Friday, January 15, 2010

What do you want to be when you grow up?

So recently my daughter asked me "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I skirted the question by answering that I was already grown up. But at 6 years old my daughter is quite smart. As absurd as it is, this is a question that has been on my mind lately.

I guess there are a few things making this the current question in my life. It's been over a year since I stopped working due to a layoff. I had in my mom's words, always been a "career girl". Even after I had Gigi, I continued working full time and climbing the corporate ladder. We managed our house well and I enjoyed "having it all". But in the fall of 2008 that all changed. I figured I would enjoy some time off, after all I had held a full time job for 24 years, a break was not unreasonable. But this is where the limbo set it, because that's what I saw it as, a break. I didn't really want to get involved in anything, such as going to school or a volunteer program because sooner or later I would get back into the full time work groove and would have to bow out.

Now after a little over a year of being home and incorporating some volunteer work at Gigi's school into my schedule, I realize getting back on the HR corporate full time horse is not for me. In fact, I would be happy never to be involved in human resources management ever again. I would say some of that is burn out, being in HR through a year long trickle of layoffs is super awful. But also maybe because I never really sought out HR as my career choice, it just happened that way through opportunities that opened up to me. I guess that's what happens to many folks. I always wonder if Laura Tums (a girl I went to school with) ever became the marine biologist that she set her mind to early in school. Since the memory has stuck with me I guess I envied her drive to purposely create her own destiny.

Anyway I've been floating around the house for over a year now, and when the layoff happened I thought a year off would be nice. And that year has come and gone, working on year two right now. It's been good being home. I get so much more time with Gigi and more importantly she gets so much more time with me. I'm not ready to trade that in, not sure if I'll ever be ready to trade that in.

About a week ago there was a story on the news and there was a high school girl talking about her goals in life and she said something that really struck me (these kids are so smart). Basically she said, if you are not working towards a goal (set of goals) you are just floating through life. That's what I am doing right now and maybe that's OK for the short term, but not for the long term, no way.

So Gigi's question is very timely. If I don't want to go back into HR, what do I want to do? Well right now the answer seems to be one that many moms come to, work in the school system. I've enjoyed my volunteer work and like the atmosphere in the school, I also like the possibility of having a work schedule that is close to my daughter's school schedule. Doing what, I am not sure, but it's a good start in the process and the first step is that I will need get my educational house in order.

I have hesitated on going back to school for many reasons over the years. Not because I don't like it, I do, I love school. But once I got into management and then especially after having a child I felt I was already stretched too thin to continue working towards my degree. Plus I was doing well without it, always had.

Yesterday, I reapplied to school and in the next few days I will decide how much I want to take on in my first semester back. I am looking forward to putting some new goals in place and stepping out of the floating limbo that has become a little too comfortable.

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