What do you do for a living?

I am a musician. In Lockdown we pretty much play for no one. Covid seemed to restructure all our lives. If I never get to play again for people because of Covid, then screw it. I still play my music and create new music. I'm retirement age, but in music you really never retire. It's in your blood, and in your soul.

I dreamed of being a veterinarian though in school. I couldn't get myself to learn that much about animal physiology. I love animals though. I have 2 of the most adorable cats.

You and I could be reversed! When I was younger, my dream was to be a singer/musician, and I even cut a demo of covers, but didn't really ship it around too much. Auditioned for American Idol as well (back in the day when J. Lo's butt was on there).

I grew up to be a veterinarian, who currently works with an animal conservation team. I must say, I love my work.



I read the books "The Millionaire Mind" and "The Millionaire Next Door" (Thomas J. Stanley) and it changed my life. This made me want to have my own business.

I wanted to go into technology. Here is what I like about tech: If you sell televisions, you have to buy the parts, build a TV, put it in the window, and when you sell it you have to buy all the parts and build another. With technology, you build it, you hit "copy," hit "paste" and you made another. You hit the button "add new user" and you made another sale.

I really loved when I was doing safety and risk management (before going back to school and writing my web app). It was hands on and I served a variety of clients all over the US in different industries. I was in nuclear reactors, laid buoys in the keys, was in the California desert at a construction site, of the roof of a warehouse being built in Joliet, IL. So much more...

Technology is securing my retirement. You do not want to lose sight of that.

Someone once told me that if you do something that you love, you will never work a day in your life.

what sort of tech work is it you do ?

Jeremy Doe

Wow so many responses and so many jobs.

At 38, I still am not sure what I want to be when I grow up. When i was young, I wanted to be a priest, a lawyer, and a doctor. Law is still a possibility though based off the law classes I've completed, I'm not really sure that would be as interesting as I want. Plus, I don't see a lot of happy lawyers running around. Genetic engineering seems like a field that is going to have some explosive growth, but... that's more schooling than I'm wanting to do.

So, in the interim, I am work at an HR consulting firm where I work with clients all around the world to implement HR technology solutions to solve their HR business needs. It's a lot of fun and the company is phenomenal. The technology component is always changing and helping people solve problems is rewarding. In addition to that, I also do life coaching on the side.

All in all, I don't have complaints. It's intellectually stimulating, rewarding, and allows for a decent quality of life. And they're skills that I can pretty much take anywhere. Security is a big thing for me.


Jeremy Doe - Good for you. You've landed in a good place as far as your work life is concerned. I was much the same. I found work I truly liked, had good co-workers and I was able to use my inborn skills - and because I could do that it didn't really feel like work or drudgery. I didn't mind being there. Sounds the same for you. The only thing was this : nothing prepares you for the amount of paperwork you must do daily. As you might recall, I was connected to the court system so there were always forms or reports. Sometimes to a number of people at once. Woo-Hoo.
The question that I have never been able to answer: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Well I'm 22 now and I'm 'grown'... yet I haven't figured out what I want to do. I spent my entire life pretty much just living day by day and now I'm without a future plan.

If you want to share it would be cool to see if anyone has any ideas on how I can figure this out, career suggestions, etc.

(If I could do anything I would be an author, but that doesn't seem realistic to me).
At 22 I was on my second career, I'd be collecting a pension from either of them.

I stumbled into the career I love and have been doing for the past 33-1/2 years. I was homeless and looking for a job, any job, following my first mental breakdown. I applied for two positions with an engineering/surveying company and interviewed for both, I was offered my choice. I ended up doing both and within a few months was doing a third.


I have done all kind of work from picking cotton to buy my school clothes, selling doughnuts door to door to help the family out to working at an amusement park as a kid. I always wanted to be a Registered Nurse when there were not many men going into that profession. I was side tracked by the Viet Nam war in my early 20's and didn't go back to school until my late 20's early 30's. I had a free semester between my required courses I had to take and my nursing classes starting so I took all theater classes, stage make-up, stage movement, tried out for a couple of plays and got parts in them. The acting bug bit and I almost gave up the thought of becoming a nurse but I was married and knew it's hard to make a living as an actor, so I gave up that dream. I became a RN. Now I'm semi retired and I could go for it, but there are not a lot of community theaters where I live, so I don't do it. Maybe some day, who Knows? My suggestion? Do what you would love to do even if you never got paid to do it. That's how I felt about acting.


I have done all kind of work from picking cotton to buy my school clothes, selling doughnuts door to door to help the family out to working at an amusement park as a kid. I always wanted to be a Registered Nurse when there were not many men going into that profession. I was side tracked by the Viet Nam war in my early 20's and didn't go back to school until my late 20's early 30's. I had a free semester between my required courses I had to take and my nursing classes starting so I took all theater classes, stage make-up, stage movement, tried out for a couple of plays and got parts in them. The acting bug bit and I almost gave up the thought of becoming a nurse but I was married and knew it's hard to make a living as an actor, so I gave up that dream. I became a RN. Now I'm semi retired and I could go for it, but there are not a lot of community theaters where I live, so I don't do it. Maybe some day, who Knows? My suggestion? Do what you would love to do even if you never got paid to do it. That's how I felt about acting.
Hey I can give you some advice that might help there. I wanted to go into medicine I was told I could go through nursing to help me pass the medical board to go into medical school and would save years of study, so I spent a couple of years studying nursing and worked on ambulances while doing so in the end what I thought was for me, really wasn't for me, ended up changing career but continued to work on the ambulances for a while. You are never too old to get into it I had a guy started at the same time as me 3 days after his 68th birthday, and you don't need to go be a nurse to help if you don't want to it's a lot of work and stress. What things you could do is to be a care assistant at a care home or be an EMT for a local medical service, fire service or ambulance station. You don't even need to take it up as a career most look for volunteers that will pay your training. Or even get involved with your local FEMA Cert team for times of emergency.

Hope that can give you some ideas


Chat Moderator
Staff member
Some of my darkest hours were just after graduating from college. To the outside world things looked fine. At 22, I landed a great job with a well-known international advertising agency after bullshitting my way through several interviews and convincing them I was their next Wunderkid. The irony of overselling oneself to an advertising firm was humorous until the soul-crushing reality of the job began taking its toll within my first year there. To paraphrase the author James Dickey, I sold my soul each day and bought it back every night with interest due. Only very recently have I been able to laugh at the irony again.

After the second year I had enough 80-90 hour weeks, so I took the LSAT, impulsively quit my job and began applying to law schools. I didn’t feel at peace with law, so I followed an inner voice and shredded all of the applications I’d worked on. I was completely certain that I was destined for something else, so I took the GRE and went to grad school and got a masters degree in something that always interested me…and finally things began to make sense again. So, by the time I was 27, I finally felt like I might be on the threshold of becoming a real adult.

For ten years I worked in city planning. More recently, I’ve led part of a “P3” (Public-Private Partnership) for economic development. Before covid, I traveled quite a bit, and expect that to increase again, but for the most part, my quest has been to work in something where I can make a lasting and positive difference without losing myself or my family in the process. Growing up, my father traveled out of the country a lot. As a consequence, he missed some important milestones of my childhood. It’s a balancing act for sure.

I know I’m probably getting close to peaking in my career. Once, that thought might have depressed me, but now it feels pretty good. I’m just not sure what “Act IV” in my case is going to be.


Farm medic

When I graduated from high school(1988), I went to college to become a molecular geneticist. That became psychology and eventually I found the ceramics department. I graduated cum laude with a BFA in ceramics. Mostly the clay department taught me how to use power tools and the basics of The Trades (plumbing electrical welding masonry). After graduation, I decided to learn to build my future house. This because general contracting. I wanted to build a better world. That led me to radical politics (I still concider myself an Anarchist) somewhere around 1998. There I identified the need for medical support at large mobilizations like WTO Seattle, IMF/World Bank in DC, FTAA Quebec City and Miami and a bunch more. This led me into EMS/Public Safety. By 2013 I was a burned out paramedic. (Interesting side note, I was molested at Boy Scout Summer Camp by the camp medic and I decided to do and be better than that piece of garbage which I was though I cried nearly every day and hated humans long before I hung up my stethoscope). After the EMS decade, a friend suggested Utility Line Clearance with Asplundh. I was 47 and usually the 2nd or 3rd oldest man on the lot. A few years of whining 20 year olds who couldn’t keep up pushed me into residential tree work.

I believe that work induced sweat is a form of prayer. I believe that the reason for life is service to others. I believe that being helpful to my community is the whole point. My grandfather told me to do what I loved and that the money would be there.

Generally speaking, I never knew what was next and still don’t. I will have to work until I die because I haven’t held a job longer than 3.5 years. There’s no 401K or pension waiting for me to retire. When I get bored, I try something new. I’ve never had a desk job. I froze salmon in Valdez AK one summer, hung art in Chicago and NYC, cleaned carpets in Erie PA, pounded nails in the sun, built trail in the wilderness at 8000’, butchered pigs cows goats and chickens, and I’m getting my class B CDL the Monday after Christmas. I don’t let social norms determine what path I should take.
Careers are a thing of the past. Life is a buffet. I’m not great at any one thing but I sure am helpful.

Farm medic

Just saw your bit about being a writer. What’s unrealistic about it? Read Steven King’s book On Writing. If you have something to say, bloody well say it.


I never did figure out what I wanted to be. I am retired at 62, and am still working on my healing, and learning myself.
Chemical poisoning ended my career as an engineer. I'm not sure that I really wanted to be an engineer either.
I will say that I was able to touch other people's lives every day I delivered the mail. I guess that's something.


Just saw your bit about being a writer. What’s unrealistic about it? Read Steven King’s book On Writing. If you have something to say, bloody well say it.

I enjoy writing. I wrote a novel that I self published. didn't make enought to live on but it's an achievement. I've just finished a Novella about survivorship and I'm looking for people to read and critique it before submitting to publishers. Part of the support group I attend is creative writing and it's been helpful in recovery.
Hopefully I can make money at it.
On Writing is a fantastic book, and while King has an image of being conservative he's definitely danced with the Devil.
My csa & childhood hangups skewed a lot of the what should've beens surrounding what I have done for a living all my life. As a child I was always fascinated by lights & electricity, I always heard that "he's gonna be an electrician" and I was like yeah I'd like that...

I hated being in school and zoned out from kindergarten on, I hated being around other kids who mirrored back at me everything I wasn't and didn't have, so I ended up dropping out of regular high school. I was going to a half day vo-tech school for electrical and continued going there and "graduated" from there. I figured that I didn't need a HS diploma for an electricians license so I'd be fine without it, but this has always been another of my not so proud moments in life choices. My Electrical instructor was such a cool guy, everyone respected him, I came to love him as a father figure and mentor. He arranged me to work for a former student who was wildly successful, I "felt" taken advantage of for being paid peanuts, being told what to do by other young guys with authority over me... I "didn't work out" and was fired at 17. Then I reached out to my old teacher and he set me up to work for his son who ended up being an alcoholic and druggie, as were the rest of the siblings, much to my shock. I ended up quitting after a couple of years, feeling that I was running the show and being paid peanuts while he'd pay his older bar fly buddies with no experience a lot more than me and me having to constantly make excuses for why the boss wasn't around to customers.

These two experiences made me give up the dream of being a licensed electrician, which was stupid in hindsight because I only needed to apprentice 4 years in total to go for my own license which would've let me start my own business. I already had over two years down and threw that all away... With that I started my own home improvement business, not being outgoing and without a big circle of friends and acquaintances is a hindrance to any business start up, especially if you don't have a big bank roll backing you up. I survived until the recession of 90, then I was forced to look for other work or another business. Towing, I knew a scumbag who was making a lot of money with his own tow truck, I figured if he could do it I sure can... I started working for a big towing outfit in town, I even bought my own tow truck to get ready for when I'd strike out on my own. I found out yes there is good money in it, but it is dangerous and you have to be heartless at times by taking money from old ladies and people really down on their luck, not to mention going to nasty accident scenes. I ended up selling the truck before ever starting a towing business, after three years I realized it wasn't for me.

I then went and got my commercial drivers license, I then took a temp job nights driving tractor trailers for Fedex, stayed on for less than a year. Then took a job for three years driving a roll-off dumpster truck picking up mostly construction & demo debris for a lot more money than Fedex. I then got a job driving a concrete mixer for a major company for two years.

These driving jobs were very blue collar and masculine dominated worlds that I found myself in with all my struggles. I faked my own masculinity and toughness, the good thing about those jobs were the fact that I was by myself so much in the trucks out on the road, a much needed break at times.

Having always hoped and dreamed for more despite all my issues I tried my hand at starting a restaurant from scratch, and I did. I put it all together. I figured that we had a certain amount of money that we could try/gamble with this venture... That ended up being a miscalculation of a major sort. It didn't last six months before I saw the writing on the wall and pulled the plug, but we ended up more than doubling my figured risk and it cost us having to sell our investment property that was my childhood two-family home to get out from the restaurant debt fallout. It wasn't a sentimental thing at the time selling that home, it was the punch in the gut of being such a failure that would trigger my acting out that had subsided years earlier.

I ended up going back to driving for the concrete company again, but out of a different much further away plant due to not wanting to have to eat so much crow for having failed and needing to come back.

I always knew real estate investing was a good thing to get into, even my father stumbled into owning that two-family home that we ended up buying from him when he retired. We bought some properties, rentals when we could often by borrowing close to 100% but made it work out with rents covering it all. I learned how to be a landlord, sure we took our lumps with some deadbeats early on. These properties I knew would be feathering my nest in my older age and perhaps even be a legacy to leave for my kids if we do it right.

I was blessed by a trait that runs through my mother's side of the family, I can do any construction trade be it carpentry, elect or plumbing well. I can also watch something be done once or twice and somehow have the nerve to try it myself successfully. This served me well when doing home improvements early on and especially as an investment property owner not having to pay anyone else for needed repairs or improvements, which is often the Achilles heel for most investors.

I ended up getting my real estates sales license to cut out the one of middlemen when buying or selling properties, I hate dealing with people in general and I especially hate dealing with incompetents, liars and half-asses which I found a lot of in dealing with agents. I also wanted to get into property development as in buying raw land, building a home and selling it for profit. I took the plunge with buying a property and built a house by myself part time over a couple years and sold it when done. The few family and friends I had showed it to were surprised that I could do this and that I even had the nerve to try it. It was a lot bigger of a gamble than the restaurant ever was and we had young kids now in the mix but the economy was good. I ended up building more new homes one at a times and making nice money and feeling pretty good about myself finally... Until 2009 when the the crash hit. I was just finishing my latest and biggest new home, a 5000 sq foot home on a couple acres in a nice area. We were now stuck with this new home unable to sell along with the commercial loan that was ticking coming due in full in a few short months. I knew that we couldn't take a chance on renting it out either, I even tried to sell my current home and the market was dead, dead,dead. The banks even stopped giving out mortgages among the panic, even our own bank who we had a great relationship with at first refused to give us a new mortgage to payoff and close out the commercial loan, even with a lot of equity in the property and excellent credit, finally they relented and gave us a new mortgage that let us hold onto the new home. So we figured that the best thing to do was to move into the new home to preserve it as best we could till we'd be able to sell it later and hopefully find a tenant for our old house that we couldn't sell in these desperate times. We ended up finding decent tenants for our old home, thankfully but still had a lot of carrying costs beyond what we could handle. All around us I saw peers fellow contractors loose everything they had during all this, a lot of regular folks lost their homes too. Thankfully I had amassed some heavy equipment that I bought right (cheap) for cash in the good times and was able to sell in even in the worst of times for what I paid years earlier and this helped us tread water till things got better. In our personal recovery I was able to finagle picking up a couple more rental homes, foreclosures that needed a lot of fixing up. We still live in our (then new) estate size home which has been very nice for my wife & I coming from where we both come from. Being that I built it myself and that my wife's father (now gone) had worked on it makes it mean that much more to us.

I spend my days partially retired managing my properties, I put on a new roof this summer on one of the rental homes all by myself so it's not all play time, I'm still too cheap to pay anyone else to do these things :) plus it saves & makes me more money. I missed the recent upswing in building new homes due to timing with family needs, and real estate is everything to do with timing. I hope to still build some more new homes some day soon.

I finally found my niche or groove with real estate in rentals and building, had I not been so locked up in my hangups I would've got here a whole lot sooner and even further along. As an adult other men's success, their assets, their "easy" masculinity would trigger the old csa haunts & drives, this was a very faulty childhood coping skill that kept me back in many ways. Despite that, it finally sunk in that I did survive and succeeded beyond what I originally hoped to be able to do as a teen coming out of school. I had quite a few big failures and they always seem to stick out the most. What I came to realize was to count all the many hidden successes & blessings in your life and then you'll realize that you are further than you think. I couldn't see the forest for the trees with all my successes and accomplishments and now I do and those old hangups are gone.
What is it they say is one of the signs of CPTSD. Throw yourself into work! That was me. I guess that was my escape, never looking up, just keep moving, maybe I can out run my childhood and all the things I hated. I left home right after graduation from HS. Started working 2nd shift loading box
cars. Decided to start taking some college
classes during the day time. Seen ad in paper
for dental technician. I had worked for Dental
Laboratory in high school as I got out early.
So I got the job, ended working at it for
16years. I started my own Dental Laboratory
30yrs ago. Just now started to slow down
some, my daughter is taking over the business. I’m grateful for a lot of things in my life, but I’ve never been able to out run my
abuse. The fear, shame, phobias, isolation
were always there. I did things and hurt people. But, at 65yrs old, I’m finally starting to get it. I have Hope now, I believe healing
can happen! Thanks guys for all that do here on this site! LRD


New Registrant

"When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life."-- Someone, maybe John Lennon​

Amazing topic and responses. I wanted to offer a free online resource, The Kiersey Temperament Sorter, to those seeking guidance about future career choices, or to confirm/deny your current aspirations. Its available online via the direct start page above or the Kiersey homepage. Its totally free to complete the sorter, which will provide your personality temperament. If you make a free account, you can access more information. I have used this site with hundreds of teens over the years and most find it compelling and provides information for further exploration. Where it lacks is in the area of values and skills ( though you can gain skills), its based on personality preferences. Interesting side note is that you can compare your temperament with other famous people of the same temperament. When I have completed the sorter, I have scored as the Rational temperament and from further reading identify as the Inventor (ENTP). For those of you with MBTI experience, it cross references with the Myers Briggs framework. Might be the perfect New Year's resolution to complete it.