Jack of all trades
As I lay on the beach chair in the Bahamas taking in (or perhaps basking) the sun while the breeze provides a light refreshing break from the heat, I reflect on my career and where it has taken me. The abrupt reflection comes about after I read an introduction piece from author Micheal Connelly (reading his book “The Black Echo”) in which he states that he is often puzzled by our collective tendency to place “writing into categories”, especially when categorical designations aren’t always complimentary.
The extreme thinker and analyzer that I am, I take a brief look back, back to when I was in my teens – I so wanted to be an attorney. I would walk around my house and tell my dad that I was going to be the first Puerto Rican Supreme Court Justice – uhmmm, Sotomayor beat me to that (lol); nevertheless, being a mom early on took me down a different path! While I live my life with no regrets and no what if’s, I do think of my career path the past 18+ years.
I was able to finish a bachelors and complete my masters while raising two kids, taking care of a household and yes, working full time!
But it’s the word “career” I often dwell on, much like Connelly’s “categorical designation” – asking myself what that really means for me and whether I am going to let it define my life!
The past 18 years have been rewarding in so many ways. For one I realized that being an attorney is probably not up my alley (don’t know if working 70-80 hours per-week is something I am willing to do). While I have great respect for law and the legal process, being an attorney is just not for me. But I must admit that I have contemplated the thought of going to law school – just because!
What I have realized, nonetheless, is that I am driven by “empowerment”! Empowering others, advocating for others, youth, community service, (I believe in paying it forward) and most reflecting is that I am intellectually curious – curious about how things work (process/procedures) and how it all comes together; hence my love of learning and the institution we call higher education.
Looking back at my professional career and development, I now see how it is reflected in my choices of employment, my community service projects, my seats on boards, my fundraising and community events and even my Zumba(r) Fitness journey.
Is this a career? Is there a name for this career choice? I admit that I am everywhere, I’ve done a lot of different things, each can be a career in itself…I suppose I can call my career a “a life-long entrepreneur of sorts”…
I do know that this jack of all trades has its consequences… But why do we have to define our lives, our careers by just one thing? My career is not a teacher, a lawyer, a director of an organization, etc etc
Does it make me less than? Does it make me less accomplished? My friend once told me that “I am not defined by a title, a job or a career”, that we as women are experts in so many trades – why limit yourself? (Unless of course you love the one thing you do – then power to you!)
I suppose when you live in a society where title often means power, class and position – then perhaps having a career in a specific field and a great title to go with it is in fact important; especially for us women! Where we are often underpaid and still fighting for some of the equalities due to us!
I just feel that as women, we need to follow our hearts and do what feels right – whether you find joy in being a CEO, a volunteer, a teacher/professor, a fitness instructor, an administrative assistant, a wife/mother, etc – do it because you love it not because you seek to be defined by it…
Life really is to short – set goals and go for them – do what you really want to do!
If you know me, you’ve heard me say I want to move to Aruba and live on the beach… Far fetched? Uhmm…I don’t know… My career then will be “beach bum”…
For now, I’m the Jack of all trades – doing what I love for the love of community, people – for the love of me!!
Back to reading my book while perfecting the gorgeous glow in hues of golden brown …ahhh