2 articles Tag careers

Nurturing Their Dreams

Kid dreaming of being an astronautWhen I was a kid, I was often asked what I wanted to be when I was older. I was a relatively intelligent child and achieved well at school, so from a very young age there were a lot of expectations piled upon me from parents and teachers. Eventually, I passed my 11+ and was sent to a grammar school, where instead of being the brightest in my class, I was one of many clever girls and I hovered somewhere around the middle, in terms of achievement. It was drummed into us from the beginning that we had to constantly have our eye on the distance – end of year exam results dictated which GCSE options we were allowed to take, and we’d need to choose the right GCSE’s to allows us to take the A-Levels we wanted, which in turn were for the purpose of gaining access to the right degree course at the right university.

I was, and still am, a fairly shiftless person. My big dream when I was little was to be an Astronaut – sounds far fetched, but I intended to join the RAF out of sixth form and gain University sponsorship from them, with the hope of going on to train to be a pilot. Once I was told that I had zero chance of flying a plane because of my horrendous eyesight, I went into something of a tailspin. I could never really pinpoint what I wanted to be, and the thought that my career would define the rest of my life never sat well with me anyway.

I can’t help but wonder if my childhood intelligence (which, I have to say, seems considerably dulled by age) is part of the problem. I remember, for a long time, thinking that I’d be a hairdresser when I got older, except when I expressed this to my parents, I was told “You’re too clever to be a hairdresser”. This became a running theme in my adolescence and my passions were trampled under the weight of what I ‘should’ have been doing with my brain. Drama became my new passion and I was pretty good at it, too. I’m fairly extroverted and love performing but once again, it wasn’t considered cerebral enough. I was allowed to take Drama at A-Level, but only as a concession because I took four other ‘serious’ subjects (Chemistry, Biology, English Literature and English Language).

As it stands, I flunked out of sixth form; the mounting pressure got too much and I found myself being anywhere but the lessons I was supposed to be attending. I can’t help but wonder if I’d have been more inclined to attend if I’d not been steered towards subjects that I didn’t really want to take?

Sausage is an incredible kid, with a great imagination, huge intellect (she’s currently reading books at home which are for 8-year-olds, because her school books aren’t challenging enough) and artistic flair. She’s got the potential to be anything she wants to be, but I remind myself almost daily that the key part of that sentence is “SHE WANTS”. We spend so much time telling our kids that they can be anything they want to be and then second guessing their choices because they don’t sit well with our plans for their lives and it’s about time we stopped being so bloody arrogant.

Just this morning, Sausage told me that we wanted to be a nail technician and masseuse. One side of my brain said “That won’t earn you much money. You’ve got so much more potential than that. Why don’t you do that as a hobby, instead?”, but I managed to stop myself from saying it out loud. I adjusted my brain and instead thought “If that’s what makes you happy, then I’ll support you”. And, isn’t that what’s important? Supporting our kids in their choices and nurturing their happiness?

It is to us, at least.

What Will I Be When I Grow Up?

When I was a kid, I could never make my mind up about what I wanted to be when I grew up. The thought of going to University scared the crap out of me because it meant that I’d have to make a decision and stick to it. In fact, I went to a grammar school which is currently rated at 8th in the entire UK for results and the pressure was on from an early age.

At 13, we had to do really well in our end-of-year exams so that we’d be allowed to take the subjects we wanted at G.C.S.E when we took our options and of course you must choose the right G.C.S.E’s so that you have the right subjects to allow you to study at A-Level, which in turn would need to correspond with what you want to study at University….”AAaaarrgghhh, ENOUGH”, my tiny, thirteen year old brain screamed. In fact, seeing as I was one of the youngest in the year, I was probably 12. “No…” I wanted say “no, I do NOT know what I want to work as until I can draw my pension in approximately 60 years time”.

The problem I have now is that I never seemed to quite snap out of that mentality. It’s not so much that I don’t know what I want to be, it’s that I want to be everything! At the moment, I have three jobs. I work in an Accountants office as an assistant and general jack-of-all trades doing payroll, basic accounts and crap like that. I also manage some Social Media pages for a couple of brands and I also pick up the odd bit of freelance writing here and there. Three pretty different jobs and strangely, I actually feel quite satiated, in terms of my career.

The thing is, I still have it in the back of my mind that I’ll still get to be an astronaut one day or that someone will walk past my bathroom window, hear me singing my heart out and offer me a record deal and world tour. That’s not to mention the book I want to write, the career as a stand-up, the prime time TV comedy that I’m going to both write and star in. And I’m not even exaggerating here, these are all genuine aspirations of mine.

When I was in my last year of school, I was determined that I was going to join the RAF. I wanted to sign up, get sponsored by them to attend Uni and then learn to fly planes. Then, I was told in an interview with their careers officer that I couldn’t fly planes as I’m as myopic as a bat and as coordinated as Bez after taking a heroic amount of Ecstasy. So, that scuppered that little fantasy and I don’t think I’ve ever got over the disappointment.

The thing is, I’m going to be 30 in a couple of years and I really need to start knuckling down. Just after Sausage was born I started an OU degree in Psychology but two yeas and 120 UCAS points later and I’ve realised that I think Freud was a twat. So, where do I go now. Well, I’ve signed up to do my Accounts Technician Training. I don’t want to be in my thirties and have the same earning potential as I did when I was 18, so fuck it, let’s have a go.

But in the meantime, if anyone needs me to stand in for them in a Broadway show or ghost write their life story, I’m happy to give that a punt too!