Here's the thing, I don't think I've ever had a job I really loved. I've had jobs I really enjoyed, and felt good about, but nothing I've ever been truly passionate about.
I can enjoy aspects of it, and I can make the best of whatever I am doing, but there's not a lot to love about being an admin pleb. I sort of fell into doing secretarial work after a checkered job history that involved retail and hospitality as a teenager, a stint in my 20's where I considered myself employed by the Government to party and get a bitchin' tan, then the agency I went to to help me find a job employed me as their receptionist, I moved up through the ranks into Accounts Clerk, PA, and then swapped over into consulting myself.
I worked as a Recruitment Consultant for about 3 years, for about 4 different companies (no, that's not unusual in recruitment). Then I got made redundant and as no-one was hiring in Recruitment, took a temp maternity leave contract that turned out to be last job I really enjoyed.
It was as State Sales Secretary for a pharmaceutical company. I worked for a great bunch of people who appreciated what I did for them, and gave me the autonomy to just get it done.
From there I worked as an Executive PA in a few different roles, and then I have been doing part-time admin since having my Gorgeous Gal. Recently, I have been doing full time temp work to help with our finances.
I have always regetting not going to University after I finished high school. At the time, I was so over schooling and desperate for 'freedom', plus I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I just binned the idea and moved in with my boyfriend (I know, I know, quit groaning...)
I have always felt less than adequate about that. I know I am intelligent, capable and hard-working, but really feel inferior when I am around people who are 'educated'. Even when it's apparent I'm probably just as smart as them.
So I have been thinking a lot lately about what I want to be when I grow up (no, you don't need to remind me how old I am). This has been a bit of a tricky subject for years, as there have been so many things that have interested me over time: law, journalism, psychology, policing, teaching, but have lost their sheen the more I thought about it: defending crimals, harassing people, being shot at, dealing with other people's bratty kids all day. Not sure which is worse out of those last two.
You know how often in life, the Universe will keep throwing things at you until you finally sit up and notice? I have been having that a lot lately, all around career fulfillment and seeking menaing by what I do.
It has lead me to a conclusion I didn't expect.
Given that's it probably to late to become an international secret agent, I have been spending the last few months thinking about what it is I really want from a job. I don't need a job to define me, and my family is still the most important thing to me by a mile, but I do feel like I need something more now. So here's what I've come up with, what really matters:
I want to feel like what I do makes a difference in the world. I want to make a meaningful contribution.
I want to work closely with people, and feel like I have helped them, not just with little things, but at important moments in their life.
I want what I do to give me flexibility to enjoy my family and my life.
I kind of want my job to be a 'real' job. This is a hard one to define, but a job that needs a qualification. One that as soon as you say what you do, people know what that is and that you went and got an education to do it.
Once I had defined these things in my head, the answer kept being shown to me, by the friends I kept thinking about, dreams, bumper stickers I would notice, t.v. shows, even the articles I would randomly flick to in magazines.
The more I think about it, the more passionate and excited I become.
I ran into a friend I haven't seen in ages yesterday, and she is now also studing nursing. We got talking and she was full of information. I had assumed that I would need to keep working admin roles until I could not only afford to take time off to study, but to afford the tuition. I have since learned that as early as your second semester, you can work in Assistant in Nursing roles, and that I might be eligible to have my fees fully deferred, like a student loan. That hadn't even occured to me.
So I am off to Griffith Uni's Open Day next Sunday, and ready to start changing my life! Maybe this will be the kick off we need to bring about positive change in the rest of our life, we seem to have been stuck in Groundhog Day lately.
And you know what else is funny? This fits in perfectly with another little dream I have. When GG is a teenager, I want to take her and go do a 'volunteering holiday'. This is where you travel to a developing part of the world, and volunteer your time and services; you might help build a school in Africa, work in a medical clinic in Peru or teach English in a Cambodian orphanage. Can you imagine how valuable it would feel to immunise babies in a village in a third world country?
So I have been doing a lot of research, and speaking to a lot of people, trying to find out as much as I can, and here's what I'd like. I know a few of my readers are or have been nurses, and I'd love to hear what you love and don't love about your job. Actually, whoever you are and whatever you do, I'd love to hear what you love or hate about it.