Were you ever asked that question when you were little?
‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’
I was…all the time and I have feeling you probably were too.
I think it’s a common question we ask of children. I’ve asked that question of children I know and meet and to be honest one of the best responses I’ve received so far has been ‘I want to work in Waitrose’
That made me laugh a lot, and I happen to love Waitrose, but on another note I know that this question came to cause me upset and confusion. You see I thought I wanted to be a doctor for a long time, but as the years went on I realised that there were days I felt like I wanted to be a detective in the police force, other days I wanted to be an artist. On other days I wanted to be a singer and all of this was in between a desire I had to run a mass of businesses from my big office in beautiful building. I even drew a logo and made up hundreds of actual pay slips for ‘my staff’ in the process!
As I got older and went though my education, I remember a more serious feeling of urgency that I should choose something, and by age 14 the pressure was really on as I had to choose my GCSE’s. I chose badly.
I got good marks in history, but I chose geography on the basis that it might make me more employable as it was useful (?). I did choose art, but was told by my father that it was not a good option and that art should remain a hobby only. I should not think about doing anything arty for a ‘real’ job. And so it went on.
I blundered through my formative education with a mixture of confusing messages and a pressure to find something by the time I was 16, before I had to choose my A’Levels that would set me up for the work I would do for the rest of my life!
Well , this isn’t a rendition of the rest of my education and decision making ups and downs. Suffice to say I ended up being, well, Multi-passionate. As you know if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, I now work as a lecturer in University. I also run my own business, I still create art and so on the list goes.
So here’s the thing. I wonder what my life would have looked like if I was actually told by someone during my childhood, during those years of confusion and struggle, that I did not have to choose just one thing, that…
…being Multi-passionate was a valid career option.
– Being a visible woman-
I have the privilege of taking this message to young women across the Midlands and London over the next month as I have been asked to speak at the Visible Women Festival this year.
Visible Women is a fantastic event that has been organised to help…
…create a world where women and girls can find role models and mentors in the careers they are interested in working in and in turn be inspired to become leaders regardless of their gender and the stigma attached to male dominated industries.
Our mission is to raise aspirations; promote mentoring and champion role models by creating a network of aspiring, emerging and pioneering women and girls.
I find this message so inspiring and I’m so pleased not only to have been asked to speak, but most of all that I get to actually take this message to young women across the UK. Young women who are now, like I was at age 16, pondering my career options.
I think about the difference it would have made to me when I was younger. If I had been told that I didn’t have to choose one thing, that I might choose to do more than one thing at the same time, or that I may wish to try several things to figure what I wanted to do, that I may have more of a portfolio career in regards to a linear career in one setting…who knows what my life would look like now?
I don’t regret anything I’ve been though, in fact my experience makes me feel even more passionate about my message. I’ve been fortunate on the path I have taken and where it has led me. I also don’t think that a multi-passioante life and career is for everyone.
What I want is to have this path be an accepted, supported and a real and viable option for those that wish to do more than one thing.
For some people it may change their life.
Til next week.
Were you asked what you wanted to be when you were young but didn’t know what you wanted to do because you couldn’t choose?
What difference would it have made to you if you were told that being Multi-passnate was a viable career option?
I’d love to hear from you if you relate to this message and thank you for sharing.