April 18, 2006

Lousy Guidance Counselors

It would be really nice to know that I went through all the right doors in life. Sometimes I get that lurking feeling that I should have been a biologist or sculptor. I never tried - maybe I would have been good at it. Maybe I would have been the best the world had ever known. But I never did try. As much as I hate shifting blame, I've got to say I wasn't programed to shoot for the stars.

I took one of those career placement tests at the end of junior high - supposedly to give me some direction as to what my academic strength were and suggest a career path. It was about an hour of filling in bubble sheets - each of us hoping the results would reflect our profound genius and unique gifts. A week later our teacher posted the results. I was hoping for something like Fighter Pilot or Astrophysicist but the list on the wall, for everyone to see, read "[Hollywood]: Pastry Chef."


I was outraged. A careful scan of the results verified that it was by far the most ridiculous "career" of anyone else's. Who is their right mind would tell a 13 year old that their life's ambition should be baking pretty pastries? It may as well have said "Reject Living Under Bridge" for all the hope it gave me. That's what they wanted me to finish high school and college for? To make eclairs? A few years later my senior class voted on the probable careers of our classmates. Surely, I had proven to my peers that I was Fighter Pilot material. Nobody navigated the crowded hall with more haste or efficiency that me. But the official outcome was "botanist." Okay, so it's a tad better than donut-girl, but I was still peeved. This is the kind of situation where the school counselor should have stepped in and rigged the results so that everybody believed they had Einstein potential and vast oceans of intellect at their fingertips.

I have not, and will not ever make a pastry thanks to that test. As far as my botanist potential, I did water flowers once for living, but I quit after getting an acute fear of melanoma. So I was left to discern my career all by myself which led to a brief stint with geology, a degree in sociology, two years in immigration law and a short-lived face painting gig. It turns out, there are way more careers out there than I could ever pursue to find my perfect fit. Sixteen jobs later, I've found relief in motherhood and it has suited me surprisingly well. There are days when I know I'm not cut out for it, but most days I let my self-loathing slide and actually feel like I'm doing a good job. But it's little thanks to my guidance counselors. I'm sure they would be shocked to know that I've succeeded in anything more complex than learning how to tie my shoes let alone change a poopy diaper on a screaming, squirming one year old while talking on the phone to insurance. Regardless of what I'm supposed to be doing, I'm proud to say I lead a shrub and pastry devoid existence, and somehow that makes it just right.

8 comments:

adrienne said...

If it makes you feel any better, I think my senior poll future job thing was "opera singer" which... what the hell, high school kids?

I will say, I do a mean cover of "Me and Bobby McGee."

Silly Marie said...

I think now you can add "chef" to your list of offendies (along with the lefties and others). I, as a chef, am offended you think I am some how sub-fighter pilot material. Gee thanks.

Gina said...

My Dad was beyond furious when my sister brought home her career suggestions, which included "truck driver."

Basic Black with Pearls said...

Oh, the list of offendees grows and grows. At the very top are people who have visited your home, with special venom reserved for those who dared to spend the night. Second would be chefs, then on to botanists, followed by guidance counselors, anyone with the last name of Flake, Poles, biblical scholars and Bucky Abramofsky. We readers (except the offended ones) just sit back and enjoy watching you stick your neck out while we sit safely behind our decorum, wondering when the backlash will engulf the Wizard behind the Hollywood Flakes blog. Until then, plenty of good times ahead for your readers! Arf. (Aren't I articulate for a Black Lab?)

Sarah said...

What can I say? I'm on a roll!

Gina - truck driver?? Are you serious?? Who can we shoot for that one? Let's just knock off a few pastry chefs and I'll feel better.

bethany said...

I was told in an aptitude test that I was idealy suited to be an insurance salesman and in highschool I was voted most likely to be an american gladiator.... surprisingly, I wasnt as offended as I should have been... hey, they are really strong!

Jared said...

Mine said that I should be a forest ranger

Mary Arnquist said...

I took one of those silly tests at BYU and it told me I should be a minister!