Sunday, April 27, 2014

"i could do anything": exercise 1

As I mentioned earlier last week, I'm in a tough position:  I took the wrong job and I'm miserable.  What I thought I wanted, isn't what I want.  And I'm not sure how to figure out what I want.  But I know it's not what I'm doing now.

Last week I started reading a book, I Could Do Anything, if Only I Knew What it Was.  I'm reading it in order to help me figure out what I want to do next in terms of my career.  It has lots of exercises that are supposed to help me figure it all out, so I've decided I'm going to share my experience here on my blog.

Chapter 1 is all about the messages we receive from other people during childhood and how they shape us.  Those messages tell us who we're supposed to be and that's how people sometimes end up picking jobs or careers that make them unhappy.  Often those messages contradict each other.  For example, your mom might tell you that you shouldn't draw attention to yourself, but then goes on to always tell you how talented a dancer you are and you should perform in the Rockettes.

Exercise 1 says to write down a list of people that lived in my house during my childhood, my family, friends, and other important people in my life, such as a teacher or coach or spouse.  Anyone who had any impact on my life.  I then have to write down the message or messages I got from each person.  So here goes:
  • Parents:  I'm smart so I should be a brain surgeon; mom didn't like to argue and wouldn't, she was very patient; dad had a short temper, he was fun to be with so I always wanted to be with him, he knew mom was in charge; very supportive, never told me how to live my life
  • Siblings:  liked to tell me I was adopted because I got good grades and was smart; didn't seem to want to spend much time with me, probably because of the age gap
  • Former teacher:  don't worry about what people say about you, she liked to say, "consider the source."
  • Husband:  very supportive, never tells me I can't do something, man of few words, wants me to make more money so he can retire and be a house husband (actually, I wouldn't mind that!)
  • Friends:  always tell me I'm the normal one of the level-headed one.  I'm expected to always know what to do.  That's a lot of pressure.
  • Old boyfriend:  I have a pretty face, but need to work on the rest of me.
So, what did I get out of this?  Everyone always told me how smart I was (am) so I always wanted to prove them right.  I strove for not just good grades, but straight As, honor society, and Dean's List.  That carried over into my job.  I had to make sure I not only kept up, but got ahead, climbed the ladder fast, and got the praise and recognition.

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