What do you want to be when you grow up? And how do you get there?

Some people know exactly what they want to do in life and follow a path that leads straight in that direction. My stepdaughter, Erin, is one such person. She knew in 9th grade that she wanted to be a doctor and pursued that path through high school, college and medical school. It wasn’t easy; many of the steps were rigorous and the outcome wasn’t always assured, but the path was clear.

Other people know their direction, but not the route they will follow. Artists, for example, frequently recognize their passion, but have to learn how to turn their talent and skills into a career. Along the way, they are often pressed to find multiple ways to sustain themselves. I will interview working artists to learn how they’ve crafted their career to pay the rent while practicing their art.

Entrepreneurs often know they want to start a business, but there’s a long path from idea to opening day. What kind of business? How will they raise the start-up cash? What space is needed? Personnel? Equipment? Different people choose different ways to answer all the questions. How did they know what steps to take? What worked? What would they do again? What would they avoid? As I interview business owners, I will probably discover that different people answer these questions in a variety of ways. Are there any common threads? I’m hoping to answer that question, too.

Many other people, myself included, struggle to find their career direction, changing jobs multiple times. I’ve tried a variety of occupations, acquiring skills, experience and self-awareness, as well as some good stories along the way. Some of my past jobs are

  • managing a drop-in a day care center
  • caring for baby bulls in a lab studying implantation of artificial hearts
  • shepherding tax-free investment vehicles as a corporate attorney
  • teaching aerobics
  • directing a non-profit literacy coalition
  • writing grant proposals for national, state and local funders
  • administering programs designed to increase student success in a community college

Although I envied people who knew their career direction, I did realize over time that I love to write. But I wasn’t sure how to turn that into a career. So this blog gives me a chance to do what I love while I satisfy my curiosity about how other people create their careers.

I will follow my curiosity to discover how real people crafted careers outside of traditional pathways. I will share their stories to show the questions they asked, the obstacles they overcame and the decisions they made.

As I explore these stories, please let me know the questions you have, so I can continue to seek answers that will satisfy all of our curiosities.