Elster's World

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ten to Twelve Years Too Late

This is the story of my life.

For the second time in the last three years or so, it occurs to me that if I could do it all over again, I'd have really enjoyed being a _______. Of course, unlike my other career change idea (the now infamous failed writing career), becoming a ______________ requires probably something like three years of schooling and then some post-grad work (unpaid or very low paying). Since I'm 34 years old, have three kids and a mortgage to pay, the ability to simply chase after this new dream is....well it's an inability. It simply cannot happen (without a significant government grant anyway).

Here's the sad part. Unlike being a writer (at which I probably would have ended up being mediocre at best), I would make a fantastic ______. I am basing this on (i) the feedback of a number of people whom I have helped acting as a sort-of unofficial _____ over the course of the last few years, (ii) my own personal understanding of who I am and (iii) the fact that I would really enjoy doing it. I know now that loving your work automatically gives you a leg up over your competition who are simply showing up to work everyday without putting heart and soul into it.

Of course I have come to this conclusion way to late in the game for it to be anything other than another late breaking goal I cannot realize. Another pipe dream, another disappointment in my journey.

And yes, it is great to follow your dreams when you have them. But no, following your dreams does not pay for the aforementioned kids, house or food. If I was single, sure I'd punch out and take the plunge. Heck, if i had just finished law school, maybe even then (tens of thousands already in debt) I'd have gone for it. But now? It's simply not possible without divine intervention.

I can't help but think that people are forced into too many of their most important decisions in life well before they are ready for them. Marriage at 20 comes to mind. Picking a career while still in undergrad, especially in a university that doesn't offer enough in the way of career guidance, is another. I took a course or 2 in the field of ______ in college and at the time it was simply a schedule filler. Intro to ______ didn't excite me back then, the way it might have now. Instead I followed the herd (as we so often do at that age) and studied for my LSAT's. How are we supposed to do anything else without the road map that the lucky people all seem to have?

Truthfully and to be fair, it's not like at the time I had aspirations to be a _______ and someone talked me out of it. It simply wasn't on my radar. And as a 21 year old punk, how could it have been? How could a kid like me possibly know what he wanted to do with himself at 21 when I had barely worked a day in my life up to that point? Again, no road map for me.

Despite the dull ache that accompanies these little "if only I'd become a [fill in the career category here] back then" moments when you realize you are 3,650 days late and $1,000 short, I don't plan on stopping my pursuit of career change. If not writing, if not _______, then [fill in career category here]. I'm young. Too young to give up hope. Too young to stop being optimistic. Too young to resign myself to a fate of of counsel or non equity partner. Because the minute I stop dreaming for something better is the minute I have given up hope.

So I will (eventually) watch a career in _____ walk right past me with nary a "hello and how are you?" and continue down the street to someone else's house - to someone else's fulfilled dream. But I won't quit on my own ending.

I just need to find the damn thing without a map.

4 Comments:

  • "Of course I have come to this conclusion way to late in the game for it to be anything other than another late breaking goal I cannot realize. Another pipe dream, another disappointment in my journey."

    Please - you're young enough to make a decision to change careers. Your decision, not unreasonably, is not to, because you have a family to support.

    If you had chosen the alternative career, you'd be lamenting your financial struggles, the stress of paying yeshiva tuition, etc.

    "The grass is always greener on the other side."

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 4:59 PM  

  • Actually - I believe that the alternative career would pay at least as well as I am doing now - assuming I had some success at it.

    My age is irrelevant. I have family to support - the switch is therefoe impossible (unless you wanna foot my bill?).

    By Blogger Elster, at 5:03 PM  

  • The switch is certainly not "impossible," though you would probably suffer some economic stress for a few years. It is reasonable therefore for you to rationally decide not to pursue another career. On the other hand, since you are only 34 and your working life likely has many decades remaining, it would also not be unreasonable for you to decide to do something that gives you more day-to-day satisfaction.

    I assume the alternative career as not a fantasy football consultant. If it is, drop the idea at once.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 5:48 PM  

  • Considering how wracked by injury my team has been, I think I'm a very respectable 4-7. And my guys don't quit.

    By Blogger Elster, at 9:37 AM  

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