Thursday, May 29, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Graduation, Careers and Change

All the hoopla around graduation this time of year triggers memories of how it was to graduate and be tossed into the real world way back when! Both pix here capture my graduation ceremonies – in the red, junior high school with my chums, yes I am crying in 1962; and in the blue, high school with my mom and dad in 1966. I look pretty pissed in the high school pix but don’t remember actually being pissed. While my dad looks fab my mom just looks her normal “I don’t smile much” self.

Career choices. The words alone are enough to paralyze even the most ambitious grad! Good or bad, I don’t know, but I’ve always had a problem with making a long term commitment to one career. I think I get bored really easily and feel the need to change things up. Funny, as much as I don’t like change, I have continually created it in my jobs. A few years back, I was talking with my grandnephew about life, school and work. That conversation sparked a list of all the jobs I have done in my lifetime. So I thought it would be fun to list them here: gardenia and avocado seller (I was 5), babysitter, teachers’ aide (I was 10 and yes, I got paid), telephone operator (think Ernestine!), model, department assistant in the sample department, girl-friday in a sailboat shop, graphic artist, window decorator/painter at the holidays, designer and maker of custom rugs for interior designers in then swish Huntington Harbour, beauty shop cleaning service (I hated this job!), receptionist and switchboard operator at a private beach club (I loved this job!), jewelry designer/maker, switchboard operator at big department store, teacher (elementary and then high school), retail store owner and operator, regulatory affairs for pharma company, medical training materials development, market research analyst, marketing and advertising director, education professional for pharma, marketing director nutritional supplements manufacturer, account director ad agency, commercial print model and television actor, creative director ad agency, account director media relations agency – and that’s about it before moving full-time into jewelry. Exhale!

That is a shizz load of jobs…I agree. I’ve always been a believer in doing whatever it takes to get where you think you want to be, which meant doing a lot of jobs that might not have been ideal. I started undergrad school when I was 16 and for me that is far too young to make any kind of major life choice regarding your career. I stayed at Cal State Long Beach (yes, that’s what it was called then) for five years because I had no real idea what I wanted to do. I had a fabulous part-time job that was paying all my bills (and giving me the best gourmet meals every day) and I was able to take a bevy of classes so that was good. There are no pix of my undergrad college graduation, since there were 10,000 other grads in my class, I just figured “give me the damn paper” and I was happy with that. No grad ceremony when I finished my MBA (Pepperdine University) either – I guess it’s fair to say that I am not big on pomp and circumstance. Oh wait; maybe it was the thought of wearing the same outfit as 10,000 people all in the same place that pushed me into not participating. Talk about your anxiety  You think? Just for fun, I've included a snap of the dress that went under the red gown. We had to leave our petticoats in the locker room until after the ceremony. Proof that my affinity for the bateau neckline started early -- this dress was my design and my mom's creation. Also, one of the few times I ever wore heels! Thanks, mom!

Anyhow, this post is far too long so going to wrap it up. I guess that what I want say to anyone graduating is this – follow your heart and your dreams and go where they lead you. Most importantly, just because today you choose to do one thing doesn’t mean you have to continue on that path your whole life. In my book, success is measured by the joy you feel and share with the world…not a job title or the number of years you have that title. So…congratulations and thanks for reading! 

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And, YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go,” Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go