April 27, 2007

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

We can all vaguely remember from when we were young times when we were asked by the adults in our lives "What do YOU want to be when you grow up?" Boys had it easy - a firefighter! I joke, but most kids answer that, or an astronaut, or a doctor, or an actor, or a marine biologist.

No one ever answers, "I think I want to be a middling administrative cog in the already-incredibly bloated entertainment industry".

But yet that's where I find myself today. Oh, I've had higher ambitions in the past - to be a musician, a screenwriter, a film director, a musical composer for films, a music producer, a sound mixer, a music editor, a sound editor, an encoding operator, and simply employed. You'll notice a devolving trend there in my list. It seems the older I get, the less ambitious I am.

Perhaps that's what growing up is. When there are other aspects of your life that you come to value over a profession, things can get blurry if you've not already found your "dream job". So as my move to Seattle creeps closer and closer, I wonder if this is that one opportunity to really "reset" my professional life. Co-workers are starting to approach me, inquiring about the move, and I can spot something unexpected in their eyes - envy. I realize I'm in an envious position that not too many people find themselves in after 30 years of age.

I'm not completely devoid of responsibility - my partner, Erik, won't be making single-income sort of money, and I would never want to imbalance our contributions by sitting back and mooching off of him. But the sense that THIS might be a great time to go back to school and get a degree and do something that really empassions me is starting to overtake my thoughts.

Don't get me wrong, I've always wanted to work in the entertainment industry for as long as I can remember. But there's not a whole lot of "the biz" up in the Pacific Northwest. There are a lot of advertising and high tech firms, but video post production facilities are in short supply. My dilemma? Narrowing down the things that interest me to a reasonable scope.

I first draw upon my personal interests: the internet, working on the design of my website (occassionally), photography, etc. The high-tech field in Seattle is well-known for being robust, but I absolutely KNOW I don't have the math skills to become a code-monkey. As much as it fascinates me, watching Erik work makes it evident that I'm trumped in every capacity.

Then there's web design (graphics). Talk about an over-saturated field! Kids are coming out of high school doing amazing things with their websites, so I would have to be quite the superstar to be able to get my foot in that swinging door. I like to think I have an "eye", but if nothing else, I'm quite aware of my artistic limitations.

Now there are fields of study, completely different from media/new media, that I toy with the idea of venturing into more and more. I've always been interested in psychology from when I was quite young and landed my hands on one of my mother's nursing school psychology textbooks back when I was about seven years old. I could barely read the words, but remember spending more time with that book than many others. I've experienced a diverse array of mental health issues with both my family, and with myself, so I have mixed feelings on it. But I have an advisory personality - whether people want my advice or not - and sometimes I think counseling might be my bag, but again, I realize how much responsibility lays with that, and it's a little intimidating.

But there's another psychology-related field that interests me which seems to have the best of both worlds: human-computer interaction and user interface design. Companies are really into making sure their software and web presences are just as impactful as, say, their television commercials, and how a page is laid out can really unconsciously (or blatantly) influence a consumer's perception of that company and what they're selling. That's intriguing to me for some reason. But I don't really know much about the field beyond that - I don't know how much programming experience is required, etc.

And then there's a slew of other fields that I've taken interest in - I just don't have the time to delve into the plethora of reasons they have it: sonography (giving ultrasounds), teaching, law. But see? I'm overwhelmed by this entry at this point (I'm sure you, dear reader, are as well, if you've gotten this far). It's too much to think about - and too perplexing. It's at this point where I sigh, clear my head, and forget about doing something else.

posted by julie at April 27, 2007 01:40 PM

things people have said

I think that you'd be a great psychologist, whether it be in the web impact or general mental health capacity.

Me, I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader when I grew up! And look at me now! :-D

so said: Rachel at April 29, 2007 04:25 PM