Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Career Path

When you graduate from college, you are ready to start your career as a professional. Often career paths diverge and one can find oneself doing something totally different. Sometimes life choices send you down a different path as well. I've experienced both.

In 1990, I graduated from college with a degree in finance and  minor microcomputer applications. As it turns out, I used my minor and began my career as a computer programmer. I know, I know. Who today has heard of Fortran and COBOL? Only really old people or history buffs. But it was a start and I was thankful for it.

While pregnant with my 3rd child, Jeff & I made the life decision to quit my job as a computer in order to be a stay at home mom for our three children. I enjoyed being home with my kids and watching them grow. During this time, both of my parents experienced health problems. I was grateful to have the flexibility to help them out since I was working. Instead, I took advantage of the many hours we spent in the waiting rooms of hospitals to start working on my family tree. I collected data and tons of stories from both of my parents as well as my aunts and uncles. I was convinced I was going to pursue my certification in genealogy.

But then life throws you a curve ball. A position at our local park district opened up. Originally, the position was a glorified secretary for the park district board working 10-20 hours per week based on seasonal work. Eventually, due to expanding programs the job evolved into a full time plus position. With my love of all things fitness, it was a natural thing for me to add on group fitness certifications to get group fitness classes up and running in the fitness center which the park district had recently purchased.

Early winter last year I decided I couldn't continue to do it all. Working for a park district in a small town is very time consuming with very few true evenings or weekends to yourself. Don't get me wrong. I love my community. I'm thrilled I'm raising my children here; however, once your cell phone number gets out into circulation, it quickly seems as if the entire town has it and they always seem to call during dinner. In the end, I decided to give up my position as Director of Programs at the park district and to continue working as a group fitness instructor. I currently teach 7 classes a week as a certified Les Mills Body Pump and Body Flow instructor as well as a Zumba instructor.

And now 22 years after graduating from college, I am asking myself, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" I could pick up additional classes, but what happens when I get injured? What happens when I am missing my daughter's activities because I am teaching classes in the evenings?

When I quit my job as the Director of Programs in December, I thought I would pursue my personal training certification; however, I signed up for IMLOU in January and every time I thought about sitting down to study for my PT certification I knew I would simply fall asleep on the couch.

Jeff & I have talked about opening an online business, but where do you turn? What do you offer? What do I have to offer?  Offer your passion, right? But in what manner?

And both of these options involve RISK. Something I am not good at. I am not a risk taker. I do not put myself out there very often in order to end up rejected. I generally move through life with a confidence that whatever I try I will succeed at. If I don't feel confident, I tend to shy away. So the idea of starting a personal training business or opening a business scares me.

My oldest daughter, Samantha, will start college in the fall of 2013. Have you looked at the cost of college in the last few years? One year of college in a public Illinois university will cost approximately $35,000 (includes tuition, fees, room & board as well as miscellaneous expenses).

$35,000. Are you kidding me? 

As you can see, yes, the additional income would help and, no, I don't want to sink a lot of money into a new venture. Recently, I even took an online career exam similar to one Samantha was taking to help her identify a college major. Guess what it said? Personal trainer? NO. Computer programmer. That career I quit 11 years ago to become a stay at home mom.

So, seriously, what should I be when I grow up?

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