Sometime during my senior year in high school, each of we students were told to write out our intended occupations, what we planned to do after graduation.
I had absolutely no career direction at the time. I had always viewed becoming competent at something and making a living as distant future situations.
My friend, Darron, had suggested to me that a couple of good career possibilities were, 1.) shepherd and 2.) organ grinder. I gave some thought to his recommendations and agreed they were not bad choices, so those are what I wrote down.
Shepherding seemed like honest work and not overly demanding, except, I reasoned, when you might have to pull a double shift if your reliever calls in sick. Shepherds often fared better than most others in the Bible. God seemed to favor them. Moses was a shepherd. King David started out as a shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. God sent the angels to shepherds to first announce Jesus’ birth…
On the other hand, if you were a professional organ grinder you got to have a monkey, which also counted as a business deduction on your taxes. I had never seen very many organ grinders around so I supposed the market wasn’t over-supplied with them. Image in the field seemed to be paramount, though. Could I grow the requisite mustache to be able to pull off the full effect? Probably not for another year or so, I concluded.
Having been lying in bed off and on over the past few days trying to get over this cold that invaded my sinuses, eyes, ears, throat and chest, I’ve been musing over my career choice and path.
It's never been a secret that I drifted into architecture sideways, starting off studying something else. One of my instructors told me he thought I should go into architecture. Really?, I thought, well…er, uh, yeah, okay…, I guess.
And that was about it. I made the change and continued through school, spent a few summers working construction, graduated, got my first architecture job, and then another, and on and on until finally becoming my own boss almost eleven years ago.
My 40th year high school reunion is next year. I made the 10th and 25th but couldn't make the 5,000 mile trip from Hawai'i to the others. I’ve been wondering this week how many of my former classmates made their career decisions thoughtfully and deliberately versus how many just wandered into a path, as I did. I wouldn’t mind listening to some of them tell their stories on the subject.
Incidentally, my classmate, Darron, chose to become a medical doctor and work as a research scientist at a major university, which was probably a good career choice. I doubt that either shepherding or organ grinding could have matched the benefits of his current position.