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Saturday, November 5, 2011

White Picket Fence

When I was a small, I dreamt big. I wanted to be a veterinarian. Every animal that crossed my path, I wanted to care for. I was utterly consumed with them. With two dogs and some fish, I suppose I still am. Then I grew up a little bit. I wasn't opposed to veterinary school, but I thought archeology and paleontology would better suit my fancy. Who wouldn't want to dig around in some dusty desert far away with other weirdoes equally as obsessed with bones and dinosaurs and all things past? Picture it. Just me and my family and our little satchel of hand picks and whisk brooms burying ourselves in this enormous time capsule we call the earth. Heaven.

Later yet, I wanted to be an artist. I knew that becoming an earth digger was far fetched, so I considered art. I was great at art. Haven't tested my skills recently, but I could do a thing or two with a brush and some water colors. I thought maybe I could incorporate a bit of writing in-between my painting, but someone shouted, "starving artist!" Not awesome. So, art it wasn't and my writing has since become a hobby.

Low and behold I did not attend college. I moved out of my parent's home as soon as I could and, given that move, could not afford college. I had to work. I held a job at the drugstore I worked at throughout my high school career, but I soon learned my paychecks from them were't going to cut it. The fun (not), monotonous task of job hunting began. I found a job at a local insurance agency. I was proud. I was a real adult now. Playing in the big leagues. Leaping feet first into Corporate America. Becoming a productive member of society. Blah.

Making a whopping nine bucks an hour, I earned my insurance license and put it to use. My job was to service existing customers. I answered questions they had on their policies, took applications for auto and home coverage, and took premium payments. I also cold-called. I was a sales driver. I was a phone nazi. People hated me. I hated me. I needed a change.

So what did I do? I applied at another insurance company. You bet. Couldn't leave it behind I guess. At this new, much better company where the grass was lush and vibrant green, I worked as a customer service representative. I spent my days plugging away on a computer and servicing customers with this or that. I was satisfied. I wouldn't say I was living the dream. That would be a stretch, but I was content. I was able to do my work and leave it right where it belonged. At work. Plus I got the bonus of working for a company that appreciated me. The pay was better. They offered an atmosphere conducive to growth and development. They had the best interest of their employees in mind. Sure, the ladies had to wear pantyhose, but outside of that, it was wonderful.

Of course, like most Corporate Americans, I wanted to to spread my wings. Since I was in a company that would allow me to do so, I thought sales and marketing perhaps. A move like that might give me an opportunity to use my writing. I could be creative. I applied for a position as a sales assistant figuring it would get my foot in the door. And I was in. The job was different and I liked it well enough. There was reporting and phone work. There was the occasional trip across the country to assist at trade shows. There was networking. There wasn't any writing and there wasn't any creative, but I was certain that piece would come in time. I couldn't expect it all right away, right? I was, after all, an uneducated sales assistant.

I've been swimming in my sea of beige for a few years now. I've been going to college and have moved up a notch. I say a notch because my current position entails a plethora of sales calls to our customers to introduce them to new products. I don't yet consider that a leap. In many ways I feel like the phone nazi I was about nine years ago. I hold out hope because I know it's a job I can do and do well and because I am told the position will evolve. There will be relationship building opportunities and networking and creative opportunities and yada yada yada. I suppose I can wait for that. I will. I will put on my business attire complete with high heels, apologize to my bunions, and wait.

It's funny, isn't it, how our dreams as children warp into the realities of adulthood. Most of us do what it takes to get by, putting forth our best effort to support our families or pay for the roof over our heads or buy the things we want or all of the above. Some of us get lucky with careers that have snuggled in bed with our dreams. Someday that will be me. I will be sitting back, sipping hot, naked-black coffee while the words pour out of my head and through my finger tips. I will have time to break out a canvas and paint my children as they frolic through life. Ahhh, yes. My dream world gone career. That would be my white picket fence.

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