When I got engaged at age 20, I didn’t have much direction, career-wise. I’d held a few different jobs, but never put any thought into what I’d probably end up doing, long term. No one ever really asked me what I’d want to do. I wasn’t encouraged to go to college, or to figure out a general path, so it just didn’t occur to me that i should do those things. I did, however feel pretty certain that it would all work itself out, eventually.
The process started randomly. I’d recently quit my nanny job. Nanny-ing wasn’t for me. I couldn’t stand seeing people’s business all up close and personal like that. I was working for a very intense, proud family. They’d pulled themselves out of the trenches of South Philly, and both parents were earning a decent living in the suburbs. They freely informed their kids that they were in fact, rich, which in turn created kids who freely informed the whole world that they were rich.
The parents also each freely informed me about their dirty little secrets; the mom was having an affair, and the dad had a drinking problem. It was up to me to keep that a secret from both of them. I was in the process of planning my wedding, with the highest of hopes to live happily ever after, and that all became too much of a downer, so I quit.
I ended up getting hired as a bookkeeper at a fly fishing wholesaler. They sold things like feathers and pieces of fur to people who delighted in creating fake bugs stuck to a fish hook. Some of the furs were cured in-house, in the office next to my desk. The smell of ammonia and god knows what else was enough to make you cry. It was mostly redneck men who worked there. They actually gave me a nickname. Baby. My nickname, was Baby. Not like, Hey Baby, but like, Awww, wook at the wittle baby! It was gross.
I’d never really done books before, but the owner was certain it was easy, and I’d pick it up fast enough. It turns out it’s not all that easy, but she was so busy with her own 2 children (who came to work with her every day along with 3 dogs), that she didn’t really notice I was mucking it up a little.
As gross of a place as it was to work, I loved that job so much. It was cool, because I taught myself something. I actually liked bookkeeping. It all felt very organized and businessy. I felt a little important, for the first time in my working life. I started to think, maybe I should go to school for accounting.
As my future husband and I were in the process of putting our future apartment together, we found an ad in the paper for someone selling an old kitchen table. We went to her house to check it out. When I got there, I was pretty impressed with her lifestyle. She was a single mother with two kids. She owned a small accounting business, and ran it from the rec-room, which had it’s own entrance. She seemed to have it all, the kids, the nice house, the career, AND she was able to be at home with her kids. It was the perfect setup! It was confirmed, I was going to school for accounting, and I’d be a CPA who works from home.
I actually ended up going down a different path, and became a graphic designer instead of a CPA, but what matters, is that I eventually achieved my goal of being my own boss, working from home, and I do love (most things about) it. It’s pretty amazing how one little job at a dinky little place can completely change a person from someone who has no direction, and no inkling that they even needed direction, into a full fledged workaholic (and I do mean that in a good way) like me.
Sometimes all it takes to turn a person’s thoughts into a productive direction is a little trust. They need to trust that things will be OK for them in life, and another person needs to trust them to carry out a task, and believe that they’ll do a good job. A seed of trust helps us to figure out what our dream is, and give us the confidence to venture out into the wild world of commerce to fulfill it. It really is just that simple.