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At least two or three times in as many months, we have been involved in really lively after-dinner conversations about what your career would be "if you could do it all over again."

What I have found is that most people would make a career out of their hobbies or passions...not particularly what education or family expectations dictated they do many years hence. It makes me think there are an awful lot of people out there who are either miserable in their chosen profession, or resigned to "their lot in life." Granted, marriage, children, mortgages, the current economic conditions, or just being accustomied to a certain standard of living has...I am sure...forced many of us to shelve dreams for the sake of family (which is the noble and responsible thing to do).

I count myself lucky that I really do enjoy what I do for a living. Obviously I like it better some days than others (nothing in life is perfect, you know), but I nonetheless find it challenging and profitable. It also helps that I got to the point in my life that I can work for myself and pick-and-choose the people and companies I counsel. However, if I could re-boot my career...I'd be a landscape architect. Too bad I'm so pathetic at geometry!

So...what would you do it you could do it all over again?
 

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Even if I could go back and do it over I doubt that I would change anything in the way of my career choice. I limited my career advancement quite a bit by not being as mobile as my government agency required for advancement; however, that was a trade-off for living where I wanted to live rather than where they would have sent me. Sometimes I think that maybe I would do that differently if I had a do over, but in retrospect I really don't think I would.

My significant changes would have been in my personal life and relationships. I made a lot of dumb decisions along the way in that area. Of course for all I know any decisions that I might have made differently could have been just as dumb. Even so, I would like to see.

Cruiser
 

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I'm in a career(CPA) which I never would have imagined when I was in school and for which I am tempermentally unsuited, but I wouldn't change a thing. It allows me to work in a small firm or be self employed, my office is less than a mile from my home and I have time for recreation in the summer. It's allowed me to spend time with my family as the kids grew up, just not from January to May.

Like anything else, your career is what you make of it.
 

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I'm one of those freaks you see marveled over on prime time TV news shows--the person that drops the $200,000+/yr job and career to follow his own fun hobby.

So, I'm doing it "right".

The necessity to do so comes from my near inability to subjugate my heart for greed or fear. In my last years in my career I began drinking a fifth every two days, which resulted in a torturous kidney stone passing through, thus I had a daily reminder to make me rethink my life. The moment I left the career I stopped drinking, lost 70 lbs. in about 3 months, and all pains and discomfort left me--my health turned around 180º.

People from my past career that talk to me every so often have a deep envy, but can't follow because they are strapped to irrational phobias of failure or debt, and don't want to let go of a lifestyle that is fairly easy but negates their potential. I live "poor", but I'm doing what plenty wish they could do. In a couple years I should have my new career(hobby) being forged into earnings.

And if I don't make it work, I can fold back into the work force without a hassle.

I feel a little like that couple in "The Good Life", except without the muck and destitute moments.
 

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I would NOT have become a lawyer. Basically, all the lawyers I know including myself are unhappy and constantly stressed. (The ones who aren't are the ones you don't want to spend any time around.)

We stress about the risks of the cases we handle, we stress about doing a good job for clients, we stress that if things don't come out the right way, the client will then sue you claiming you screwed up. We stress about whether clients will pay the bills, because there is no way we can force them if they don't (malpractice insurers don't like you filing collection suits for fees, because then the client usually sues you for malpractice in response). We stress about whether we will bring in enough money each month to keep the doors open. We stress because we have to pay everyone else's salaries and all the expenses before we can take a dollar home at the end of the month.

They don't teach you in law school that what happens is that your clients make their problems your problems. They go home and sleep at night because "it's in the hands of the lawyers." But you don't sleep at night.

If I had to do it again, I would have become an archaeologist, which was my interest in college. But I thought I could never make a living at it, and I didn't want to go through 5-6 years of abject poverty while getting a Ph.D. and being a personal slave to some professor who had his grad students do all the work for no pay and then took all the glory.
 

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There were a number of years in my teens that I was absolutely certain I would become a designer of women's clothing. It was in pursuit of that goal that I learned to draw, which led me to sequential art, which led me to writing commercials, which led me to writing for television.

So thanks for my television career, Edith Head.
 

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If I could do it over again,I would've went to college to take up a course in something that I'd really enjoy,take up to 4 years instead of attending vocational schools for 15 years which I used to and now I'm glad I'm oficially done with programs for good.Get a good job and make a good salary with good benefits instead of help from a job coach.
 

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Very thought provoking. I know I would do it over if I could, but I have a feeling I may have wound up in the very same position I am in now in the end.

I have lots of resentment in my life. As a youngster I aced every test I ever took, including IQ, school placement tests, scholarship exams, ecetera. When I reached the sixth grade, my parents moved me to a Catholic School, where I quickly learned to resent my faith and refuse to work because of the harshness and mean spirited treatment i received from 8-3 daily. At the same time, both of my parents received big promotions so they were around less and less. I had no one to show me why you needed to do well in school and work hard. I became the problem child. Absentee parents who tried to buy my love with gifts rather than their attention. By the time I graduated high school I was exactly what I always dreaded...average (my place in a class of 510 was 255) it said it on my graduation report card. Needless to say, that left me with few options when it came time for college, in fact, so absentee were my parents that they never even took me to visit one school and all of my applications were done on my own (all one to my local CC).

There I continued on my path towards mediocrity by sleeping late, missing glass, getting stoned, and hanging out with my gf at the time. After a full year, and 3 credits to my name, I called it a day and worked full time at Blockbuster Video. That experience was enough to make me realize that that was not a life I wanted to lead. I re-registered, with the help of some good friends, and got my act together. My first semester back my GPA was around a 3.75 (I think I got an A- or B+ in my Psychology course) and transfered to a "real" University where I dormed away from my parents.

I started out as a Print Journalism major for my first two years before realizing that making a life out of a starting salary for a journalist would be difficult. I also realized, that while I liked to write, reporting about budgets and school boards was not what I envisioned myself doing. I then switched majors to the more lucrative (tongue in cheek font) History. There I envisioned myself continuing on, getting my PhD and becoming a college professor like my mentor, an Oxford/Cambridge/Harvard grad named Simon Doubleday. I wanted to make history come alive to people who actually cared, people who were interested. But once I graduated with my degree, and a minor in Print Journalism, I was faced with daunting student loans and put graduate school on the backburner so I could actually start earning, and paying them down. Once I did that, my parents stepped to the plate and took care of said loans for me but by then I was entrenched in the school that I currently teach in. I was making a decent salary, enough to be able to afford my own place, a car, and a new girlfriend (my future wife at the time). I wound up sticking with the teaching gig, getting my masters degree in SS Education and here I am now.

The kicker of it all is that what I'd really love to do is write. In my last semester at Hofstra, I had to take some bs credits, and I figured I'd take a creative writing course, which I fell in love with. I wound up getting a few short stories published in a local college magazine (one crime story, one college drama) and ever since dreamed about being a successful author. If you could imagine, changing my major and staying in undergrad for another four years was not an option, but ever since I've been writing in journals, dreaming of penning a family history book, and hoping I win the lottery so I can quit my job, tackle my financial responsibilities, and writing my stories.

I do have a feeling though, that the solitary life of an author would drive me half crazy, and II would somehow wind up getting involved with helping children find a paasion for learning that I never had until it was too late. I'd loved to have had options out there that would have enabled me to change occupations to do "what I really wanted" since I've had made enough initially, but alas, twas not my destiny. I'll continue to struggle financially, but will always be thankful for enjoying what I do, and being a successful parent...the latter of which was taught to me by my parents' lack of involvement in my life.

I hope this doesn't come across as a woe is me tale, because eventhough I with my folks did a better job, I know now how to raise my child, and despite getting little of what I needed as a young man, I wound up being ablle to love what I do, own my own place, have a loving wife, and a beautiful daughter, with one more boob on the way!
 

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I am a slow learner and consequently, if I could do it all over again, suspect I would follow much the same path's in life. Although, the second time around, I do wish my accomplishments would be of somewhat more lasting significance. Looking back at careers in the military and in civilian law enforcement, it seems, while I was fairly successful in getting promoted in both roles, the accomplishments I was most recognized for at the time seem to have had no lasting significance. As a young man right out of college, I really wanted to make a difference and it seems I've failed. But then, there are our kids...they are grown, educated work hard, pay their bills, etc...and then there are the grand kids! Perhaps, I've found my lasting significance? Indeed, I am sure, I would do it all over again! Life is good. ;)
 

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Being in vocational programs helped me get back into the work field but If I could've done it over again I wouldn't have needed a job coach to help me,things are better without any help but in my case,I needed it.
 

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During high school and college, I was very involved with showing horses. If I could do it all over again, I would have become a horse trainer as I wanted to instead of attending college as my parents required. Unfortunately, I ended up in the banking profession and it is not exactly a desirable place to be at the current time.Plus, I never really enjoyed it anyway.
 

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I do wish my accomplishments would be of somewhat more lasting significance.
I think that this is something that almost all of us have to deal with. How often do we see people who we tend to think of as indispensable in some way, and yet when they move on the void they leave gets filled almost immediately. In a short period of time it's like they were never there to begin with. When I retired I stayed away from my old office just so I wouldn't have to see how little they missed me. :icon_smile:

I guess unless we are lucky enough to discover a disease ( or unlucky enough to have the disease) that gets named after us, or invent something that is named after us, or perhaps have a street or building named after us we will tend to look back and feel the same way that you feel.

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significance

I am a slow learner and consequently, if I could do it all over again, suspect I would follow much the same path's in life. Although, the second time around, I do wish my accomplishments would be of somewhat more lasting significance. Looking back at careers in the military and in civilian law enforcement, it seems, while I was fairly successful in getting promoted in both roles, the accomplishments I was most recognized for at the time seem to have had no lasting significance. As a young man right out of college, I really wanted to make a difference and it seems I've failed. But then, there are our kids...they are grown, educated work hard, pay their bills, etc...and then there are the grand kids! Perhaps, I've found my lasting significance? Indeed, I am sure, I would do it all over again! Life is good. ;)
My history mirrors your's. If you were there for your family, raised good kids, and are there for them now... you have accomplished that which is most significant. All the rest is insignficant. I suspect you are a gentleman besides.
 

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significant

I think that this is something that almost all of us have to deal with. How often do we see people who we tend to think of as indispensable in some way, and yet when they move on the void they leave gets filled almost immediately. In a short period of time it's like they were never there to begin with. When I retired I stayed away from my old office just so I wouldn't have to see how little they missed me. :icon_smile:

I guess unless we are lucky enough to discover a disease ( or unlucky enough to have the disease) that gets named after us, or invent something that is named after us, or perhaps have a street or building named after us we will tend to look back and feel the same way that you feel.

Cruiser
I am still in the game, but I have had similar thoughts regarding my eventual retirement. My question is when I retire, what is going to get me up in the morning and out the door wearing and caring about styled garments?
 

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I wonder what would have happened if I'd insisted on going to Princeton with all my friends from high school in Philadelphia.

As it was, I took the offer of more than a full year of advanced placement credit to attend the University of Georgia.

Just recently, I was told by my mother that I disappointed her by going to school "so far away." It's a ninety minute drive from Athens to her house.
 

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I wouldn't change a thing. Not a thing. I've been through a lot of good times and bad times. Enjoyed as much as I could. Learned as much as I could. There's always a new Tomorrow, waiting to be unwrapped. Success is a journey, not a destination.

I know that the best is yet to come.

JM
 

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I am lucky in that my career is one hobby I love, but I also donate a large majority of my time to a non-profit related to my other hobby. I wouldn't have it any other way.

One thing to keep in mind: If you're going to drop it all to make your hobby your job, think about what happens when what you want to do becomes what you have to do. Often times it's not as fun after that.
 
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