Sunday, June 12, 2011

In An Ideal World

I keep asking my missus what I should be when I grow up.

So far I've had quite a varied career, done a whole bunch of stuff and am eminently qualified for a whole lot of nothing.

I grew up on a farm.  We had beef cattle, and I was quite adept at a variety of physical endeavours by the time I was a teenager - strong back, weak mind.

My first job out of college was a seven year stint as a pressman in a printing press.  Unfortunately with the Free Trade Agreement between the nations of North America, that industry went south, along with my budding career.  Probably just as well, the printing industry is not a healthy enviro with all the solvents and heavy metals used in ink formulation.  Why I might be crazier than I presently am!

Next I had a short stint at sign making.  I thoroughly loved this job, but my employer thought paying me for my services was a tad superfluous, and on my third bounced cheque, I bid him adieu.

Then it was off to DuPont.  I worked a couple of years in the textile industry, and then eighteen as a lab analyst, analyzing a broad variety of chemicals and process streams.  In the midst of this, our company was purchased by Invista (I'm wondering how long before their websearcher locates me and asks why I am taking their name in vain).  Unfortunately the recession of 2008 hit us hard, and our plant was eventually downsized, well maybe decimated would be a more appropriate term, as was my long term career.  Four years short of early retirement, I'm out on my ear.  While I play by ear, working by ear isn't so fun.

We had endured a five month long strike in 2005.  At that point I decided to go back to teacher's college, because I did not know if we would ever be called back to work.  Three months into my first semester, we did settle and go back to work.  Fortunately I was able to juggle shifts with accommodating folks (I worked everyone's weekends and went to school during the week).  So I kept my job, and finished my teaching degree -- not something I would recommend for the faint of heart.

But on December 31st, 2010, I found myself once again unemployed - well not entirely, fortunately I had got myself on the teaching supply list while still at Invista (I supplied a day or two a week, between shifts).  Supply teaching has been my income for the past year and a half.

Oh yes and as well over the past thirty years, I've raised beef cattle (not so lucrative a proposition), run a market garden (hard, hard work, and Mrs Consumer would far rather pay less for imported goods of questionable quality and origin), run a small greenhouse endeavour, and done some landscaping on the side.

Is supply teaching what I want to do for the next fifteen years?  Well..... teaching is not what I envisioned it to be.  I loved school when I went, but I'm a bit afraid that I viewed education through myopic, rose-coloured glasses.  I also think that the young population has a whole, has become exponentially ruder in the past couple of decades.  Unfortunately teaching has become a lot more about classroom management and passing everyone, and a whole lot less about giving and receiving an actual education.

So when I grow up what might my ideal job be?  I particularly enjoy horticulture, but the big box stores have taken any profit out of that business for the local entrepreneur, unless you have something truly unique to offer.  I don't want to work in a garden center - that just looks mundane - watering and deadheading.  I think I'd like to be on the cutting edge of plant breeding - you know developing the orange petunia, or the red iris, or sky blue petunias.

I'd like to be doing something creative - artistically - landscaping is nice, but rather backbreaking at 49 and three quarters, and it only lasts for a few busy months in the spring and summer. 

Hmmm......perhaps hand painting signs -- oh wait that went out with the dinosaurs, when computer graphics took over.

Writing music .... that would be fun, but how do you make a blessed nickel at that, since I can't even get anyone to ask me to accompany them for free any more - too old, too grey, too play-by-ear.

Write a children's book -- if I could come up with a unique idea, I'd dive headlong into this overcrowded field.  Then the trick is convincing a publishing company that you have a unique idea.  Connections would be nice.

I'd like to be an interpreter in a historical village.  Yes I think that would be fun.  I love history (have the history degree), love gardening, farming, research etc.  I'd be a my mind anyway.  Oh wait - tried that, can't even get an interview -- too old, too many young whipper snappers with way more impressive credentials.

So I guess for the time being, I'll be grateful I have the supply teaching to keep the wolf from the door.  And I'll continue to dream about what I might do.....eventually.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. They used to say that the average # of careers in one's lifetime averages 5, however, I think with the economic recession and the more globalization of the last 10 years, that number has to be higher. It is about re-inventing ourselves over and over. In some ways it is not such a bad thing as we are forced to constantly grow. It is never easy though.

  2. I never thought I'd be doing what I am now once I hit the music big time, but things change and you adapt. If I lose my current job, I'll be moving in with you. If you lose yours, welcome to sunny CA.


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