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Back at the Starting Line

It’s kind of surreal starting a new career at this time of my life. For lack of a better definition, I am a career switcher pursuing paths once unimaginable. I spent a large part of my younger years raising and homeschooling my children. (I will always view that as my most important role and I loved every minute of it.) Other jobs I’ve held, both before and after being a stay-at-home-homeschool mom, don’t typically qualify as “careers” – or so I’ve been told. My positions as secretary or administrative assistant were where I gained most of my computer, organizational, and interpersonal relationship skills. I learned, on-the-job, how to effectively use important programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, and PowerPoint, how to work with public and handle difficult issues, and how to organize an office and keep it running smoothly. What I didn’t already know how to do, I quickly learned in order to meet the needs of my employers. For a time, I prided myself on being referred to as “Radar” from the M*A*S*H series of the 70’s and 80’s. He was the efficient company clerk who always anticipated the needs of his superiors and acted accordingly.

I also felt a great sense of purpose and satisfaction while working as a Teacher’s Aid for nearly five years in the Alwood School District. But despite the many fulfilling aspects of all of my former positions, they were not jobs that I felt passionate enough about to turn them into life-long careers. Instead, I had other dreams that I chose to work toward. At the starting line more than ten years ago, all I knew was that it was my dream to become an editor. I loved reading and felt that I had a knack for noticing grammar, spelling, and word choices that could be made better. I didn’t know what, exactly, becoming an editor would look like, or whether it was a practical or realistic goal. Nevertheless, I took one step at a time, exploring and discovering more about myself and the paths I needed to cross in order to reach that goal.

Four days before my 49th birthday, I completed the graduate-level Publishing Certificate from the University of Denver, and I found myself at another starting line – the starting line of a new career. A myriad of emotions coursed through my veins as I began setting up an office in my house where I will build my new freelance business doing all of the things I love: reading, writing, editing and design. For inspiration, I found some quotes from Walt Disney (yes, that Walt Disney) to hang in my new office. One of them says, “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” The other quote says, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Both quotes hold practical advice, but they are also self-reminders to focus on work that I am passionate about.

I’m pretty sure there will also be some tasteful Mickey Mouse decorations in my office, because why not surround yourself, even at work, with the things that make you smile.

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