Friday, December 3, 2010

Odd Jobs (Not Steve, But He's Odd, Too)

When I was a kid, there were certain careers you aspired to. Fireman, policeman, teacher, doctor, lawyer, construction worker, those kinds of jobs. If there was a kid in the class who wanted to be a veterinarian, photographer or professional athlete, they were considered the dreamers. Working with animals all day, taking pictures or playing a game for a living? Even as kids, we seemed to understand that a job wasn’t something you were suppose to take any enjoyment from. How right we were.

Though my sons are far from entering the work force due to the strict child labor laws in this country (honestly, if we were in China the little freeloaders would at least be making me some money already) I sometimes think of the job opportunities that are going to be available to them. They can do things that I never would have considered. Had a kid told their parents they wanted to play video games or build Lego models as a career, everyone would have known who the neighborhood pot dealer was going to be.

But these are legitimate options these days. I sometimes lament the fact that I wasn’t more obsessive over my hobbies as a child. I mean, I was obsessive enough that they kept me from having a girlfriend, but not to the point that they made me money. I look at the giant Lego collection in my basement and think about what might have been. Had I been tenacious enough to insist that I could make a living building with Lego, maybe I could be doing that right now. Just the thought of being able to get paid to go to work each day and build instead of having to shell out cash to do so is enough to make me begin to understand why some people just walk into their offices one day and start firing.

So, every now and then, when the topic of what they want to “be” when they grow up arises, I try to be open-minded with my boys. When they say they want to fish for a living, I no longer picture the yellow hat, rain slicker and ship with nets off the side like the man on the box of frozen cod fillets wears. I tell my boys that if they are good enough at it, they could catch fish professionally in tournaments or be a fishing guide on a lake they happen to like. They would have to have an extra room and keep a slot open every Saturday for their old man too, of course.

This is just one such career path they have suggested they may decide to pursue. Apparently, they’re keeping roller coaster reviewer as their fallback option.

While I write this blog, I try to take it seriously (at least in front of them). I want them to see that anything one enjoys doing could be taken seriously enough to be a profession. I don’t want them to think I’m writing and enjoying it but never expect anything to come from it. I want them to see potential in everything they do.

The sky’s the limit. Even if they think up something completely off the wall, who knows what careers will develop over the coming years. And if they end up selecting a job they love and doing it every day, I will be one proud daddy. Now if the rest of us could just do the same.

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