Sunday, November 20, 2011


What did you want to be when you grew up? I mean apart from being allowed to stay up past 7:30pm and be tall enough to reach the biscuit jar at the back of the pantry (my personal goals at 8). I mean, what did you want to do? Day in day out. As your day job? Are you doing it right now?

I think I fluctuated a lot, but for the most part of my childhood, I wanted to be a detective. I am naturally inquisitive and love to know the ins and outs of any situation. For instance, I can't tell you how insane it makes me when my husband has spoken to a mutual friend and I’ll ask how they've been. “Yeah good” will be his standard response. Then I have to basically extract the rest of the information from him in such a way that pulling teeth would be both a) less painful and b) quicker.  

I digress. I wanted to be a detective. Apparently, well this is what my father used to tell me (and I think it might be half bullshit), that one grandfather was a police detective and the other, a journalist. As I am adopted I seriously don’t know how much information he was privy to but I can’t really see a reason for him to make this up.  Except for you know, him basically being a little out of his mind for a great deal of the time.

But it all fits.  I’ve always been writing, although I guess I postponed it for a long time.  When I met Phil I was attending classes at night studying Creative Writing but then my own life got far too creative and I lost interest. Before I knew it, I turned around and realised 16 years had passed and I was not doing what I loved. Sure I was working with some fantastic people, but my life was passing me by and I was still where I was when I left school. A little lost.

And this is how it happened. Essentially. I left school, went to Byron Bay for schoolies, spent all of my money and returned home with a part time job at Maccas and zero prospects. I wanted to go uni and study Journalism. It was immediately ruled out by my mother. Back then I didn’t know about HECS, she didn't either, I guess and although I did really well at school, it was never addressed. I had no real options other than to get a day job. So, I sat down and applied for all the jobs from the previous weekend's paper I had retrieved from the bin. 

I kind of fell into accounting with my first ever boss basically telling me she gave me the job because I was clearly on my way to the beach straight after my interview.  She liked that I had other interests. She also liked that I really needed a job. Because they were the stayers. And I stayed. And I got married. And I changed jobs a few times. And I had babies. And then, about 16 years later it was almost like I woke up and wondered where the hell I’d been.

That’s when I started this blog. And started to write something on the side. And now we’ve moved  to a completely different State and just quietly, that has been incredibly bloody hard. For numerous and varied reasons, but a very big positive is that I have gotten a job where I am doing something COMPLETELY different to what I have been doing for the last 16 years. Sure it's a bit of a paycut and involves writing stuff to entice people to buy bras and weekends away, but it’s creative. And it’s a start. And it’s all I can really hope for at this stage in my life. I can’t change careers and hope to survive financially. Slow and Steady and all that. But one day, and this might be a total pipe dream, I want to sustain my living from writing and be involved in Social Media.  

Because it seems to be what I do not only naturally, but also instinctively love. I know, half of you are rolling your eyes; the other half didn’t make it this far into my post. That's Okay. All I know is that I am not where I want to be yet. Perhaps I want or expect too much. Perhaps this is as good as it gets. Impossible to know, but I do know that I have to give it all red hot go. Or I’ll be forever left wondering. 

What about you? Are you doing today what you always wanted?  What you fell into? What you were expected to do?  Have you changed career midway through your already established life? 


Bert Maverick said...

Similar to you Bern...although you at least identified what it was you wanted to do early, even if you didn't do it. I have never known and I still don't. But I love writing too and it seems that other people like to read what I write so I'm exploring it. I'm exploring comedy and radio too, with a couple of things on the go in both those fields. Age has only taught me one thing - no-one else will make things happen for you, you've got to make them happen for yourself. And you're already doing it, so good work!

Mum on the Run said...

No, you do not want or expect too much.
There was no eye rolling here.
It's fantastic that you are being paid (even if not as much as you're worth) to write.
Maybe this will be a springboard to the next thing?

I have always, always wanted to be a teacher.
I am a teacher.
When my cousins got sick of me making them sit and listen and swinging a ruler around - I hauled the dogs into my class.
I'm institutionalised.
School to uni and back to school - with a little travel inbetween.

One day (you know, when I grow up) I wanna be an editor or a speech pathologist or a child psych or...

Twitchy said...

When I was 8, no question about it, I was to be the next Enid Blyton. I devoured her books, was given a typewriter and I banged away at that thing for ages. I don't have a single story kept from then.

After school I fell into advertising, worked my way up from the bottom-most rung into various roles within the company with high profile people. After having a family I've been mainly at home, with one disastrous attempt at returning to Adland. It's probably not for me any more!

Soon as my youngest starts school, I'll be giving a lot more thought to what I want to be when I grow up. I so admire and commend your can-do attitude, Bern. I believe you will achieve anything you set out to do. X

Ms Styling You said...

Go Bern! Biggest cheerleader here. Everyone thought I was crazy to leave journalism after 20 years. I'm so glad I had the balls to do it. It's never too late to change career paths. Never. X

Diminishing Lucy said...

Bern - evidently I got to the end.

I am so glad you have switched trades. With your bean counting experience, it must have been tempting to fall into a simalar job.

To move jobs/carers/home/state in one hit? That is immense. Huge.

(I wanted to work in restuarants. I did. And I loved it. Then I didn't love it anymore and I moved to Australia. I wanted to work in a nice clean office. So I did, and I loved it. And then I didn't love it anymore. And then I had babies, which I loved. Then I got bored. And now I write. And study. And fret about my "next career"...)


Smudgeblurr said...

Hey Bern, love that moving has given you this opportunity! no eye rolling here either we all deserve to be happy and that is what you ate.chasing so I also don't think u r expectingtoo much! I have come full circle after starting teaching at 17 and then being distracted by expo 88 I came back to it 21 years later and love it! :) in between I have been an office worker, travel agent, worked in radio and newspapers which have all helped me become a well rounded teacher :)

bailey j said...

its so interesting to read this as someone who is 20, havn't attended college for lack of having a fucking clue what i want to do besides write and party and wondering if i will look back and think "what the fuck, bailey?". some days i think i should chase my writing dreams, others i think i should fulfill my destiny of being a cashier for life. we shall see! life can be crazy. loved this post - and i even read it all ;)

Terry said...

I never knew what I wanted to do, i just knew i wanted to leave school. Mum said if i can get an apprenticeship i could. I got a job as a Fitter and Machinist. I had no idea what that was but within 6 months i told my mum, i was not going to do this for the rest of my life. I have changed careers twice since then but always in the "Engineering" fold, nice and safe. I have had some intersting experiences, travelled around the country and internationally but i still dont "love" what I do. At 48 i need something more fulfilling now and am thinking in teh charity side of life is where i will end up. Just gott find the balls :)

Good luck Bern, i have no doubt you will be successful at whatever you do.

Photographer Mum said...

I am now starting to do what I wanted to do 10 years ago. I wanted to study photography but didn't get into any of the courses I applied for so I went for my second choice which was jewellery making and design. I thoroughly enjoyed my course but it wasn't what I really wanted to be doing and I have never continued doing it. I had a few jobs in a totally different field again and finally landed one as a preschool photographer. 2 weeks in and I found out I was pregnant which kinda put things on hold. Only 2 months ago (with 3 kids aged 5, 3 & 2) I finally enrolled myself into a photography course that I have wanted to do for ages. I am happy to say that I am doing what I love and am very much looking forward to doing it on a more regular basis when the kids are older.

Anonymous said...

Hey, beautiful Bern, I'm so glad that you write. Perhaps you weren't meant to start until now. You have been busy your whole life gathering the seeds of your literary future.

What do I do? I'm just a greedy, hungry reader. Always, always wanted to write, too, but I'm flat-out writing a shopping list these days.

Working as a humble library assistant, at least, exposes me to a constant supply of books. I can't wait until I'm covering, lending, shelving and READING those by Morley, B.

Love you Bern

Zoe xxx

Kylie L said...

Don't die wondering. It's always been my mantra, and it pushed me through my own mid-life career change from pyschologist to novelist. Or career addition, really, because I still work a bit as a psych because it's damn hard to make a real living as a novelist... and maybe that path will work for you too. A little bit of this, a little bit of that- I ADORE writing but I also value the security of a regular paycheque even if it is tiny (thank you, public hospital system). I also find that writing fiction three days a week is as much as I can manage mentally, and I enjoy then switching to my other job and using other parts of my brain. Whatever works- as long as it works for you. Good luck. Keep the dream. xxxx

bigwords is... said...

You can do anything you set your mind to. Keep growing, keep changing, keep being true to yourself and your dreams. Do what you love x

Jen M said...

Bern you are Brave & Brilliant! Jx

Jen M said...

Bern you are Brave & Brilliant! Jx

Carly Findlay said...

I have been meaning to comment on this post. I am doing what I love, now. It's taken a while, but I have a great job, and a great lot of things I do outside of my job too. I'm happy this way.
I am glad you took the gamble to do what you enjoy too :)

Miss Manda said...

Hi Bern,

I remember reading your blog as I quit my job (ironically) as an online writer.

I've been doing that for 11 years and have put my dream of writing children's books and a novel on the backburner.

I think after spending so much time writing for other people in a way other people want me to write - I'd forgotten what writing and 'dreams' really meant to me. I've been lost, depressed (actually - flustered, frustrated and never satisfied with what I was going) and just wondering when it would all cave down on me.

But it won't. Not now.

So off I go to the great unknown, the potential reliance on the Dole as I embark on my creative journey. I'm not expecting to be the next J.K. Rowling but hey - you never know if you never go, right?