IRRITATING TO ERIC, AND NO PROSECUTION SHALL BE INITIATED BY ERIC FOR ACTS PERFORMED IN FURTHERANCE OF SUCH OBJECTIVES NOR SHALL ERIC TURN OVER ANY PERSON BEARING THIS DOCUMENT FOR EXTRADITION OR OTHER PUNISHMENT, RETALIATION, IMPEACHMENT, ABUSE OR NOOGIES.

GIVEN FREELY AND ADMINISTERED THIS DATE, 25 AUGUST 2009, AND SWORN AND SUBSCRIBED TO FORTHWITH AND HENCEWITH AND POSTHASTE AND IPSO FACTO AND SOMESUCH

/S (SEALED AND DELIVERED)
ERIC, STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANT MIDGETS
----------

Hope that's helpful in your plans or considerations, somehow.

(The first version had a mistake: I've corrected it to make it even more legaler.)

Janiece said...

Erp. If I sail the seven seas with your letter in hand, there's a pretty good chance someone will try and hit me.

And then I'll cry.

Eric said...

The letter does cover wading pools....

Wendy said...

As an individual named after a character in "Peter Pan", I very much suspect I won't grow up!!!

What?

WendyB_09

The Mechanicky Gal said...

Then again, when I talked to my parents about having goals and objectives, they said words to the effect that if i found some, I should let them know so they could have some, too.
I come from a long line of slackers, apparently.
I'm not a Baby-Boomer, I'm the forefront of Gen X!!!

Steve Buchheit said...

Janiece, local politics is more about solving problems and management than about political party ideology (YMMV).

Eric said...

Steve, mileage varies a lot: I don't know how Colorado is, but in my part of the country getting elected is also very much about social networking, and the primary networks (unfortunately) are churches. If I still lived in the county I work in, I'd have zero chance of even winning a primary. In the city I live in, I might be able to win the primary without the religious ties, but I'm quite sure I'd lose the election. Combine that with my left-of-center politics, and I'd have a hard time getting elected to any local or national office in most parts of my home state (I might be able to pull off something in Chapel Hill or Asheville, maybe in Boone although the community is far more conservative than the Appalachian State University campus--which makes things pretty damn close depending on the resident student/faculty turnout (I'm thinking I'd still lose).

I wish getting elected in NC depended on capability and not where (or how) you spent your Sundays, but that's just not the reality. Colorado and points elsewhere may be different, of course.

Wendy said...

Eric, dear, I just don't see you getting elected in NC any time soon...just sayin...

Parental units live in NC, always complaining about the R faction crapping in the political arena. They hate it, hate that big money seems to run the elephant huggers.

WendyB_09

Eric said...

I know, Wendy. I know. Thank goodness I don't want to run for anything.

LucyInDisguise said...

You get elected by becoming a chameleon - Just like every other elected official. You become what everyone wants to see. You say what everyone wants to hear.

Once you are elected, then you go back to being yourself and nobody will notice. You'll be re-elected until your 97th birthday, or until a better chameleon comes along to unseat you.

Simple.

What?

Lucy

OT/P.S. - Guess I'm still screwed with regard to the Galileoscope. Perhaps I'll just have to write it off to experience. :(