I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years, all why searching for my own personal bliss. Some were glorious adventures while others hit big numbers on the suck-ometer. That happens, when you follow your muse…in my cases, a furry one.
Jobs, Careers & the Bliss Factor
I’m a college graduate (woo-woo! thanks Mom and Dad!) with a double major in music and communication (aka theater/writing/fill-in-the-blank). So what’s my work history with such credentials?
Cashier, actress, newspaper delivery person, optometric associate, legal assistant, TV news reporter/anchor, voice teacher, vet tech, bank compliance officer, author, behavior consultant, spokesperson, middle school and high school choir teacher. For a while, I wondered if my folks had wasted their money sending me to college when it seemed my “just a job” treading water (to put, you know, bread on the table) had little to nothing to do with my original aspirations. Along with each came a boatload of shoveling crappiocca (and dodging what was lobbed my direction).
Being Grateful For Crap
Would I change a single day? Well yeah…there are a few I’d give anything for a do-over. The worst times made me that much more determined to reach that shiny brass ring. And some days, I made enough headway to see it up close and personal.
I think without the bad times, I wouldn’t be as appreciative of the not-bad-times. The contrast makes each stand out more stark and bright and distinctive. It’s a struggle sometimes to be that optimist especially when the world around us has lost it’s sparkle, and the darkest portions seem to catch the spotlight attention, drowning out the goodness that I know is there.
For me, I gotta focus on the good stuff or I’ll drown in the pessimism. Goodness doesn’t always come in a spotlight, either–it rarely attracts the hand-waving LOOK-LOOK-LOOK that media wants. No, the goodness comes quietly, without fanfare, and sort of sneaks up on you: A grocery store clerk going out of her way to help find an elusive product. A stranger in the car ahead paying for a Starbucks. Prayer chain at church making a difference. A car stopping a line of traffic to let a mom-duck and ducklings waddle safely across the road.
If the “big bad” throws a large shadow, each of these tiny pinpricks of light are cumulative. You don’t need one big GOOD THING to throw the darkness back where it belongs–taken together, those individual star-shines out-shout the sun.
Finding Bliss Means Watching For Star-Shine Moments
No more dwelling on doom and gloom for me. Today, I resolve to take stock on a daily basis. Watch attentively for the tiny sparks of goodness that together banish the bad. Oh, and to add my own tiny flame to help fan that ember to full light.
We all make excuses. It’s the human thing to do. But if something or someone tried to keep me from my fur-kids, from writing my heart, from shiny objects or my music, my God-gifted bliss—I’d by-heaven find a way over, through, or around. And shame on me for letting anyone try to take that away!
There’s a rush, a natural “right-ness” and physical Snoopy-Dance-‘O-Joy feeling in doing what is meant to be. It never gets old, but there’s no real destination, either. It’s a moving target that makes you reeeeeach just a bit beyond comfort level time and again.
I’m ready to stretch a bit. How ‘bout you? What is your bliss? What’s kept you from reaching out for that brass ring? Are you ready to join your spark to the light shining just over the horizon?
Magic says…”Bliss is Frisbee-Fetch!”
Loved this Amy! So true that you have to keep looking for your bliss, in the small but significant events of our day ?
Thanks Jane, glad you liked it!
Boy, did I need to read this! As I sit in the hospital after four days of testing to understand why, at 47, I’m having short-term memory loss and general confusion when, thankfully, there’s nothing physically wrong and doctors keep hinting that the real problem is STRESS. Like, from the job of tight deadlines, impossible expectations, and low pay. Time to move away from that. Time to blog more, design more, work more directly with authors (I’m an editor)—all the things I love. Thanks, Amy!
I find your life’s work fascinating, Amy! No one would guess it wasn’t all what you’d intended!
I defied my parents and sent myself to college, and had no idea what I wanted except not what they were offering to me. I started out in one place and instead of seeing it as moving around, I saw it as adding new skills, new connections, new insights all the time and graduated with a degree in English but took care of parents instead of further degrees I’d planned. A career as a graphic designer pulled from my ability to type and being a typesetter, more and more jobs on the side and it seems as if I’ve stocked my pantry with things I can do and have done, and all those people and skills replenish me when my tide ebbs low. I will never do the great things I’ve dreamed, but I’ve done many small things that have been deeply meaningful to me, to others, to animals, and perhaps that was what I was meant to do after all.
Truth from your soul that spoke to mine! Priceless!
I’ve been living my bliss but health stuff has been a big bummer. BTW I coach people on animal careers and my beta group finishes this month!
I find a lot of people don’t have the follow through to follow their bliss–but when you have passion, as you outline, you’ll find a way to do it!
What I dream to do is to work at a no-kill sanctuary as a behaviorist, but I don’t know how to do it. Do I even need to go back to school to get a masters degree, or can I do this as an apprentice? I don’t know who to ask or how to do it. Since you do this SO well, I thought you might have some insights, Amy. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Leah, What an awesome goal! It IS do-able. Yes, you’d have to do coursework and there are apprentice-ships. There are several organizations that explain what’s required. Of course veterinary behaviorists require a DVM or VMD degree. But there are also PhD behaviorists (http://animalbehaviorsociety.org/), and there are certified dog/cat/parrot/horse consultants (http://www.IAABC.org). I’m IAABC-certified for cats and dogs. There’s also dog trainer certification through Association of Pet Dog Trainers (http://www.apdt.com). And a number of large shelter/animal welfare organizations offer training programs and mentorship arrangements. My college Kim Thornton just authored a fantastic book “Careers With Dogs” (BowTie Press) that lists many education programs available. I hope something here helps. You can begin your dream just by getting involved with local animal welfare groups, too.