That could actually be the end of this post right there. I mean, what more really needs to be said, unless you want to know why. If so, then read on my friends. Read on.
I had a lot of different jobs growing up: a sandwich shop, which lasted all of one week because I was skimping on the tuna (Side note: I later became a vegetarian), Starbucks, which I loved and hold near and dear to my heart to this day, and babysitting, where I was a natural. As the eldest of three girls, I was in charge and I liked it that way. It’s no wonder I parlayed those bossy aka leadership skills into owning my own company.
This little Venn diagram, above, really captures the essence of finding a dream career. It’s by combining these three areas that I created my dream job: working with struggling students and their families.
Here’s I how I did it.
Stuff I Love to Do
I love chocolate. Sadly, there were no openings for chocolate taste-tester when I graduated with my Bachelors in Psychology right after 9/11 or graduated from law school during the Great Recession (man, I have the worst timing when it comes to graduations!). I relegated chocolate to more of a hobby rather than a career, a decision that my waist line thanked me for.
Other things I love:
- I love to travel.
- I love to be independent.
- I love cooking – throwing a little bit of this in the pan or a little bit of that in the oven and seeing if it tastes good.
- I love knowing that I’m part of something bigger than myself, a movement of change if you will.
- I love talking with people one on one. I get lost in big groups but a 1:1 conversation is where I feel at home.
- I love to uncover the whys of things but then go a step further and figure out a possible solution. I’m not afraid of going outside of the box, in fact, I welcome it and have to be cognizant of sometimes pushing the envelope too far just to see what will happen.
Stuff I’m Good At
- I’m good at strategy – anticipating both sides of an argument and being prepared to address each of those issues with reasonable solutions.
- I’m good at administrative paperwork, and boy are there a lot of reports and forms and emails when you own your own business!
- I’m good at the practicals of life. Getting things done with organization and care.
- I’m good at seeing the potential in someone or an idea — a potential that may be hidden under a cloud of naysayers, sadness or frustration.
- I’m good at navigating government entities, like schools.
- I’m good at working with kids, and, in fact, sometimes I think I still am one. Or maybe that’s just my child-like innocence.
Stuff Someone Will Pay Me to Do
So here’s the big question: How I can prepare my kids (or myself) to find a career that will combine the stuff they love to do with the stuff they are good at? The answer may be as simple as: you can’t.
There may not be a traditional career out there for someone who possesses all the talents and gifts that your kids do. Yes they will find bits and pieces of their dream job by taking a traditional route but the reality is that nothing is perfect and no one loves every, single aspect of their job. Do I love billing? No! Do I make it a priority? Yes, because I have to.
How I Combined the Stuff I was Good At & Loved to Do and Got Paid to Make a Difference
After two degrees and mounds of debt, I set forth on a quest to combine my passion for advocacy with my love of education. I fell back on the “Stuff that I was Good At & Stuff I loved to do” skill set, and began privately tutoring students struggling in school. I quickly realized that their poor grades was often a symptom that something else was wrong: a behavior challenge, learning difference, social skills need, or family dynamic concern. In response to this overwhelming need, I added Special Education Advocacy, Family Coaching, Coordinating Care, School Placement, and In-Home/At-School Behavior Support to my repertoire thus creating a One-Stop Comprehensive In-Home & At-School Support Service for the Struggling Student. I founded Terry Tutors on the premise that collaboration is the key to a student’s success story and made it my mission to bridge the gap between home and school support by providing short-term, direct intervention services with an end goal of teaching The Struggling Student to self-advocate and navigate their own educational and life plans.
My story is one of practical problem solver who needed a self-sustaining, meaningful career that utilized her talents, education, and desire to change the world. The thing that gets me out of bed is the feeling that I’m doing my part to make a difference – to evoke real change. Money, Power, and Titles only provide interim fulfillment.
So instead of asking our children what they want to be when they grow up, we should be helping them identify what they love, what they’re good at, and how to combine those talents to get paid in the real world.
Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Comprehensive Wraparound Service for The Struggling Student, which includes Academic, Behavior, Special Education Advocacy, and School Placement services. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com.