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How did you choose your career?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on April 20, 2006

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Photo of Ray Pence

“I went to college to develop my writing, which led me to English and then to American studies. So I just found myself on an academic track.”

Photo of Sarah Balding

“I had my son when I was young, so I decided to become a homemaker. I like it quite a bit.”

Photo of Kenton Slaubaugh

“It kind of chose me. I mostly just tried to do what I enjoyed.”

Photo of Colette Gaches

“I liked to work with kids, so I became an elementary school teacher. But I haven’t taught in 13 years. Now I’m just a domestic goddess.”

Related story


jonas 12 years, 1 month ago

  • Kenton Slaubaugh, business analyst, Lawrence

"It kind of chose me. I mostly just tried to do what I enjoyed."

This hat, too. I just woke up one morning and it was there. I tried to take it off, but it wouldn't budge anymore!

sgtwolverine 12 years, 1 month ago

At first glance, I thought they just broadened the question from a few weeks ago (asking if we chose our careers for the money). But then I saw the article and wondered:

inmate? Is that you?

Anyway, I wouldn't say I've actually chosen a career yet. But when I do, it will be for the Klondike bars.

trinity 12 years, 1 month ago

jonas, you made me giggle! :) so'd you, unconserv...

i like the backwards&sideways comment, too; that's pretty much why i'm in social work/corrections/court system; plus, ya didn't need a whole lot of math for a bachelor's in social work! ;)

paladin 12 years, 1 month ago

I don't have a career, I just have a job. And I ended up with it by plunging headlong and with great enthusiasm down the road that all my shortcomings, inadequacies, mistakes, failures, rejections, disappointments, and misdirections took me.

blessed3x 12 years, 1 month ago

Ray kind of scares me a little.

Lecturer? I'm thinking motivational speaker who lives in a van down by the river!

RonBurgandy 12 years, 1 month ago

I haven't chosen my career yet I guess. I like my job right now, but I have no idea if that is what I am going to be doing forever. I'm currently getting an MBA and I can't really predict if that is going to send me off somewhere else or keep me where I am.

Maybe, fingers crossed, I will be CEO of the klondike bars. Then I could be knee deep in ice cream and chocolate goodness...

Jay Bird 12 years, 1 month ago

It's my puppy's birthday. Time for him to get out there and find his own job.

RonBurgandy 12 years, 1 month ago

happy - that's cool, it's mine too! Happy BDay puppy

Linda Aikins 12 years, 1 month ago

Happy BD Ron and HappyDog! It's my favorite cousin's BD today too.

I was lucky and got laid off, then applied online to a temp agency and got the job of a lifetime. Thanks be to Bob.

trinity 12 years, 1 month ago

hey, it so happens that it's my brother&sister's birthday today, too!

so a happy happy birthday to ALL april 20 kids! :)

sgtwolverine 12 years, 1 month ago

Wait -- thanks be to which Bob? The Original, or one more?

And hey, Drew, how many points do I need to redeem for Gootsie?

acg 12 years, 1 month ago

Happy berfday Ron and Happy's dog! Happy national holiday all stoners!

I also went to college for what I wanted to do. Turns out, 10 years later, I really don't want to do this. I make good $$ though so to pursue something else at this time would be dumb. Its a toss up. Happiness and fullfillment, or pay the mortgage every month. Whaddya gonna do, eh?

gphawk89 12 years, 1 month ago

One of my high school classmates said he was going to attend KU to become an EE. I thought to myself, "That sounds cool; I think I'll do that, too." The rest is history. Thanks, Neil!

sgtwolverine 12 years, 1 month ago

Ron, for your birthday, I would like to offer you a fruitcake, a taser, and a noise citation, along with a free trip around a roundabout.

Oh, and the Missouri basketball head coaching job. Happy birthday!

Speaking of roundabouts, I would like to tell you all that when I went to the high school baseball game yesterday, on the grounds of the high school (a newly-constructed high school, and a very large one), I encountered two roundabouts. I thought of the board as I drove around them.

ms_canada 12 years, 1 month ago

My last years in high school I had my heart set on a career in medicine, but my Daddy said he could not possibly manage the finances for that long haul. So, I opted for psych nursing which happened to pay a student nurse a fair bit more than general nursing. It was not a very pleasant job, but I stuck it out and later got hired to do general nursing which I did truly love. Now, at times I really wish I had thought of teaching as that is something I do a bit of and I just love that. History would be my choice of specialty. I would love to get into costume and do an oral telling of my story as, oh, say, Cleopatra, Alexander, Eva Braun or Queen Victoria or King Solomon. I once did Queen Esther from the Bible and it was so much fun.

RonBurgandy 12 years, 1 month ago

sgt - the real question is...did other people know what to do when they encountered said roundabouts?

Oh and thanks for the gifts but there's not klondike bar...

Kenton analyzes businesses huh? Interesting...I wonder how our friend Murray (from the other day) chose his career?

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

Happy B.Day RB, et al!

My career: I woke up one morning and told God all of my plans for my life...I'm sure He's still laughing.

sgtwolverine 12 years, 1 month ago

Well, Ron, fortunately, I was at the school after 4:00, so there were very few cars. I think I encountered two cars at the first roundabout, and there weren't any problems. I'd be interested to be there around 3:00 to see what happens then. Of course, I would not want to be there in my car at that time.

As far as the Klondike bars ... well, I wanted to leave some gifts for other people to give, too. And I'm sure they'd give them -- for a Klondike bar!

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

Ms_C, I would love to see you as Cleopatra! I'm great with making costumes.

acg 12 years, 1 month ago

That was always my first love, too. Costumes and make up for stage and film. I wanted to do that so badly but then my father got involved with the whole "you're wasting your life with all of that art crap. You'll never make any money following your dreams" and so I went into business and accounting, which is funny because I hate business and I hate math.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

acg, you may not make any money with all that "art crap," but if you love it...make some time to do it. I bet your little one will have all the best Halloween costumes!

sgtwolverine 12 years, 1 month ago

I would like echo elementary_sue here: if you love it, spend some time doing it. Even if it's not your main pursuit, it is important to spend some time doing what you love. For me, it's photography. I guess I'm fortunate because photography is easier to do for my own enjoyment and expression. (For instance, on Tuesday I went into town with my camera and caught images of the town's grief over the deaths of the police chief and fire captain. Costumes and makeup require a little bit more context, I presume. But still, don't let it go!

Linda Aikins 12 years, 1 month ago

I believe in all Bobs. And now sgts too! ;)

One private posting to macon - 500 points A free balloon and calendar at Wal-Mart - 1000 points Going barhopping at Westport with Marion - 5000 points Dinner and a movie with Gootsie - pointless

(wait a minute....)

beatrice 12 years, 1 month ago

RonB: an MBA? I thought you were already in broadcast journalism.

beatrice 12 years, 1 month ago

The following is a quote I have taped to the top of my computer: "I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy." - Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

I do what I do because I love it, but I still need to remind myself from time to time to enjoy the everyday tasks.

StirrrThePot 12 years, 1 month ago

Nice quote, beatrice.

I majored in music ed and now am in IT (project management as well). I love it and have never looked back. Music is still very important to me, but I needed to do something different. I went with my backup career choice, which was also something I did for fun - computers. Well, that and I love solving problems and hate calling tech support to get the answers...

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

Gootsie, ya crack me up.

Bea, good quote. Now I'm going to go find some joy in cleaning my house. (I know it's hidden under all that dirt somewhere!) ;o)

Mama 12 years, 1 month ago

When I was at KU as a 29-year-old divorcee, I had a leadership class and they asked us what was our vision/goal for our life/career. Most of the pie-in-the-sky students wanted to be CEO's, own their own giganta-corporations, be high-powered execs, etc. When it was my turn I told the class all I wanted was a job that I enjoyed going to, one that paid my bills and kept a roof over my head, food on my table, a car in the drive and allowed me enough left over to go on vacation when I chose to. They all looked at me like I'd lost my mind. I now own my own small business, enjoy what I do, and my vision is fulfilled. I wonder how many of the other students can say the same. And if they are CEO's, etc., are they happy?

badger 12 years, 1 month ago

I realized early on in my undergraduate years, after talking to folks in med school, that while I might have the brains and academic abilities to become a doctor, I wasn't willing enough to stab my fellow students in the back, scheme against others, and claw my way over other people for an advantage, and so was too nice and too ethical to successfully complete modern medical school.

So I finished up my bio degree, puttered around a couple of years figuring out just what to do with it, and then just sort of started being the person people came to and said, "I have all these numbers, and I don't know if they're right or what they mean if they are. Would you please look at them, organize them into some form of chart, graph, or report, and explain them to this group of people who understand nothing about the process, the numbers, data collection, or anything else to do with the nuts and bolts of the business?"

So I became a professional data herder, and I'm very good at it. It challenges me, and keeps me supplied with problems to solve, and pays tolerably well, so I'm happy doing it.

There are, however, periodically huge swaths of my day (based on the project I'm working on) where my job is, 'hit ten buttons, wait twelve minutes for the computer to think about what you said and give you an answer from the network, hit six more buttons, wait ten more minutes, etc.' That's a little less fun, but provides time for puttering online or dusting my cubicle.

ms_canada 12 years, 1 month ago

sunflower - I just know that we would make a great team if we could just find a venue Maybe we could recruit acg also. We might try going from school to school offering our services to bring a bit of life into the history classrooms. I can picture us doing a conversation between Alexander and Bucephalus. We, of course would need two to play the part of Bucephalus. But, I can envision a little dispute as to who would play the speaking end of Bucephalus and who would play the end result. :o)

ms_canada 12 years, 1 month ago

sunflower - how are you at making Bucephalus costumes?

Lib_ee12 12 years, 1 month ago

I recently found out that my college degree is worthless, which is probably why I'm stuck in the job I have at the moment. It seems my career is to be constantly searching for a new one! I suppose you could say I chose my career by jumping!

Lib_ee12 12 years, 1 month ago

A speech pathologist can do a lot with a master's degree. It is a great profession that can help all people from birth to well, death. They help children with developmental delays who for some reason haven't learned how to talk at the same rate as their peers. They can help children with Down Syndrome, cleft palates, etc. learn to overcome their disability and talk as their peers do. They help people of all ages who have stutters or suffered head traumas and have affected their speech and cognition. Not just how the words are said, but how the concepts are perceived in order to give a coherent thought. They very frequently help people who have suffered a stroke and those immediate and lingering effects.

However, if for some reason in your last year of your bachelor's degree, you decide that this profession may not be for you and you tend to spend more time working and paying your nagging bills instead of getting that 4.0 gpa then you are screwed. You no longer have the option of going to graduate school no matter what the circumstances or letters of recommendation may be. Schools apparently only look at gpa alone and nothing else. And since the undergraduate degree is a program I don't have the option to retake classes to up the gpa unless I begin the entire program again.

Can you tell I'm upset with this system and am feeling a little lost??

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

Lib, I can't believe your degree is worthless. I have a cousin married to a military man and everywhere she gets bumped to...she has no problem finding a job. Look some more. I'm sure there is a job for you in that field. (And, I'll add, that I think it is a very worthy career choice.)

Ms_C, I know a few people that could play the "latter end" of costume required! ;)

Where is Ceallach?

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

Bea, You'll be happy to hear I found Joy! It was right there under my kitchen sink the whole time. (Lemon scented.) :o)

acg 12 years, 1 month ago

That was an awesome quote, Bea. I am going to try and do more things that I enjoy, I just need to find the time. I need to cut something out in order to make room for the things I used to love. So, what should go.... I know, house keeping! I'm getting so tired of all of that, anyway.

paladin 12 years, 1 month ago

I think speath pafalogths can do wonderthul fings.

sgtwolverine 12 years, 1 month ago

Ooh, scented joy. If your joy could be any scent you wanted, what scent would your joy be?

In an unrelated topic, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could play basketball at KU?

DuQuesne 12 years, 1 month ago

I always wanted to make lots of money with minimal effort and finally found my calling in motivational speaking. I don't do the speaking - I'm the guy who rents out the folding chairs.

-Schuyler DuQuesne

acg 12 years, 1 month ago

Jeez, bowhunter, way to pee on everybody's post toasties. Why must you barge in with your reason and logic and ruin 4/20 for me? ; )

beatrice 12 years, 1 month ago

acg: just ask sun_sue to come over and clean for you. She will find the joy in helping another, I'm sure! (sun_sue: LOL!).

If I could pick the smell of joy: chocolate, and popcorn - (and I don't mean the microwave kind!).

bowhunter: who peed on your Wheaties today?

beatrice 12 years, 1 month ago

oops, I skipped right past acg's response. Like minds, I guess.

acg 12 years, 1 month ago

My smell of joy used to be fresh cut grass or the air before a thunderstorm (I guess ozone?) but now it's clean baby. I love clean baby, baby powder/lotion smell. It's very tranquil.

Rhoen 12 years, 1 month ago

My own career path just kinda happened too.

One morning, I woke up to find that I was a giant cockroach lying on my back on the sofa in the living room, where I'd fallen asleep watching a rerun of some show ...

It was disconcerting at first, but then I decided "well, you gotta just try to be the best cockroach you can be."

I ended up enrolling in an expensive LSAT prep course, got into an OK public university law school, passed the bar exam in four states with highly litigious populations, and am currently looking to be appointed Judge somewhere in Kansas (hopefully Douglas County), since all the good positions at Westar were already taken.

beatrice 12 years, 1 month ago

bowhunter: Money can't buy happiness -- it can only rent it for a time. If you only measure success in life by how big someone's house is, then you are missing the point of being alive and being happy.

sgtwolverine 12 years, 1 month ago

I love the smells of joy. They all made me smile. Particularly the fresh-cut grass and the clean baby smells. (What would happen if you sprinkled fresh-cut grass on a clean baby? Too much joy?) I think mine would be the smell in the air when it just starts getting colder in the fall. I don't really know how to describe it. I love fall, and that smell always puts a smile on my face. It makes me think of spending my Friday nights at the local high school football field. Those are times I enjoy.

Drew_Carey 12 years, 1 month ago

Gootsie..I'd give you bonus points for your pointless remark, but after I posted my remark while in the middle of my state park fantasy and then saw your bubonic word play and it made all the woodland creatures retreat, I'd just have to take them back again.

Sgt...I'd take this into account before redeeming points...keep her away from the computer!

By the way,it's Hitler's birthday too..there's Karma for you.1889. I knew a man who had this birthday, acted just like Hitler, a hidden bully, snake,publically nice, and wanted to control everything.Wanted to make rules for the world. Creepy jerk.(Funny, he had the same head shape and a short mustache, not quite the same, but still...shivers)

Drew_Carey 12 years, 1 month ago

100 pts for Rhoen!

(No offensive to my legal staff, or my cockroaches)

Drew_Carey 12 years, 1 month ago

omb...better watch out for inmate there buddy

KSChick1 12 years, 1 month ago

I took classes in accounting, found out I hated it, and then put the computer classes to use. Thank god for Vo-Tech. Now I work for the state and it could only be better if I could be the person who uses a machete to cut into a Klonkike bar to make sure it's ice cream and chocolatey goodness are uniform.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 1 month ago

Posted by one_more_bob (anonymous) on April 20, 2006 at 11:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Just checking to see if the usual people were posting the usual things. Yup. As you were. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

(from the article about the Muslim KU student)

acg 12 years, 1 month ago

wrong* I swear I'm not even celebrating 4/20 this year and I can't spell and I'm giggly. Maybe I should toke up. I might start making some sense.

Rhoen 12 years, 1 month ago

I WAS being offensive to cockroaches, and I apologize to them in this public forum.

paladin 12 years, 1 month ago

Plague!? Where!? I love the smell of Tom Cruise's underarms in the morning. Pure joy.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

RI, only someone exceedingly critical would point out that dirt above the oven! Oh, and I've got you waaaaay beat on the undergrad hours...well over 350!

The smell of joy: I'm w/ Sgt on the smell of does things to me. Also w/ acg on clean baby smell. Other smells of joy: A blooming lilac bush The hubby after he showers w/ patchouli soap! Chocolate Chip cookies Apple pie BG's potroast (I'm imagining here)

acg 12 years, 1 month ago

mmmm chocolate chip cookies. Definitely! I had forgotten how good they smell. Now I must go home and make cookies.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

RI, actually, a good friend of mine once pointed out the dirt above my oven. I was fine with that. To get even, now I just add a little spit to his food every time he eats here. ;o)

sunflower_sue 12 years, 1 month ago

OMB, I mow several acres. If you pay postage, I'll mail you all the grass clippings you want. Be forwarned: Some of the clippings may contain actual "grass."

gphawk89 12 years, 1 month ago

Beatrice - Money CAN buy happiness. If I had enough money to pay off the cars and the house, plus enough more to invest and just live off the interest, I would be happier. I would be very much happier to stay at home and enjoy spending time with my family rather than working for the next 25 years to pay for the house, cars, utilities, food, tuition, taxes, etc.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 1 month ago

Wow - how do you know I don't look like the Pillsbury dough boy? I do have rather attractive typing fingers though! And Beatrice and I can work a pole like nobody's business.

I am incredibly flattered!

kcwarpony 12 years, 1 month ago

Yumm...wild onions. That means spring is here and time to eat! TOB, want any recipes?

Drew_Carey 12 years, 1 month ago

I just got home and had a chance to look at acg's Jesus dress up. That Cowardly Lion...we may just have to close up the board and concede the game to her for that one. ACG gets 1500 amazing pts.I may never stop laughing.

Also 2000 pts for a friend who told a Ks Brd Of Education Member (one of the Good Ones) that he "had been touched by His Noodly Appendage!" I believe you are familar with whom I am referring!

Please, if you're eating the wild onion recipes, remember to post a warning to your date before getting into comfined spaces or going to the movies! Unless like the dad on the red meat comics, you're trying to get the good seats!

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