Tag Archives: Careers

The First by Valerie J. Patterson

My very first job was with a florist when I was 14 years old.  I loved it.  I kept that job through college.  I started out cleaning the corporate offices and worked my way up to sales during their holiday open houses and summer sales.  I learned a lot during my time there.  I grew up a lot during my time there, too.  In my living room is a Pothos I’ve had since 1983.  My boss gave it to me.  My family and friends affectionately call it Killer because it has grown so large that its vines have at times been 10-13 feet long.  We have pictures of our cat hiding amongst the vines, and she’s barely visible!  My first job was a good fit and I remember my time there fondly.

My youngest niece began her very first job on Wednesday.  She’s working as a sales associate for a clothing store, and she’s very excited about her new job, about her new responsibilities, and about her newly acquired “earning power”.  I can’t wait to hear about receiving her first paycheck.  Granted, going to school and working part time does not allow you to earn a fat paycheck, but that never seems to matter with a first job.  It’s more about the fact you’re now earning your own money and gaining more independence than you’ve ever had before.  It also goes a long way in proving you’re growing up.

It’s that last point that makes me a little sad.  My nieces and I have always had good relationships, and I’ve enjoyed watching them grow and mature and become their own persons.  However, a job means crossing the threshold from childhood to adulthood, and that means changes that become permanent.

I’m not really ready to let go of the giggles, the daydreams, and the silly girl talk.  While at the same time, I’m excited for her to be at the beginning of such a fantastic journey to figuring out who she is and what she wants to be.  Plus, I figure no matter how old she gets, I’ll always see the little girl who loved to play in the snow with her aunt until her fingers and toes were blue!

What about you?  Remember your first job?

Until next time…may the sunshine of spring warm you and bring a smile to your lips.


I Have A Dream by Valerie J. Patterson

When you were a little kid, what did you dream you would be when you finally grew up?  Every child has big dreams.  Fireman.  Astronaut.  Beauty Queen.  Doctor.  Race car driver.  Super hero.  As we grow and our world widens and our interests change and expand, our dreams also change and expand, and then become more realistic as we approach high school and then university.

For me, I had three dreams that stayed with me my entire childhood.  I wanted to be an actress, a writer, and I wanted to be an ace reporter for my local newspaper, The Daily News.  For as long as I can remember, these dreams were with me.

My grandma’s back yard was my very first stage.  She had this amazing copse of Blue Spruce pine trees at the rear of her property.  I used to slip between the branches and enter the inner circle.  It was beautiful inside that circle of pine.  The floor was blanketed with pine needles and the huge, aged boughs shielded me from view and provided what I thought was an incredible background.  That inner circle was also a great acoustical environment (or so I thought).  I loved to sing while I was inside those Blue Spruce boughs.  I would host my very own variety show right there in the inner circle.

I was in the school plays and musicals.  In college, I was part of the drama fraternity, and an actress with the college players.  After getting married, I joined the local theatre troupe and for several years people bought tickets to see me perform on stage.  People.  Not just family, but strangers, too.  What a rush!  It was enough for me.  I didn’t have to hitch a ride to Hollywood and wait tables until my big break came along.

One dream realized.

Still, every once in a while I want to stand atop a table in a restaurant and break out in song, but the fear of food being chucked at me prevents this from happening!

I am a writer.  I love to create characters, settings, and write dialogue.  I enjoy the task of constructing a tightly woven mystery for my heroine to solve.  I love sinking my teeth into research for a new book.  I thrive on reviews of my work.  I greatly enjoy being invited to be a guest speaker and the opportunity to tell others about my work and how I got to the place where I am in my writing career.  And, I admit, I really enjoy the pleasure I feel when someone asks me to autograph a book for them.  It’s even better when it’s my book they ask me to autograph!  (sorry, couldn’t resist that wee little joke)

Two dreams realized.

After getting married, I relocated to another part of the state of Pennsylvania and left behind the biggest of my three dreams.  That dream of being an ace reporter for the Daily News.  I used to daydream about pounding the pavement to get a quote for a story.  Hunting down the underdog for a feel-good feature.  Doing tons of research for that big story that would crack a case wide open in an award-winning investigative piece.  Meeting deadlines.  Editing my work to fit a column width.  Flashing my credentials to get into places.  Being a valued member of The Press!

Why I never pursued a career with any other newspaper is beyond me.  I guess life moved forward and I moved with it.  I began a career in finance that took over my life for eleven years and, by the time I left it, it seemed too late to go back to my dream.  I was long past the day of my college graduation.  I was no longer a freshly scrubbed face seeking her first job.  I pursued other avenues.  But the dream never left me.  It never changed.  It just remained unfulfilled.

There’s a new reality TV show called The Moment where people are given the chance of a lifetime to capture the biggest moment in their lives by fulfilling their dream career that life interrupted.  I am not a fan of reality TV.  However, the premise is an interesting one, isn’t it?

If someone came to you and handed you the opportunity to make your one big dream come true, would you take it?  I would.  I would want to know if I had what it took to be that reporter or if the diverted path I chose was my dream life after all.

But then…I think, maybe I don’t want to know.  Maybe it’s best left a dream unrealized instead of a dream shattered.

What about you?  What’s your dream?  Don’t be shy…share!

Until next time…