So, what do you want to be when you grow up? Recently, people have contacted me for advice about their careers; their educational degrees; their jobs; and, primarily, how to figure out what they want to do in life. Most of us have been there at some point; I think I’ve been there several times in my life, and I’m not done yet. I’ve had to choose paths numerous times. And, that’s fine with me. I’d rather choose my own path rather than letting a path choose me. But, you might ask, how do you know what path to choose? Hmmmmm. Yes, that’s a tricky one. I’ve always tried to choose a path based on my passion, my happiness, what I really, really like to do. And, what if that passion changes? It certainly can. What if we’re going down a path and we see a really interesting looking side path in the distance? Does it stir our passion, our hearts?
My own personal path-finding story: I earned my bachelors, masters degrees, certification in teaching ~ changing paths throughout the whole process. During this time, I taught music and performed, mostly singing/playing keyboards in bands and directing pit orchestras and vocals for area musical theatre productions. One day I thought: should I continue to teach music or should I be a performing musician? I decided to find out, and I took a leap of faith. I moved to New York City: (didn’t want to ask “What If?” years later)
I free-lanced as a musician: sang/played at clubs and in recording studios; arranged and accompanied singers’ acts; directed choirs and music for regional musical theatre productions; started my doctoral degree at NYU; studied jazz piano, etc. After 5 years of free-lancing, I was pretty poor and pretty hungry, literally. So, I interviewed and was hired as a K-12 music teacher at the Professional Children’s School: steady routine, steady pay and benefits. And, one day, as I was teaching, I realized that I was sort of performing, too. I discovered that I could satisfy my desire to perform: as a teacher and as the director of my students performing.
Upshot to my story: I’ve been teaching ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot from those years in NYC: piano playing styles and accompaniments, arranging, directing, etc. But, the most important thing I learned is that my passion is teaching. I took that interesting side path.
I don’t have to ask “What If?” Can’t figure out your passion? Need some educational or career advice? I’d be happy to discuss this with you.