Why Do You Do What You Do?
I can only remember 3 careers that I had in mind while I was growing up. When I was really little I wanted to be a bus driver. Then when I hit about twelve I decided that I wanted to be a marine biologist. That lasted for quite a while, but then when I was in about grade eleven all of my friends started talking about what they were going to do with their lives and what college or university they wanted to attend. One day I decided that it only made sense that I go to school for journalism.
I had always been word obsessed, I loved competing in spelling bees, I excelled in English and loved to read and write. It was funny that when the idea of being a journalist popped into my mind, it was like my thoughts became crystal clear and I thought "of course I should be a writer - there's nothing else I even want to do."
My mom nearly had a heart attack when I told her that I had decided to be a journalist. She kept telling me that they didn't make any money and that I was so smart, why didn't I go into something in the sciences or medical field? Try explaining to someone from an entire family of pharmacists, nurses, ultrasound techs and all things brainy and medical that you want to do something artsy. No one could grasp why I would want to do this to myself.
Thank god for my dad who finally decided that if I could deal with the fact that I would make crappy money, then I may as well do something I would be happy with. My dad had married into this medical family as an engineer for CN Railway so he knew what kind of reactions I was getting.
The summer I turned 18 I packed up my stuff and moved 18 hours away to a little city where I didn't know anyone and started going to college. I think that those few years were some of the best in my life and I learned a lot by being so far from home - good thing I'm not shy!
When I graduated I moved about 30 hours in the opposite direction to do my co-op placement as a reporter for a small weekly newspaper. It was awesome! I was terrified and excited the whole first month - but it was a fabulous job.
Eventually I lost my job there because they had some sort of rule about hiring people from out of province when there are people that have been born and raised there that need a job - that sucked.
Over the next 3 years I worked crappy retail jobs while trying to get another job in journalism. *Just a tip for anyone thinking of getting into the field...unless you have an "in" with someone or you have a horseshoe up your ass - you are not getting a job in this field. It is all about who you know, not what you know. And the writers stick around until they die at 87 years old and haven't wrote anything fresh or interesting since they were 50.*
Anyways, we moved to Manitoba in late 2001 and I got a job as a proofreader at a major auto magazine. I was also working 40 hours a week as a nanny for a family in the city to make ends meet. My hours at the auto magazine place ranged from 17 - 20 hours a week, and together with the nannying, sometimes my combined hours were 60 each week.
I worked like that for 3 years until I was so burnt out that I was starting to hate my life and my jobs. Oh yeah, and I was doing freelance writing for anyone that would give me a chance at the time.
Then one day about 7.5 months ago I saw this ad in the paper for an "editorial coordinator." I wasn't going to apply because I figured I wouldn't get it, but finally decided that I had nothing to lose but the 80 extra hours of work I was doing each month. So apply I did, and I was called for an interview the next week. Two hours after my interview they called to offer me the job, and two weeks later I started my current job.
I was an editorial coordinator for about 3 minutes before I was given the editor title. I was the junior editor for 3 months and then the senior editor quit and Ta Da! Ali was suddenly the only editor in sight. So far it has all been one huge blur, and I'm learning as I go, but I am far from being as good as I hope to be one day.
James was asking what magazine I work for - the truth is that I work for a publishing company, and we publish association magazines for people all over Canada and the U.S. I believe there are about 40 separate associations that we publish for. Some have 1 magazine a year, some 2, some 4, and some 12.
I am the editor for about 30 of those magazines - basically I am permanently busy.
But I love, love, love my job - the designers I work with are incredible, my boss is hilarious and it's a great place to work.
So now I'm curious, what do you all do? I know Reggie has something to do with investing, and Zig is a designer (he's one of the "incredible" ones at my work), Alyssa is a high school teacher (you are so brave to do that, I would be too chicken to hang out with high school kids), Logziella is a stay-at-home mom (which one day I hope to be) and I'm not sure about everyone else.
So what do you do and why do you do it? I would love to know more about all of you since I just bored you to tears with a 10 minute explanation of my career choice.