Are you what you wanted to be when you grew up?

“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” — Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), Say Anything

But seriously, what do you want to be when you grow up – if you are not doing it already? And if you are what you want(ed) to be when you grew up, congrats. How did you do it? I still don’t know what I want to be or at least how to do it.

My last post got me thinking about this again. When I was boy I was heavily influenced by movies/TV, shock!, I know. I am still am. I wanted to be a truck driver because of B.J. and the Bear. Lead character McKay was from Milwaukee. Oh, I was on the right path, destiny?

Now the thought of me actually being a truck driver. Wait, just think about it for a second. If you know me, it’s at least mildly amusing. I don’t even like to “drive shifter cars. I drive luxury automobiles. Cars that shift themselves” (V. Gallo, Buffalo ’66)

But to his credit (?) Greg Evigan sang his own TV theme. As did Lee Majors in The Fall Guy, a seriously well written tune called The Unknown Stuntman. And yes, I really wanted to be a stuntman for a long time.

Did you listen to it? It’s a melancholy tune, just the classic lovable loser who doesn’t girl after doing all the work. My stuntman desire was augmented by my love for Raiders of the Lost Ark and a TV special called Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can watch all 6 parts on youtube, it’s a simple documentary for younger ones, but you watch it with them. Did you ever see this?

In modern cinema, many stuntmen have lost their jobs to CGI and the like. Many of the best stunts of the past wouldn’t be done the same way today. There was a much bigger element of danger when you drove a car off a bridge or fell into an airbag.

Somewhere in my Raiders of the Lost Ark love, I realized I didn’t really want to be a stuntman. I think I got my stunts kick out of the way with trying skydiving and bungee jumping. I really wanted to be Steven Spielberg, the director. Which is probably best that I realized early I wouldn’t be Harrison Ford. Which is not to say I totally gave up on acting because later I would want to be a comedian and trying acting. Robin Williams, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live were among the numerous influences. (I’ve talked more about comedy specifically and will again later.)

And the Spielberg dream still exists, though now I would cross it with Wes Anderson and Woody Allen and a few others. The list is long of other partial considerations or even attempts at dreams, goals, or careers.

writer (I worry this is too solitary of an existence for social me. I would need to collaborate in some way.)
comic book artist/comic book writer
record store owner (extinct)
video store owner (extinct)
advertising copy writer – actually went to college for this one before going to film school for a while. Worked in advertising for a while, but never as a writer.
radio DJ (dabbled)
record producer
band manager (still could)
greeting card writer (like 500 Days of Summer! but only because it came up on an career aptitude test)
bar owner (harsh hours)
restauranteur (harsh failure rate)

I did some of these, worked in some of these fields. And Lloyd Dobler, I did sell things for a while and really didn’t enjoy it either. But here I am now, a work-at-home Dad, which you can see wasn’t on any of the previous lists. That said, I did always want to be a husband and a father, so no complaints. It’s a full time job, the toughest job you’ll ever love. You’re so busy and then so tired by the time you have a moment to yourself (usually just when the kids are asleep). Lately just thinking about what comes next now that the boys are getting older and going to be at school for longer days which will provide a little more time, hopefully, to go after the passions.

My problem has been that the things I want to do, really have a passion for, just don’t seem to have an easy career path, especially in regards to supporting a family financially. I made a list for 2010 of possible “jobs” I like still am interested in pursuing. Replicated from the index card near my desk:

2010
FILM – direct, produce, act, write, curate, theater
WRITING – blog, book, film, mag, comic
COMEDY – live, perform, improv, stories, write
MUSIC/DJ – play on web, radio, manage bands
PLACE/VENUE – own bar/restaurant/theater for movies/host B&B, trivia, bands, games, art, sports, wine
B&B – get paid, franchise, web videos
TV SHOW – cable, local
EVENT PLANNER –
RADIO – host, podcasts
BIZ w/ MU friends (names held here for privacy)
TRAVEL –

Do I see patterns here? Anyone have any ideas how to help me achieve my goals, dreams, career? Those of you that have done it please share your tips and any advice you may have for the many of us who are still searching.

A few years ago Mama and I hosted an Idea Party based on Barbara Sher’s programs. After talking to a college friend recently, we thought maybe it’d be a good time to revisit the Idea Party. Let me know if you are interested in attending an Idea Party with us.

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8 Comments

Filed under Grown-ups, movies, Take a Chance, TV, writing

8 responses to “Are you what you wanted to be when you grew up?

  1. It’s difficult for a lot of people to come to grips with “what they want to be when they grow up”. I work in career development with people in creative fields that you’ve mentioned above, and one of the biggest things is that the way that those careers are developed are different than your standard business career. I wrote about it at http://resonare.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/career-as-a-bucket/ if you want to see a different take on it.

  2. I think a good litmus test is when someone asks you the usual question “So, what do you do?”
    And you cringe, or dread answering it then you need to make a change. I’m one of the more social people I know, yet I don’t like having to talk about “what I do” with new people.

  3. Dig

    You know, this nagging question never goes away. I think even when we become what we think we should be, we start wondering again. For me, life is a constant “what next.” I feel like I’m jumping through windows when I come to them. Sometimes the landing is good, sometimes not. But the flying sure is fun.

    As for you, I’ve got nothing concrete to offer about how to achieve your dreams. You have always been a performer and you still are, but enhanced and made stronger by your parenthood and marriage. It’s a really good fit.

    You’re on the right track for all those possibilites, El Jefe. Just keep your eyes open and keep sharing what you see.

  4. http://nyti.ms/9K3Emw

    “But men who are the primary caregivers — out of choice or because they’re unemployed — are often looked upon as losers.”

    Uh, thanks.

  5. Ron

    I would just like to add that if you’re a truck driver and your name is BJ, you probably shouldn’t be allowed to own a monkey.

    Meanwhile, still chasing not a childhood dream, but a dream born the night we watched “Heathers” during The Summer of 1000 Movies. That decision is currently a mistake. But it might not be tomorrow.

  6. How was tomorrow?

    The Summer of 1000 Movies is a whole blog post to be written, or maybe it’s a movie about two young men watching movies. Hey, let’s discuss this off-line.

  7. Pingback: What do you do? « Mustache Robots

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