posted by Joe Anaya on March 3rd, 2014

I was supposed to be a billboard sign painter or a circus performer, at least according to my high school “Interests and Aptitude Test.” At the time, it was funny, but as I think about it, those actually don’t sound that bad. Even then I guess I had an interest in the creative arts and entertainment industry and somehow the test could figure that out.

Asking a 14-year old what they want to do for the rest of their life, is like asking a gold fish what it wants for Christmas. You just get a blank stare with no comprehension of your existence, let alone it’s own. So, how does a teenager know what classes to take, to get into the right electives, to get into the right college, to get into the right career path? You never know where your interests lead you.

In high school, I wanted to be an architect. But after taking a drafting class, I couldn’t imagine drawing lines all day long. If Autocad and other software to draw the lines for me had existed back then, I might have taken that path.

My mom wanted me to get into computer programming. Somehow she knew it would be big in the future. I had no interest in typing lines of code all day. I really should have listened to her because if I had, I’d be the right age to be one of the dotcom millionaires.

Instead, I made a ridiculous choice and pursued a career as a filmmaker. Not all at once mind you. I started off wanting to be a camera operator, then an editor, eventually a writer/director. I’ve been one of the lucky few to see his creations brought to life on TV.

A music editor (the person responsible for cutting music to fit the action of television and movies) told the story of how as a teenager, he was in his room watching re-runs of Gilligan’s Island and listening to Quiet Riot at the same time. (I’m guessing a now-medicinal herb was involved.) His mom came in hot and bothered about her lay-about son. “Start thinking about a career. Nobody’s going to pay you to watch TV and listen to music all day,” she scolded him.

He grins wryly as he finishes the story, “I’m here to tell you, boys, they will. They will.”

So, you never know what direction your kid’s path will take. Some thing that seems like a waste of time could become the seeds of a meaningful career. But God forbid, they become a circus performer.

File Under Working Stiff