There is a tipping point in a young person’s life where they get asked by their uncle “what do you want to do when you grow up”? What a retarded question to ask a 10 year old. At 10 I would challenge you to remember if you even knew what you ones own father did for a living let alone what I was going to be.
As an amateur anthropologist, my mind wanders and wonders about what it is in our brains that makes us be unique individuals. Today I sit here and add an entry to this journal and at the same time there were so many forks in the road that molded my life path. In the states we open up social introduction with the standard, what do you do for a living question and doing so limit what we get to know about this person. This job title follows us and somehow defines us. Today I sit before you and say that I am a photographer. I also wonder why that happens?
In those “Wonder Years” (ages 10 -14_ when we have learned 80% of what we will need and use in our adult life and how we channel that knowledge to a career path is the secret to happiness.
David Graves. In 1970s this man went to work on a factory line at Bristol Meyers and support his young family. I was the oldest of three. In those days it wasn’t that children were seen and not heard, it was more that my father was seen and seldom spoke. Of course he spoke when he needed to discipline but the Mr. Mom fuzziness of the modern father were not crafted into my father’s skills. Mom would remind us how hard my Dad would work to support the family. I must have been about twelve or so and somehow in the context of what I was doing with my Dad he gave me some advise. What ever you do in life be sure you like what do. You’re committed to working 8 hours for a company each day, a minimum of 40 hours a week and your going to spend more time working than being with your family, then you had better like what you’re doing. Don’t worry about the money because even if you have the money you’re going to be miserable. The Rockefellers put their pants on one leg at a time and I cant say they are any happier than you or I. It stuck and it wasn’t till many years later when I worked the line with my Dad, did I understand that he was trying to save me from the fate that his life had taken. Did he really like fixing the bottlenecks on this pill bottler that his advise was to be like him or was he helping steer me not to be like him and just punch a clock to pay the bills?
The schools at the time would test students to see if there were career paths that made sense. I wasn’t a slouch student and had good grades. They tested me and advised me that I would be a good architect or engineer. The career planner got me into a job-shadowing program at Crouse Hines; if you have seen a traffic signal then you have seen one of their products. For the times it was an advance idea, job shadowing. However, by the second day I was ready to put a gun to my head. These guys were so boring and the work was so mechanical I knew the engineer life wasn’t for me. In hindsight the experience was life changing in that at the rip age of 15 I knew what I didn’t want to do in life!
The fork in the road had me down a new path. College plans were being made and in y immediate family no one had ever gone to college. I was to be the first one. I had some engineering option is the city (NYC) and then I dawned on me. I wanted to go into commercial arts. The program at the time was advertising arts and production and it wasn’t al liberal artsy and hard to see a career path. It had real world jobs that were tied to the craft of the arts. Perfect. Dad, I am going to college to get a degree in design. To my Fathers credit, the first big fork in the road was taken. College introduced me to the world of typography, photography, design, illustration and a new field, computer arts. The use of my brain to fore sees images manifested into photography quickly. I had no real intentions of having the job description of photographer but as the photography chemicals pickled my senses, the transition happened.