“You know if you are born a Renaissance Woman, or have met a Renaissance Woman, because: You/She can mix the knowledge of what is considered disparate spheres into a new whole…” _____ Urban Dictionary
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What’s wrong with me?” I have. Usually I ask it while reflecting on something really dumb or unkind that I’ve thought, done or said. But there are also times when I ponder this question when comparing myself to other people. In particular, their career path compared to mine. How my jobs seem to have randomly wandered from field to field while other peoples’ seem to have been targeted toward a known end and stayed the course.
This self-doubt resurfaced recently while preparing my resume for potential English teaching jobs. For those of you who have been following me, you know that I am hoping to teach in the Czech Republic sometime next year, now that I have my TEFL certification. Until that day comes, I hope to land a job teaching online starting the first of the year, this, in addition to my volunteer teaching at the Literacy Council.
Just as in the past, when I got my resume all organized and looked it over, I saw this meandering, very nonlinear work history that made me pause and say “What’s wrong with me?” How I envy those people who I imagine to have always known what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go, and so, have very linear, logically progressing work histories! “Why can’t I be like everyone else,” I wonder?
In a world that tends to reward and more readily validate those who have climbed a logically progressing career ladder with aplomb, its easy to feel like you’ve missed the boat or failed somehow if your career path looks more like mine- a sailboat tacking across a tempestuous sea. After-all I have been a travel agent, environmental educator, musician/song-writer, legal assistant, and hospital chaplain, just to name a few.
But I’ve learned, (and truthfully, I’m still learning,) to embrace this uniqueness about myself. To see it as an asset and not a liability. To not ask, “what’s wrong with me?” but instead, “what’s right?” I have always been driven to explore, inquire, and learn in many fields, which has led me to multiple proficiencies. This is who I am, a Renaissance Woman.
The better question to ask now is, “how can I use this to my advantage?” Quite honestly, I can hardly imagine a better field than teaching to bring a broad base of knowledge to bear. Maybe not having a specific trajectory has allowed me to arrive at this moment in time. Maybe now I’ll have the opportunity to coalesce my “disparate spheres” into a greater whole to the benefit of my current students and to my potential future ones. I’m hoping that employers will feel the same way as I move forward with my dream.
Dear Readers: Are you a Renaissance man or woman? Have you ever struggled with a similar view of your life’s path and wondered what it all meant? How have you, or haven’t you reconciled yourself to it? Please feel free to share.
I’m one of those people who have followed a mostly logical path. I knew from the time I was in middle school that I wanted to be a teacher. I went to college for it, graduated, became a teacher. Done. Strangely enough, I’ve even taught the same grade level and subject for all my 16 years as a classroom teacher. But I have always envied those “Renaissance Women” that you speak of. I’ve worked with teachers who were previously engineers, dental assistants, dog trainers (<– not that different than teaching probably), and photographers. I always wonder what life would be like learning so many things and trying on so many identities.
Ah, Carie. Thanks for your comment. It is so human isn’t it, to wonder how our life might have been different if we’d gone down a different path- whether that path was straight or zig-zag!? But you are a teacher and a writer, and your writing reflects a richness that belies any sense of being stuck in a classroom rut. (:
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You and me both Sister. Love you.
Yes, I was thinking of you too Polly when I wrote this!
My career was somewhat linear, but I liked to take new opportunities. I used to hate it when managers or prospective employers would ask what my career plan was, and where I saw myself in 5 or 10 years, because it was not in my nature to do that sort of planning. Finally I read an interview with astronaut Sally Ride where she said she had always kept her options open and didn’t limit herself to any specific career plan or goals; she followed her interests. After that I stopped feeling defensive about my lack of a plan.
Thanks for your comment Linda. I’m still trying to not feel defensive! That is quite interesting about Sally Ride, someone who you’d think (or assume) would have a very targeted career plan.
I think we late bloomers may have the same thoughts. Merry Christmas Cuz.
Thanks Pat. Late Bloomers is another way to say it. (:
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