As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid all I ever wanted to be was a singer. I loved to sing! I would spend hours in my bedroom singing with my stereo. I loved trying to mimic Whitney Houston. I knew my family could hear me, but having the door closed made me feel safe. I didn’t like to sing in front of people. I could sing with the stereo in the living room or in the car as long as it was loud enough that people couldn’t hear me. Also, my cousins and I would put on shows for our family at summer picnics. We would get all dressed up in costumes and have microphones and our little stereo. When it came to show time we would usually get scared and skip it.

In elementary school I would sing in the chorus because I had to, but when it came time to make a choice I would choose band over chorus. I was too afraid to join chorus for fear that I would be chosen for a solo or something. There was no way I could stand in front of a crowd and sing by myself. I always wished that I could, but I still haven’t done it. I hated being in band and didn’t enjoy playing the flute. I think it’s because singing makes me happy and I just couldn’t do it. In college I decided I would face my fears and join chorus. I took private voice lessons too. It was difficult for me to sing in front of my teacher, but I did it. Luckily I never had to sing a solo in chorus, but I’m so glad I pushed myself to pursue something I loved.

Obviously I knew I could never make a career out of it, but singing always makes me happy. To this day I enjoy belting out toons when no one is home and I regularly sing in the car and with my kids. I still have a vision in my head of me singing in a bar somewhere while playing the piano, but I doubt that will happen. One of my kids likes to sing and takes a theater class. She says that someday we will sing together onstage. Who knows! Maybe she’ll be the one that helps me get over my fear and pursue my dream of singing.

So what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you make it happen? If not, then what changed your mind?
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Did your bad job launch or stunt your career?

Here’s a topic almost all of us can relate to: bad jobs. Most of us at some point in our lives have had a bad job or two or three. Looking back on them we can laugh (usually) and figure out how it made us stronger in some strange way. Let me share with you some of my gems and how they helped me.

Picture this, I’m a naïve college student who wants a summer job in the legal field. This internship entails a lot of administrative work: filing, answering phones, reviewing cases, etc. The exciting part of the job was when my boss would take me to the county jail and hearings in court. However, this was also the downside of things.

So here I am 19 years old and heading to the local lock up. I would’ve gotten off easy with just catcalls. I’ll let your imagination wander here for a second. My first solo interview in the jail was with a middle aged man who was accused of raping a young woman. Awkward! Despite my fears, the conversation went really well.

The craziest part of this job was the sexual harassment claim that I should’ve filed against one of the attorneys in the office. He would call me daily on one of the four phone lines that I answered and proposition me. That was the easiest part to handle. He brought his “A” game when he saw me in person. One time I was filing in a lower file cabinet and I was on my knees. He told me what I could do while I was down there.

After my legal experiences I decided against law school. No the internship didn’t turn me off; the work did. This decision saved me from spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a career I didn’t want. But it did help me become a stronger person; one who can stand up to “bad guys” in jail and to a disgusting attorney who preys on young women.

So I dabbled with a few things and spent a lot of my time as a nanny. This made the sexual harassment situation seem like a joke. Kids and their parents can be nightmares. Speaking of nightmares, there was this child that spent half of his time in the bathroom cleaning his genitals in the sink. At first I thought it was because this child was clean. My family and friends told me otherwise. Other kids tried to pull a fast one on me. They would try to sneak candy or go to friends’ houses without telling me. Classic kid stuff. The parents are worse than the kids though. My favorite story was this highly educated dad who constantly did stupid things with his babies. For instance, he put his 1 year olds to bed with their birthday balloons tied around their waists. He also let his infant son roll off his lap into a body of water. Who does that?

Dealing with difficult kids and adults has taught me how to have patience and handle challenging situations. I discovered that if I could love children that weren’t even mine, I would cherish my own children and make a pretty good mother. I’m also one hell of a multi-tasker!

I have to say, these are mostly good stories. But there were a few doozies. Like the dirty office I worked in with mostly men who had horrible bathroom hygiene. Seriously, how do you get feces on the back of the toilet? Or the fact that my second child puked on me multiple times a day for almost a year due to her acid reflux. But all of these wild, dirty and painstaking jobs got me to where I am today. I found my career path in human resources and motherhood. I’m a hardworking, detail oriented, organized and determined person. I have a wonderful husband and two amazing children that I spend most of my time with enjoying life. I take pride in all that I do and am quite a perfectionist. Now, my family would tell you this is also what’s so annoying about me, but it’s brought me great success in life.

How have your past job experiences shaped your career?