If you could go back in time and pick another career, what would you select? I started out thinking I wanted to be a journalist and ended up in law school. After awhile in law school, I couldn’t see myself being so contrary and adversarial all the time. Anyway, having my first son during law school, contributed to me abandoning the idea that I was going to be a lawyer and save the world, but I did finish up and received my J.D. degree.
But I have always gravitated towards jobs where I could try to save the world. I am happiest when I have a cause. For several years, I was a volunteer guardian ad litem for abused and neglected children facing a foster care review hearings. That experience opened my eyes to drugs, mental illness, poverty and real meanness and how screwed up parents begat screwed up children oftentimes. I also learned that being nice isn’t enough, especially when a child’s future is in your hands. And not to believe everything an expert tells you.
When I was an outreach/social worker with a senior center, I drove our elderly members to shop for groceries, held their hands as they heard bad news from doctors, checked on a parents for worried children to see if they were handling living alone okay, dogged “friends” of a widow who were bilking her out of every penny she had left, visited those who had no visitors, wrote checks for a woman who kept everything she ever had stacked in ceiling-high piles. I was a daughter to folks who needed one but didn’t have her, and I grew to love them. We moved out of state, and I eventually took a job with our county human services department until after 9/11 when I went back to school to study advertising, design and illustration.
It took me some time, trial and error I call it, to find what I love to do. Design and writing. It came a bit late, but it came nonetheless. If I could go back and start over as a young person just out of college, I would become a package designer. I know that sounds strange coming from a person who says she wants to save the world. I finally decided to just try to save myself.