Tuesday, May 12, 2009

When I Grow Up

I was thinking today how I don't fit in at work. I mean, I like the job I have now more than I like any office job I've had since I graduated college WAY back when. It is challenging and interesting and I'm not terrible at it. However, I do not fit in there. When I have to assign work to someone, I think about things like how much other work they have. How inconvenient it is for them to have to do work for my project when they already have actual work assignments of their own. I think about how ridiculous many of the projects are and how this is just asking them to add another 'high priority' task to their already completely overbooked workday.

After thinking about all that, I was thinking about what I really want to do when I grow up. When I was growing up.... before I invested my future life income into college.... I was going to take classes to become a florist. That is what I wanted to do more than anything else in the world. I had worked at a floral shop for about a year and I loved everything about it. I LOVE flowers. I loved how excited people were when they came in to order flowers for something fun like prom or Valentine's Day or a new baby. And, as much as I hated when people were ordering flowers for something sad like an illness or a funeral, I felt a little better knowing that the flowers were a symbol to someone else of how much the customer cared about them. I loved helping people choose flowers. I loved delivering flowers. I loved helping tape corsages or choose vases. It was great.

Then.... reality set in. I grew up in a family where my dad worked and my mom stayed at home. I remember how much my parents stressed about money. I know there were times my dad had to call the bank to work out how they could pay the mortgage. I know there were times we ate whatever was in the freezer even if it didn't make an actual meal because there wasn't money for fresh groceries. We never went without, but things were tight. A lot. Things got better as I got older. By the time I was 12 or 13 my dad had a better position at work and my parents seemed to not stress so much about money. But I remember what it was like.

Once I was old enough to get my own jobs, I did. My best friend and I got jobs together at 14 so our parents could take turns with rides. I loved having my own money and being able to spend it on the things I wanted. At first, almost every penny I earned went to buy books. (Yes, I know about the library, but I wanted to be able to put the book on the shelf in my room and re-read it whenever I wanted.) I always took advantage of an opportunity to get a job and earn my own money so I had my own money to buy what I wanted. Around the time I turned 18, I realized that florists make about $18,000 a year. Eighteen thousand dollars a year is not enough to not have to worry about money. Hence the four-year degree and the office job with a reasonable salary.

I have quite a few friends who are stay-at-home moms or work some kind of part-time job or do something where they can earn money while still being with their kids. I think this is ideal for many, many moms. This is not ideal for me. I completely hate the thought of not having my own money. I hate the thought that I would feel like I have to ask permission before spending money on something I want, because I didn't earn any of it myself. I know many couples work as a team on this, even if only one of them is bringing income into the household. They see the job of raising kids as just as valuable as working for an income and all the money the 'working' parent makes is 'their' money. I simply could not see it that way (the 'their' money part, not the value of raising kids part). Even if my husband could, I couldn't. I want -- no, I need -- to make my own money.

Why am I rambling about all this? Oh... right. In my ideal world, I will someday leave the corporate life behind and open a little flower shop in some totally awesome location and I will be a florist. When I grow up, I will have my student loans paid off. I will not have an auto loan and my mortgage payment will be a minor inconvenience. I will have a decent nest egg. And I will do something I want to do, regardless of how little money I make. Granted, if you own a successful flower shop you can make more money than just being employed as a florist, even if you aren't getting rich. I'm fine with that. I don't need a lot of money. I just need enough that I don't have to worry about it. That is why, someday, when I grow up, I will do what I want. And I will still make money, even if it's not a lot. And I will love it.


  1. I was actually sitting around today thinking about this same thing. When I grow up, I want to work in public service - but it's going to be a long time before I can do that.

  2. It is really difficult to be what you want to be when you grow up, when you have already grown up and gone down a different path!

    Let me know when you need to see some of my poli-sci research. :)