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I ask because I need to know if I’m normal. I’ve had so many different and varied jobs and alleged careers that I’m thinking maybe I need to go back to “What Color Is Your Parachute?” Except that at this point I’m ... well, fabulously beyond 40.  

Yes, there’s a midlife condition going on here, but I’m still working, still starting over and over and over again when necessary. My heart is in theatre and music but I am way too “fabulous” to try that riff again.

I acted in some TV commercials when I was a little kid, and as a young woman I did a few more before going into commercial producing, instead of acting, and then I wrote commercials. Career #1.

#2. I trained in high school and college to be an actress. That never materialized into a career, so I never made money from it. But the training took many years of my life. I’ll just call acting a “shadow” career.

#3. As a young woman I began to study voice and music, and trained to become a jazz singer. This one I actually made money at, but the money was very paltry indeed, and the “work conditions” (think smokey jazz club, right?) were something I’d never repeat at this stage in my life.

#4. More sane was Career #4, when I taught voice and jazz theory. It was my first grown-up type thing that made a steady income and actually made me feel ... NORMAL! “Normal,” as in, you work, you get paid, you go home type thing.

#5. During this time I wrote a guidebook for singles, and it was picked up by Collier/Macmillan and published. This was eons ago, and it would have been a “normal” career with the tiny little exception that aside from the advance the publisher paid me, I made not a penny more. I gave up music and wrote another book, couldn’t get it published, so - why, well then, it makes sense, right? - I wrote yet another book that is still not published. (And another.)

#6. Having always been a child of the ‘60s, a boomer, whatever you want to call it, I was quite familiar with the Tarot cards, on which I depended for many of my major life decisions. Some wire went off in my brain and I thought, “Hey!“, so I got a job with a huge 900-line company, reading people’s Tarot cards on the telephone. I must say, the money was good, but after the initial rush I realized that the company was charging customers nearly $4.00 a minute for these readings, and most of my callers seemed to be unaware of how quickly that adds up. Some people even called me from prison. It was stressful, because they desperately wanted to hear some specific good news, and I’ve always done the Tarot as a general trend finder rather than an accurate mind-reading type thing. It began to become intolerable, as with one lady I just threw down my deck of cards and said, “Do not let this man back into your house. He tried to shoot you, for Goshake. Get a caller ID and don’t take his calls.”  

Career #7. Wanting desperately to join the boomer mainstream, I took a course in day trading. It was actually fun, and challenging, so I took a longer, more formal course, and loved it. Loved the people, loved the support groups, loved the idea of making money in an up or a down market, and looked on my financial charts as works of art. Here was the catch: you have to have a certain, shall we say, unshakeable emotional makeup in order to do well as a day trader. It is the most edge-of-your-seat thing I’ve ever done, and that includes riding in the front car of the roller coaster as a kid. OMG. Every second there’s an excitement of some sort that pops onto the computer screen. If you‘re not totally cool headed, you won’t survive. I made no money at all.

#8. Sales & Marketing Director for a small company. What can I say? I did everything “right,” I did networking lunches, joined stuff, hand-delivered compelling marketing material to potential clients. After almost a year of this I still hadn’t made one penny.  

#9. I’m now on my last and final and dammit, successful career. I’ve got a number of websites with Google Adsense on them, and by gosh and golly, holy cow, craters on the moon, and I’ll be darned, they are making money. Not a lot, because I’m just starting out. But enough to let me know I’m on the right track. This, too involved a lot of coursework and studying, but it’s OK. It’s fun and interesting, and I get to help animals, which are ultimately my true love. (My main site is based around a list of cosmetic companies that don’t do animal testing and/or are vegan cosmetics.)

So tell me, my fabulously-40 friends, what about you? Have you gone through many careers / jobs before finding one you could live with?

Namaste,
Suzann
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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • I’ve pursued various jobs and careers in nearly three decades as a working adult.

      Just to name a few: waitress, pre-school teacher, private nanny, receptionist, windshield repair tech, small motor assembler, customer support representative, business analyst, property manager (rv parks, apartment complexes AND storage facilities), state certified pest control technician and writer.

      As of today, I am still in property management (although now I’ve spent enough time in the industry to be considered an expert!) and this is pretty much it for me, especially since my husband and I have mastered the fine art of working together successfully. This career has afforded me a lot of time to pursue my big, and so far unattainable, goal of being a full-time writer.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzann wrote Nov 19, 2008
    • Hi feathermaye,

      You’ve done a lot. But yes, wow, mastering the art of working together with H. is awesome! And with all your careers and experience you’ve got sooooo much “material” for your writing. I wish you the very best success with that!!!

      Namaste,
      Suzann



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