Monday, December 12, 2011

Child of Fate

In honour of me turning 30 on Thursday, I'm exploring the very essence of me. So for the next week or so, I'll be writing (and musicking) about the things that make Claire Dawn.

I had to do a Career Day-esque presentation at my tiny school. It was basically me telling the kids all the jobs I've done. I figured they asked me because Japanese people tend to stay in a job for all their lives, so I've worked more places than the average Japanese person. But then, who was I kidding, I've worked more places than the average Westerner. 9 jobs in 6 fields and 3 countries? Blew the average outta the water.

I've been:

a caterer/waitress with the family catering business
a sales clerk in a department store
an officer cadet in the military
a supervisor/interpreter in a call centre
a tour guide/co-pilot/translator in a submarine tour company
a teacher in 3 schools in Barbados and 4 schools in Japan

One of the kiddles asked how I came to work on the sub. I told them it was a fluke. I'm claustrophobic. I wasn't trying to work on a submarine. I'd applied to a bus tour they operated and when the boss saw I'd been in the Coast Guard, she thought I'd be perfect for the sub. And so I got a job I hadn't applied for. A job I hadn't even thought about doing before the minute it fell into my lap.

About 2 minutes later another kiddle asked how I decided to come to Japan. Er, another fluke? I'd been on campus after graduation hanging out in Student Affairs, wishing aloud that someone pay me to travel, and one of the staff handed me an application to the JET program.

"You're a child of fate!"

I can't remember if it was a kiddle or a teacher that said it. But it struck me that I didn't look or apply for most of the jobs I've done. I obviously didn't apply to work in the family business. My Dad worked at the department store so that just happened. Ditto for the military. I was sitting at my university when a teacher friend called and told me to get to her school NOW with my resume. The only job I can say that I really went looking for was the call centre one, and that's because I needed money to buy stuff for coming to Japan.

That's not to say I'm completely passive - sitting around waiting for stuff to happen either. My mother was grumbling at me the other day about the way I do random courses in randomness and never have cause to use them. I'm a certified event planner, for example. And I did a year of Italian because I couldn't find a Japanese course. I never decided to be an event planner. But the way I live, I can't say that I won't be in a job where I need those skills.

Lots of people will think that, at 30, I should have a plan. I should know if and when I'm leaving Japan. I should know what job I'm moving into next. I should be preparing for it. I'm about to start an TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course. I figure I might as weel get qualified alongside the 3 1/2 years experience- just in case I want to stay here, or move into this field in another country. And I wirte, because some day I want people to read my work. Other than that, who knows?

Like I said, I'm not passive. It's just - how to put it?- I open the door and the universe comes sweeping in. All I can do is be prepared for it. Make myself the best me I can be. Yes, the submarine job fell right into my lap, but I got it because I'd been in the military before. I had to be qualified to take the opportunities. Apart from the first 2 jobs of course. It's hard to be underqualified as an 8-year old sandwich crust cutter/ carrot-peeler.

So that's a part of my essence too. Seize every chance I can to learn something new. Maybe some awesome position will open up in Italy with 2 weeks notice. And, oh whaddyaknow, I randomly speak Italian. It's hard work being lucky, but someone's gotta do it.

I'm a child of fate.


Anonymous said...

That's the first thing that interested me about you when I stumbled upon your blog! :) I think it's a great way to live one's life. I used to love making great plans (while hardly ever sticking to them in the end), but when I suddenly stopped, it was like a revelation: living without a plan is even better!

Dana Sease said...

Amen, sister! I think this is a great attitude to have about life--who knows where it will take you, and that's exciting! Keep up the great blog writing...I still enjoy following it. :)