What will I be when I grow up?

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Why the hell did I choose electrical engineering as my major back in 1999? Honestly, I remember why, but sometimes I feel like I chose the wrong path.  Before I get into my question, I do want to say that my job is fine, my co-workers are nice, and my bosses are great.  I really have nothing to complain about, it’s just that… I lack the passion to do my job.  I expect that in any job, you will have a day, week or even month, where you just hate getting up to go to work. It is just part of the ups and downs in a job. 

Why did I change my major back in 1999 from speech pathology and audiology to electrical engineering?  Why the heck did I choose speech pathology in the first place?  The speech stuff seemed interesting because I like sign language.  I had a limited amount of sign language exposure, but I liked languages and figured from the little that I knew about that career, that I would be able to learn another language and not be stuck as a translator.  It only took one day, observing in the clinic for me to realize that speech pathology was not for me.  It just didn’t seem to be the right fit. 

I had a subscription to US News and World Report at the time and they articles were about the energy crisis in California and how alternative energies were the answer.  I liked the idea of using solar panels and wind power, so I changed my major to engineering and in doing so, had to change universities. I wanted to be able to help residential customers install solar panels on their roofs to help improve energy consumption and energy costs. 

During my year at Western Kentucky University, (figuring out that I wasn’t going to be an audiologist,) I took a class in Urban Folklore.  I loved that class.  The teacher could tell that I enjoyed it, and encouraged me to look into the masters program they offered.  I looked at the program and decided that I wouldn’t make any money, even though I would enjoy the topic.  So, my decision to become an engineer was a safe one.  My dad was an engineer, if he could be an engineer, so could I. 

I graduated in 2004 with my bachelors in electrical engineering from Tennessee Tech.  It is a great school and I felt accomplished with the degree, but couldn’t find a job.  I started on scholarship in the masters program but quickly discovered that I really didn’t want to be at school anymore.  I was spending more time in the music department, practicing my cello.  I knew I needed to leave. 

As an undergrad, I never completed an internship or a co-op.  I think that if I would have done so, I probably would have switched majors again.  I’m six years into my career as an electrical engineer and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  How are kids supposed to decide on a career at such a young age, with no exposure to what they plan to do for the rest of their lives? 

I place the blame on myself right now, for not following what I’m passionate about, but therein lays another problem.  I have a lot of passions.  I love to create and to teach, however I know that if I did either of these exclusively, I would burn out very quickly and lack of inspiration. 

I think I’m a pretty good teacher.  I enjoy teaching about childbirth, but I know that I get very involved mentally in my students births and have a hard time staying worry free about outcomes.  I know that with time and more students that stress should lessen.  I love coaching basketball.  I am excited when planning the activities and have fun thinking about how the practice or game went afterwards. 

I love doing crafts.  My friend Kristen sent me a link to a new concept in the UK, sewing cafes’.  This would be a fun venture, but I fear that the shop would look like my sewing room after I get through with a project and that no one would ever want to come back again after seeing that much fabric and thread strewn about.

I’ve wondered what it would be like to own the local knitting store.  I don’t know whether I would enjoy doing it all of the time.  I’d love to think that I would get to knit half the day and interact with customers and be happy and smiling all of the time.  I know though, that is just dreaming.  I would have employees that wouldn’t show up for their shift, I would have people stealing items and then I would be pissed. 

I’ve also thought about raising sheep, or just getting the raw wool from them, and learning to dye it into fantastic colors and creating yarn to sell.  The problem with the sheep thing is one, I have no land and two, we go out of town a lot.  You can’t leave animals on their own for long.

I’ve wondered about Damon and me going into business together somehow.  Working from home, or taking our kids with us wherever we are.  That might be too much of a strain on our marriage.  I’m known for getting angry quickly and I think that he might not want to be around me very much.  Damon is interested in woodworking and golf club making.  I wonder if maybe there could be something there that I could help with. I think of woodworking as being similar to sewing.  You just have a different medium.  I think that I could build some fantastic furniture, but could I make any money at it. 

Then, I’ve thought about learning how to do upholstery.  They make a pretty decent living, but probably not as much as I do, sitting at a computer as an engineer. 

I loved making pottery as a high school student. I would spend my lunch hours in there because it was so calming and peaceful.

Maybe I should go back to school and become an art teacher, but then I don’t think that I could deal with the politics and crap at school. Plus, the art programs are always the first to be cut. 

Sometimes, I just resign myself to the fact that I just need to suck it up and go to work every day.  I provide well for my family, I get to see them in the evenings and on the weekends and they get to have one parent at home.  I get very said though, looking at thirty more years of this….doing the same thing, not loving my job, just accepting that I have a stable job.  I know I picked the wrong career, but I don’t know what I should do instead.

Engineer....Me
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2 thoughts on “What will I be when I grow up?

    thevfamily said:
    June 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Have you ever read _38 days to the Work you Love_ by Dan Miller? I have not read it but Thomas has, and it provides you ways to find that job that feels much less like work to you! It shows you how to make creative income feed your family. A yarn shop just opened up where I live. I have not been but I am completely impressed that someone is making a full business out of a hobby she/he loves. They offer free knitting and crochet classes, and they also teach how to spin yarn and work on a loom. How cool! I know you have obviously thought about it all already, but I would not let the fears hinder me, if I were you. Don’t think of jumping in completely at the start, just begin small and let it grow until it *can* feed your family and replace your engineering salary–and then some even! Just a thought :O)

      lahancock responded:
      June 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Thank you summer. I appreciate the encouragement. I will check out that book. I’m reading the element tight now.

      Sent from my iPad

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