Detours, dead ends and alternate routes
In my previous column we got as far as the milestones of childhood.
For most of us, the career path of the rest of our life becomes clear: University? Trade Apprenticeship? Direct entry into the labour pool? Military service? For some, the road ahead lacks guiding signs.
So what comes next? If not a life-long career choice, perhaps an interim job that puts bread on the table and a roof over one’s head. An appealing detour in the road may present itself, It may come in the course of some recreational pursuit, or a chance meeting during travels: a hidden talent emerges, a winning lottery ticket; a passion becomes a lucrative endeavour…. Bingo!
I remember my first camera, a fixed-focus, fixed-aperture Kodak Duaflex IV with a reflex viewfinder; then a used 35 mm camera and eventually an SLR. My discovery of Kodachrome slide film was exciting. My passion for photography resulted in job advances and an eventual career change. I hope you too had a similar lucky development in your work life.
I once called American Airlines to book a flight from Tucson Arizona to LA. A sweet-voiced ticket agent asked, “Will your wife be travelling with you, sir?” I was all of seventeen at the time, but already passing as a mature man of the world, with the deep voice that went with it.
I was 19 years of age, with only 45 days of teacher training when I landed my first full-time steady job with a class of 40 grade six and seven boys. My first day on the job they stared at me, and I stared back at them. It was a roller coaster learning curve ride for all of us, and certainly a career defining development for me.
Getting my first car in 1961, a VW Beetle, not only became a possibility, it became a necessity. I no longer had to beg Dad for the Oldsmobile.
Another big move: leaving home. Life brought many more changes. A series of steady girlfriends eventually led to marriage, then three children. Through teaching and parenthood I soon learned that not only did I not know all the answers, I didn’t even know the questions.
One of the most exciting milestones in life is moving into one’s first home. That was particularly true for us: I’d designed our dream home and cleared the land. Luckily an architect friend corrected some of my mistakes.
Children came along, each unique. One by one, all three went off to school. One by one, through a variety of circumstances and events, they never came home again. A childless house is another waypoint, but the trip is not over yet.