Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Tasks in Life


I always find it interesting when I visit a University and see all these kids (comparatively speaking) who seem to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. I can’t imagine being in my mid 20s and knowing that I want make a life time commitment to be a physician, a lawyer or an engineer. Having attended a casual community and state college back in the 70s with barely any direction or focus on anything other than getting it over with, I was shocked to see the focus of my friends attending Brown and Columbia. These were not party schools. Students would be writing and doing research every possible moment. It would be a beautiful day on a weekend, and my friends were at their desks studying.

Because of my short attention span, I’ve always valued working more than “ass in seat education.” It was evident when I constantly changed majors. I’ve had some very interesting jobs. I started working on a farm as a summer job when I was in the 8th grade. From there I worked after school jobs on a switchboard, and in a library. I worked as a night watchman and as a programmer at a radio station while I was going to college. I also installed underground sprinkler systems and garage doors on weekends. I had a stint one summer as a fishing guide in the Adirondacks. I played bass guitar in group that did bar gigs. I was a photographer. I worked as a machienest (only for one day). Then I worked in bio research where we were doing experiments turning human umbilical cords into bio grafts. Then I spent a few years working for the Post office, and got out before killing any one. I’ve worked in a bakery, and in a medical office doing insurance billing. I’ve done computer repair and consulting.

I now do agricultural things and I create and work with databases and web sites. I do a little writing and teaching on the side. I do some public speaking as well. I do some publishing and I make custom wood furniture pieces. The big money from the 80s is gone as is my ambition. I’d rather do lots of little things than one big thing these days.

Though it goes against the grain of all the claims of advanced education, I'll be the first to admit that except for one database class, all the college classes I've ever had not one has ever had any relevance to the jobs I have taken. All the time and money that I and my parents spent on my education was pertty much a waste. None of it prepared me for anything and hasn't been useful yet. My important learning has been totally on my own. Yes I still take a class every now and then. It makes me wonder if someone who spends their entire life focused upon one task can render as much joy as I have with my many and varied interests.

17 Comments:

Blogger Syd said...

A college professor once told me that a degree only means "look, you can teach me things and I can regurgitate them." I think he had a good point.

9:24 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Except I do know that you take information, twist it a bit and then regurgitate it the way it should be ; )

11:41 AM  
Blogger Boo7 said...

LOL Syd and Guy!!

I am in my mid forties and STILL don't know what I wanna do when I grow up and more degree's than I know what to do with....I think that if I had my true druthers and could make money from it...I would just be a professional student....aside from the inherent politics and general BS...as an adult school was my favourite place to be!! (heyyyyyyy don't hurt me...it's just true...I was never that good at it....just enjoyed it....and not just the academics...those were a necessary evil lol!!!)

However, by far the most interesting people I have met and known are the ones with the "seat of your pants" type of life-education!!!

1:06 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Barb, I resemble that remark...

School can be fun because it almost resembles real life with goals, deadlines, tests and grades. One thing I really hate that they do these days is they always have group projects. I am one who spells "Team" with an I "Teiam", and I don't stand for inferior work.

A couple years ago I wanted to take this writing class just for shits and grins. I never had it before, but I did know that the instructor promoted team work, so I figured I'd bypass her and take the class on-line. The first G.D. session the on-line instructor splits everyone up into teams. There is no where to hide.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Moosehead said...

Man, do I hear ya. First year at university - Arts..second year Business Admin...third year geology...no return and then on to the insurance industry for a year. From there, hit the road on thumb ending up on the west coast in constuction for a year. Hit the road to Calif. and then back to northern Que for three working on the railroad. Didn't plan on staying that long but my bud Lar got the Big C and didn't make it. You would have really liked him Guy - now there was someone with the knack.

From there, back to the west coast, working night shift at a cedar mill and attending SFU - science this time. Back to the east five years later via Mexico and ending up delivering milk. What they say about women and milkmen is true. Got into Public Service and quit just before imminent brain death.A few other branches and side roads in there but you know.

I think that the only reason you and I are in the business we are currently into is because there is a never ending quest for knowledge that is never fulfilled and every day, I stand humbled in awe of its perfection. Besides...I get to goof off all winter in the wood shop!

Long live the Jack of all trades and the master of none!! As Bob D once said though - Beware the Jack of Hearts...

3:22 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Yes, Moose, we certainly are twin brothers of different mothers.

I am happy that I finally got that degree in Revisionist History.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Moosehead said...

I just realized that I didn't leave any quips (Barbs??) in that last comment so as not to dissapoint Syd and Guy, I leave you with the words of one of my professors "Those that can do, those that can't teach"...and..."Time is for people who can't think and Life is for people who can't read"

3:29 PM  
Blogger LeLo in NoPo said...

Ah, such a timely post. Found me wondering if it's perhaps time to jump the jump and explore lots of new and different things. I'm intrigued with the different things you do now and the interesting person it must make you to have such different kinds of knowledge.

Thanks for the comment, btw and for delurking. :)

3:42 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Moose, Woody Allen took that statement further by saying, "And those who really don't know teach Phys-Ed."

Yes, Lelo, I certainly have been down some interesting roads and slept in some interesting caves. Makes one wonder what is next. And I am going to be one bitter bastard when I'm on my death bed when there are so many more interesting things to do...

For today I will Blog!

3:57 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

A cedar mill?
Moosehead, you worked in a cedar mill Too?!!!
While working my way through college in the 70s, I spent a summer on the Olympic Penninsula in a shake mill.
After struggling along at minimum wage here in Oregon, I took a bath in money up there.
Came back to Salem Or, rented a new townhouse and focused on school and chicks for a change.
Finally had to take a job. :-(

6:41 PM  
Blogger Boo7 said...

OK so last we I was the rose between two thorns **grin** thanks to Syd....and this week you want me to be the Barb....alright I'll switch....BUT.....which one of you two will be the rose this week????

6:57 PM  
Blogger Boo7 said...

Moosehead...you too have led a very interesting and varied life from the sounds of things...man we moved around so much as kids that once I came here to Univeristy uuhhmmmm....errrrrrrrr....26 years ago I put down roots and never left!

7:01 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Barb, you must tell the stories of being a diplomatic brat. Yes we have royalty here folks.

Also you can be the rose again. You probably smell better than the two of us.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Hah, I'm a diplobrat, too--lived in 4 different countries before we made it to the USA when I was 10, and then off again to finish high school overseas. I'm so grateful that my last 3 years of high school were spent in Holland rather than the public school system where I went to 9th grade--imagine high school classes being taught by PhDs and small class sizes! Contrast that with my 9th grade algebra class taught by a teacher/PE coach.

Unlike my fellow diplobrat I have never managed to put down roots, except in very shallow soil. I'm more like a potted plant that gets moved once in a while because it needs better light. Part of my working career as a photojournalist took me trotting the globe, and I haven't lived more than 3 years in one place since the late 70s. One day I do hope to land in Oregon, but for now I have obligations in Virginia.

And, speaking of Virginia, did you see that James Webb finally pulled ahead of George "macaca" Allen in the senatorial race? I am overjoyed!

11:26 PM  
Blogger Boo7 said...

Hi Rich....nice to meet you!!

Like you I never lived in the country of my citizenship until about 13ish...having been born in the southern US and then moved to Switzerland, followed on to England and then Canada.....than highschool was a blur for me of 3 different moves to three different cities in two different countries!!

There were perks and benefits to living that live of course...but there were also some not so great things as well. I have a secret fantasy that if I were to live my life over I would spend my ears from 0-18 all in the same place...and then perhaps stay on longer...depending. Hey it's my fantasy....I can change it up anywhich way I want!! **grin**

7:37 AM  
Anonymous wende said...

I am 24 work hours and 2 papers shy of having my MDiv. I am a LIFETIME away from knowing what I want to do with my life. :)

12:05 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

MDiv eh? You better not read the next post, Wende ; )

From reading your blog the only thing I see that may hold you back is your openness and your honesty. It works very well with friends, but in the real world sometimes not. (By the way, I am pulling your leg here, except it is true you are open and honest.)

12:47 PM  

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