Ask A Wench: The Road Not Taken

Susan here, with our Ask-A-Wench question for May, in which we ponder what might have been:

If you had not Negative-space-pen-notebook-notepad-paper-writing-aaron-burden-thumb-1 become a career writer, what sort of work do you think you'd be doing today?

Teacher, archaeologist, journalist, other dreams–we Wenches might all be in different places in life now if we hadn’t pursued the writing urge. Read on for our thoughts on what we had planned to do once upon a time, and how our paths changed. And then let us know what you might be doing today if you had taken a different path in life!

Pat here:

As a kid in elementary school, pecking away at my father’s typewriter on Nancy Drew style mysteries, I figured my chances of earning a living at writing were nil. I was pretty practical even then, and I didn’t want to end up as an old maid in an attic full of cats. Obviously, I read too much as well. <G>

 So as a teen, I decided I’d be a journalist. I read newspapers front to back, could see the power of the pen, and knew I could write. Unfortunately, when I reached university and had to interview subjects for the school newspaper, my epic shyness insured that I fail big time. I gave up that dream and went to work full time in a Sears accounting department. I’d been working with finance since I was sixteen and realized it mostly allowed me to work without people. Voila—a new career!

 I returned to school, got my accounting degree, passed the CPA test, and sold my first book the week I started my accounting career. It took years before my writing income exceeded my salary. . .  Had my employer actually paid me a living wage, I might not be a writer today.

Oh c’mon, who am I fooling? I might have had to write at midnight, but I would never have quit writing.

Christina says:  

I didn’t become a writer/author until fairly late in life and never imagined I would – before that I worked as a St_Ninians_Priory _Whithorn_Archaeological_Dig secretary. I can’t say that was my dream job, even though I sort of enjoyed it. I’m organised, fast at typing and actually love filing and answering the phone, so from that point of view it was probably a good fit for me. I also speak four languages, so I was able to use those in my job from time to time, especially when I worked in the office of a hotel. However, it wasn’t at all what I wanted to do.

My dream job would have been archaeologist. Ever since I first heard about Tutanhkamun, that sounded like the most thrilling work ever. To be allowed to search for clues from the past, scrape away soil to reveal things that have been hidden for millennia, and possibly come across treasure – that would be fabulous! Unfortunately, I was a very lazy teenager and, at that time, I didn’t want it enough to work hard at studying. Instead I took the easy way out and coasted along on the subjects that came easily to me – languages – while ignoring everything else. When it was time for university, that’s what I ended up studying, even though I didn’t actually want to work either as a teacher or translator. So I emerged with a degree I had absolutely no use for and no marketable skills when it came to finding a job. Being practical, my parents sent me off to a secretarial school for a year and there we are … Still, the fast typing is probably the one skill I’ve had most use for in my life and now I get to write about archaeology and history instead of grubbing around in the dirt for it, so everything worked out OK in the end!

1024px-Ocean_Tribe_Scuba_Diving_HavelockAndrea says:

I actually did have a career before I started writing, and then slowly but surely pivoted to "the pen" as my full-time job. 

It, too, was in publications, as I am a graphic designer by training and worked as the creative director for a magazine, designing the art and stories. (I think I have always had a left brain-right-brain love affair with the printed page.) I also did some travel and lifestyle writing, and enjoyed it a lot. But I found I liked storytelling even more, so after writing my first book—a traditional Regency romance—I began working toward the goal of being able to write as more than a hobby.
 
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I did have another dream job when I was in junior high school. After watching a number of documentary films on Jacques Cousteau and his research ship the Calypso, I was sure that I wanted to be a marine biologist. Never mind that science wasn’t my strong suit. I loved biology but chemistry really flummoxed me (actually I just wasn’t interested in it) and so my science career floundered after ninth grade biology. And as my mother tactfully pointed out back then, I am prone seasickness, so that's another reason It might not have been a good career path! 
 
I feel very fortunate that I get to do what I do. 

Logo_designer_using_pen_and_paperFrom Mary Jo:

What would I do if I wasn't a writer?  Interesting question!  I have two college degrees, one in British literature and one in Industrial Design.  The lit degree was because I liked to read and had to pick a major.  Industrial Design was a result of dating a guy in that program and thinking that design looked pretty interesting. (It did not escape my notice that it would provide specific, marketable skills.) 

So I earned a BID and worked as a designer, mostly graphic design, in California and England and Maryland, and eventually became a full time freelance designer: income variable, but a lot more elbow room.   

When personal computers started creeping into the world, I bought one from general curiosity and also to do small copy writing jobs for design clients who didn't want to write for themselves.  The world changed when the Mayhem Consultant showed me how to use the word processing program, I decided to see if I could write a story, and the rest is history. 

I started writing at the point in time when the design field was transitioning from traditional drafting board and paste-up work to using computers for most creative work.  This was a major shift, and because I was starting to write, I never learned how to design on a computer.  If I'd continued to work as a designer, I would have had to learn computer design skills and surely would have bought a Mac rather than staying with a PC.            

Oddly, I'd always had the sense that I wouldn't be doing design by age 50–and I wasn't.  Not that I knew what else I'd be doing! I never imagined that I'd be a career novelist–it seemed an impossible dream.  (Though the possibility had occasionally floated through my mind, it was very much an impossible dream.)

If this writing thing hadn't worked out, maybe I'd have become a real estate agent because I like houses, but I'm not terribly accurate on detail work, which is an essential requirement for realtors.  So it's fortunate that the writing thing has worked out. <G>

Shelves_of_Language_Books_in_LibraryNicola here:

When I was a child growing up in the UK in the 1970s, the glamorous career choice was to be an air hostess. However I preferred the idea of being an air traffic controller and for a few years in my teens, that was my ambition. Then I failed my Geography GCSE exam which was a pre-requisite for the job, and decided to study history instead!

I didn’t have much idea of what I wanted to do as a career when i left university with my history degree – even in 1985 the only career options suggested for girls at my college was to become a teacher or a librarian whilst the boys were asked if they wanted to join MI5! I sort of fell into a job in university administration and continued with that until I started writing full time. I didn’t love it in the way I love writing but I enjoyed some aspects of it.

It’s interesting to ponder whether I would have carried on as a university administrator if I hadn’t become a writer or whether I might have changed careers anyway as I grew more and more interested in history. Perhaps I might have worked in a museum or historic house, or perhaps I might have opened a bookshop which is still my not-so-secret dream!

WinterGreensAnne here.

Had I not become a professional writer (for which I'm hugely grateful) I would probably have continued working as a teacher. I loved teaching, loved working out how best to get concepts through to different students, and I also loved my evening classes where I taught adults how to read. That was very rewarding. I could probably keep doing that now, but mainstream teaching has changed now, and has less flexibility for teachers to adapt things to suit students better, and there's masses more administration, so I wouldn't want to go back to that. I still do a little bit of teaching here and there, when asked — mainly short courses and workshops on various aspects of fiction writing, which I love, but if I hadn't become a writer I wouldn't be doing that.

So now, I would probably be a potterer — no, that's not a typo, and I don't mean I'd be making pots. I'd be happily pottering around, floating from one project to another — making necklaces and earrings for a while, and then on to planting and weeding in my garden — I'm about to plant something called "perpetual spinach," as well as some bulbs that I'm planning to put in pots. I might move on to some sewing and make some cushions for my new house, and then maybe make something gorgeous in precious metal silver clay — there's no limit to what might take my fancy. I'd be going where the whim took me. Sounds gorgeous, doesn't it? But looking around at the dozens of boxes of books with nowhere to put them, for a short time, at least, I'm probably not going to be a potterer and only a part-time author: I'll mostly be an evil book-culler.

3379cb3f8f8c3df76627e082842752a2And Susan:

Several years ago, my father came across my second-grade report card, in which the teacher had written “Susie is a great little storyteller!” We had a good laugh (what did she mean??), but I did love writing and illustrating stories as a kid, and I kept on writing and drawing, loving it. As a little girl, what I really wanted to be was a doctor. My grandfather was a small-town doc with offices in his house, and we lived nearby, so I was there often, always curious, and he encouraged my interest. Eventually I realized there was a LOT of math and science involved, and since I was all about art and writing, the medical dream went out the window. I was also fascinated by ancient Egypt and any sort of history, and wanted to be an archaeologist (Wench Christina and I would have been great friends as kids!). I went to art school on a scholarship, planning to teach art–and then I took an art history course. And another. And another. 

Art, writing, and history were a magic combination for me, and I went to graduate school to become an academic art historian, at first majoring in ancient art and archaeology. When my professor moved to Australia, I switched my major to medieval, and found another happy combo–art, writing, medieval studies, and soon lecturing in art history. Meanwhile, I married and had three little guys, so those were busy years! I still played with writing fiction just for a fun escape.

Art historians need a good eye, a ton of factual knowledge, strong writing skills, a knack for deep research, and the imagination to knit it all together. Unbeknownst to me, it was great training for a historical novelist. As I worked in art history, I imagined the lives of the people behind the art and historical records, and the urge to write fiction became more insistent. Drawing inspiration from my dissertation research, I started writing a novel. One thing led to another, and before long, I had a publishing contract and could be a work-at-home mom. I meant to return to academia when the littles were older, but the writing thing worked out pretty well (and even with grown-up kids, the motherhood career continues!).

Today, I'm incredibly grateful that my wandering paths converged to lead to such a surprising and fun destination!   

How about you? Are you doing what you always wanted to do, or has your path in life changed to lead you where you are today? 

80 thoughts on “Ask A Wench: The Road Not Taken”

  1. I always wrote stories when I was young & all through high school and some in college. I definitely thought I wanted to be a writer. Of course, I was an avid reader as well. I also took music lessons and sang in special groups from little on so I knew that was going to be my college major – my passion. Like Christina my parents said you have to have something to fall back on (not artistically related!) to make a living so I took all the secretarial courses too! I’m good at that sort of thing exactly like Christina. Well, the writing fell by the wayside but between music & office managering I’ve had a well fulfilled life pretty much as I had planned. What are the odds? I don’t know but it sure worked out well.

    Reply
  2. I always wrote stories when I was young & all through high school and some in college. I definitely thought I wanted to be a writer. Of course, I was an avid reader as well. I also took music lessons and sang in special groups from little on so I knew that was going to be my college major – my passion. Like Christina my parents said you have to have something to fall back on (not artistically related!) to make a living so I took all the secretarial courses too! I’m good at that sort of thing exactly like Christina. Well, the writing fell by the wayside but between music & office managering I’ve had a well fulfilled life pretty much as I had planned. What are the odds? I don’t know but it sure worked out well.

    Reply
  3. I always wrote stories when I was young & all through high school and some in college. I definitely thought I wanted to be a writer. Of course, I was an avid reader as well. I also took music lessons and sang in special groups from little on so I knew that was going to be my college major – my passion. Like Christina my parents said you have to have something to fall back on (not artistically related!) to make a living so I took all the secretarial courses too! I’m good at that sort of thing exactly like Christina. Well, the writing fell by the wayside but between music & office managering I’ve had a well fulfilled life pretty much as I had planned. What are the odds? I don’t know but it sure worked out well.

    Reply
  4. I always wrote stories when I was young & all through high school and some in college. I definitely thought I wanted to be a writer. Of course, I was an avid reader as well. I also took music lessons and sang in special groups from little on so I knew that was going to be my college major – my passion. Like Christina my parents said you have to have something to fall back on (not artistically related!) to make a living so I took all the secretarial courses too! I’m good at that sort of thing exactly like Christina. Well, the writing fell by the wayside but between music & office managering I’ve had a well fulfilled life pretty much as I had planned. What are the odds? I don’t know but it sure worked out well.

    Reply
  5. I always wrote stories when I was young & all through high school and some in college. I definitely thought I wanted to be a writer. Of course, I was an avid reader as well. I also took music lessons and sang in special groups from little on so I knew that was going to be my college major – my passion. Like Christina my parents said you have to have something to fall back on (not artistically related!) to make a living so I took all the secretarial courses too! I’m good at that sort of thing exactly like Christina. Well, the writing fell by the wayside but between music & office managering I’ve had a well fulfilled life pretty much as I had planned. What are the odds? I don’t know but it sure worked out well.

    Reply
  6. Science has been a lifelong passion for me. One can think of it as studying the ways that the universe is screwed together and thereby gaining insight into the mind of God or the Creator. Reading Dirac’s book on Quantum theory at University convinced me where my future lay …. never regretted it!
    I love the way that the Wenches weave romance and history together and am really grateful that y’all abandoned the day jobs to entertain us so well.
    Now that many women are finding successful careers in science maybe more will find time to mix romance with the history of science in novels. I hope so!

    Reply
  7. Science has been a lifelong passion for me. One can think of it as studying the ways that the universe is screwed together and thereby gaining insight into the mind of God or the Creator. Reading Dirac’s book on Quantum theory at University convinced me where my future lay …. never regretted it!
    I love the way that the Wenches weave romance and history together and am really grateful that y’all abandoned the day jobs to entertain us so well.
    Now that many women are finding successful careers in science maybe more will find time to mix romance with the history of science in novels. I hope so!

    Reply
  8. Science has been a lifelong passion for me. One can think of it as studying the ways that the universe is screwed together and thereby gaining insight into the mind of God or the Creator. Reading Dirac’s book on Quantum theory at University convinced me where my future lay …. never regretted it!
    I love the way that the Wenches weave romance and history together and am really grateful that y’all abandoned the day jobs to entertain us so well.
    Now that many women are finding successful careers in science maybe more will find time to mix romance with the history of science in novels. I hope so!

    Reply
  9. Science has been a lifelong passion for me. One can think of it as studying the ways that the universe is screwed together and thereby gaining insight into the mind of God or the Creator. Reading Dirac’s book on Quantum theory at University convinced me where my future lay …. never regretted it!
    I love the way that the Wenches weave romance and history together and am really grateful that y’all abandoned the day jobs to entertain us so well.
    Now that many women are finding successful careers in science maybe more will find time to mix romance with the history of science in novels. I hope so!

    Reply
  10. Science has been a lifelong passion for me. One can think of it as studying the ways that the universe is screwed together and thereby gaining insight into the mind of God or the Creator. Reading Dirac’s book on Quantum theory at University convinced me where my future lay …. never regretted it!
    I love the way that the Wenches weave romance and history together and am really grateful that y’all abandoned the day jobs to entertain us so well.
    Now that many women are finding successful careers in science maybe more will find time to mix romance with the history of science in novels. I hope so!

    Reply
  11. It’s funny, I was in the rapidly changing software development field. I started off as a COBOL programmer writing banking software. I knew – or thought I did – that I would never be able to get to retirement with this. So I reinvented myself and learned server architecture. I later became the database administrator of the software package. I retired at the end of June ‘21. And the irony of all of that is that I actually COULD have retired as a COBOL programmer, but the route I took was way more fun!

    Reply
  12. It’s funny, I was in the rapidly changing software development field. I started off as a COBOL programmer writing banking software. I knew – or thought I did – that I would never be able to get to retirement with this. So I reinvented myself and learned server architecture. I later became the database administrator of the software package. I retired at the end of June ‘21. And the irony of all of that is that I actually COULD have retired as a COBOL programmer, but the route I took was way more fun!

    Reply
  13. It’s funny, I was in the rapidly changing software development field. I started off as a COBOL programmer writing banking software. I knew – or thought I did – that I would never be able to get to retirement with this. So I reinvented myself and learned server architecture. I later became the database administrator of the software package. I retired at the end of June ‘21. And the irony of all of that is that I actually COULD have retired as a COBOL programmer, but the route I took was way more fun!

    Reply
  14. It’s funny, I was in the rapidly changing software development field. I started off as a COBOL programmer writing banking software. I knew – or thought I did – that I would never be able to get to retirement with this. So I reinvented myself and learned server architecture. I later became the database administrator of the software package. I retired at the end of June ‘21. And the irony of all of that is that I actually COULD have retired as a COBOL programmer, but the route I took was way more fun!

    Reply
  15. It’s funny, I was in the rapidly changing software development field. I started off as a COBOL programmer writing banking software. I knew – or thought I did – that I would never be able to get to retirement with this. So I reinvented myself and learned server architecture. I later became the database administrator of the software package. I retired at the end of June ‘21. And the irony of all of that is that I actually COULD have retired as a COBOL programmer, but the route I took was way more fun!

    Reply
  16. I’m the reverse – I always wanted to be a writer but took the easier path when it presented itself. My grandfather had started a bookstore in 1961, when I was a kid, which my mom took over on his death. When she decided to retire (my father had a heart attack at 52) I took over the ownership of the bookstore. Spent 35 years working there, running it by myself, and enjoyed almost every minute! There were a few exceptions but days spent talking about books, trying to figure out authors individual customers would like, was awesome. I did spend a summer banging out a funny romance (enjoyed myself enormously) but after Harlequin and Mills and Boon said no thanks to my synopsis I put it back in the drawer. I’m 69 now and spending as much time as I can with my husband as we seemed to spend a lot of our time apart when we were younger due to jobs and very different interests – so not a lot of time to try again. You all have my utmost admiration for accomplishing your goals and providing us all with amazing reading. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  17. I’m the reverse – I always wanted to be a writer but took the easier path when it presented itself. My grandfather had started a bookstore in 1961, when I was a kid, which my mom took over on his death. When she decided to retire (my father had a heart attack at 52) I took over the ownership of the bookstore. Spent 35 years working there, running it by myself, and enjoyed almost every minute! There were a few exceptions but days spent talking about books, trying to figure out authors individual customers would like, was awesome. I did spend a summer banging out a funny romance (enjoyed myself enormously) but after Harlequin and Mills and Boon said no thanks to my synopsis I put it back in the drawer. I’m 69 now and spending as much time as I can with my husband as we seemed to spend a lot of our time apart when we were younger due to jobs and very different interests – so not a lot of time to try again. You all have my utmost admiration for accomplishing your goals and providing us all with amazing reading. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  18. I’m the reverse – I always wanted to be a writer but took the easier path when it presented itself. My grandfather had started a bookstore in 1961, when I was a kid, which my mom took over on his death. When she decided to retire (my father had a heart attack at 52) I took over the ownership of the bookstore. Spent 35 years working there, running it by myself, and enjoyed almost every minute! There were a few exceptions but days spent talking about books, trying to figure out authors individual customers would like, was awesome. I did spend a summer banging out a funny romance (enjoyed myself enormously) but after Harlequin and Mills and Boon said no thanks to my synopsis I put it back in the drawer. I’m 69 now and spending as much time as I can with my husband as we seemed to spend a lot of our time apart when we were younger due to jobs and very different interests – so not a lot of time to try again. You all have my utmost admiration for accomplishing your goals and providing us all with amazing reading. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  19. I’m the reverse – I always wanted to be a writer but took the easier path when it presented itself. My grandfather had started a bookstore in 1961, when I was a kid, which my mom took over on his death. When she decided to retire (my father had a heart attack at 52) I took over the ownership of the bookstore. Spent 35 years working there, running it by myself, and enjoyed almost every minute! There were a few exceptions but days spent talking about books, trying to figure out authors individual customers would like, was awesome. I did spend a summer banging out a funny romance (enjoyed myself enormously) but after Harlequin and Mills and Boon said no thanks to my synopsis I put it back in the drawer. I’m 69 now and spending as much time as I can with my husband as we seemed to spend a lot of our time apart when we were younger due to jobs and very different interests – so not a lot of time to try again. You all have my utmost admiration for accomplishing your goals and providing us all with amazing reading. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  20. I’m the reverse – I always wanted to be a writer but took the easier path when it presented itself. My grandfather had started a bookstore in 1961, when I was a kid, which my mom took over on his death. When she decided to retire (my father had a heart attack at 52) I took over the ownership of the bookstore. Spent 35 years working there, running it by myself, and enjoyed almost every minute! There were a few exceptions but days spent talking about books, trying to figure out authors individual customers would like, was awesome. I did spend a summer banging out a funny romance (enjoyed myself enormously) but after Harlequin and Mills and Boon said no thanks to my synopsis I put it back in the drawer. I’m 69 now and spending as much time as I can with my husband as we seemed to spend a lot of our time apart when we were younger due to jobs and very different interests – so not a lot of time to try again. You all have my utmost admiration for accomplishing your goals and providing us all with amazing reading. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  21. What a fun post! Thank you all for sharing.
    As for me, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up….

    Reply
  22. What a fun post! Thank you all for sharing.
    As for me, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up….

    Reply
  23. What a fun post! Thank you all for sharing.
    As for me, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up….

    Reply
  24. What a fun post! Thank you all for sharing.
    As for me, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up….

    Reply
  25. What a fun post! Thank you all for sharing.
    As for me, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up….

    Reply
  26. Susan-I started changing the ending to Little Women when I was 10, but I never had the chutzpah (nerve) to dream I could be a writer. When I started college, my major was biology. But during that first week of school, I wanted to try out for the chamber chorus and found out I’d have to be a music major. So I switched my major. I was going to be a great opera singer. I went to Florida State for my masters in voice-and discovered I had a real talent for research. So I switched to library science. After about 11 years in the library, a story surfaced one day while I was on the way to work. And I finally had the chutzpah to write those words down. Those first words led to short stories, and then to novels. Publicizing my work led other authors to ask if I could help with their own PR, which I’m still doing. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. I feel a sudden urge to start quoting Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not taken…”

    Reply
  27. Susan-I started changing the ending to Little Women when I was 10, but I never had the chutzpah (nerve) to dream I could be a writer. When I started college, my major was biology. But during that first week of school, I wanted to try out for the chamber chorus and found out I’d have to be a music major. So I switched my major. I was going to be a great opera singer. I went to Florida State for my masters in voice-and discovered I had a real talent for research. So I switched to library science. After about 11 years in the library, a story surfaced one day while I was on the way to work. And I finally had the chutzpah to write those words down. Those first words led to short stories, and then to novels. Publicizing my work led other authors to ask if I could help with their own PR, which I’m still doing. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. I feel a sudden urge to start quoting Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not taken…”

    Reply
  28. Susan-I started changing the ending to Little Women when I was 10, but I never had the chutzpah (nerve) to dream I could be a writer. When I started college, my major was biology. But during that first week of school, I wanted to try out for the chamber chorus and found out I’d have to be a music major. So I switched my major. I was going to be a great opera singer. I went to Florida State for my masters in voice-and discovered I had a real talent for research. So I switched to library science. After about 11 years in the library, a story surfaced one day while I was on the way to work. And I finally had the chutzpah to write those words down. Those first words led to short stories, and then to novels. Publicizing my work led other authors to ask if I could help with their own PR, which I’m still doing. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. I feel a sudden urge to start quoting Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not taken…”

    Reply
  29. Susan-I started changing the ending to Little Women when I was 10, but I never had the chutzpah (nerve) to dream I could be a writer. When I started college, my major was biology. But during that first week of school, I wanted to try out for the chamber chorus and found out I’d have to be a music major. So I switched my major. I was going to be a great opera singer. I went to Florida State for my masters in voice-and discovered I had a real talent for research. So I switched to library science. After about 11 years in the library, a story surfaced one day while I was on the way to work. And I finally had the chutzpah to write those words down. Those first words led to short stories, and then to novels. Publicizing my work led other authors to ask if I could help with their own PR, which I’m still doing. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. I feel a sudden urge to start quoting Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not taken…”

    Reply
  30. Susan-I started changing the ending to Little Women when I was 10, but I never had the chutzpah (nerve) to dream I could be a writer. When I started college, my major was biology. But during that first week of school, I wanted to try out for the chamber chorus and found out I’d have to be a music major. So I switched my major. I was going to be a great opera singer. I went to Florida State for my masters in voice-and discovered I had a real talent for research. So I switched to library science. After about 11 years in the library, a story surfaced one day while I was on the way to work. And I finally had the chutzpah to write those words down. Those first words led to short stories, and then to novels. Publicizing my work led other authors to ask if I could help with their own PR, which I’m still doing. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. I feel a sudden urge to start quoting Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not taken…”

    Reply
  31. Janet, running a bookstore or working in a library were two of my youthful dreams. In fact a librarian course was next on my preferences after university.
    And I suspect the many books I’ve read about people inheriting or starting up bookshops is a continuation of that fantasy as well. It’s always sounded like a dream job — because of course I know nothing about the actual *work* involved, just that I would be surrounded by books and be talking to people about books all day.

    Reply
  32. Janet, running a bookstore or working in a library were two of my youthful dreams. In fact a librarian course was next on my preferences after university.
    And I suspect the many books I’ve read about people inheriting or starting up bookshops is a continuation of that fantasy as well. It’s always sounded like a dream job — because of course I know nothing about the actual *work* involved, just that I would be surrounded by books and be talking to people about books all day.

    Reply
  33. Janet, running a bookstore or working in a library were two of my youthful dreams. In fact a librarian course was next on my preferences after university.
    And I suspect the many books I’ve read about people inheriting or starting up bookshops is a continuation of that fantasy as well. It’s always sounded like a dream job — because of course I know nothing about the actual *work* involved, just that I would be surrounded by books and be talking to people about books all day.

    Reply
  34. Janet, running a bookstore or working in a library were two of my youthful dreams. In fact a librarian course was next on my preferences after university.
    And I suspect the many books I’ve read about people inheriting or starting up bookshops is a continuation of that fantasy as well. It’s always sounded like a dream job — because of course I know nothing about the actual *work* involved, just that I would be surrounded by books and be talking to people about books all day.

    Reply
  35. Janet, running a bookstore or working in a library were two of my youthful dreams. In fact a librarian course was next on my preferences after university.
    And I suspect the many books I’ve read about people inheriting or starting up bookshops is a continuation of that fantasy as well. It’s always sounded like a dream job — because of course I know nothing about the actual *work* involved, just that I would be surrounded by books and be talking to people about books all day.

    Reply
  36. Thank you all very much for sharing with us. It is interesting that each of you took different paths to your ultimate writing career. Thank you all for those ultimate careers.
    Hope everyone is happy.

    Reply
  37. Thank you all very much for sharing with us. It is interesting that each of you took different paths to your ultimate writing career. Thank you all for those ultimate careers.
    Hope everyone is happy.

    Reply
  38. Thank you all very much for sharing with us. It is interesting that each of you took different paths to your ultimate writing career. Thank you all for those ultimate careers.
    Hope everyone is happy.

    Reply
  39. Thank you all very much for sharing with us. It is interesting that each of you took different paths to your ultimate writing career. Thank you all for those ultimate careers.
    Hope everyone is happy.

    Reply
  40. Thank you all very much for sharing with us. It is interesting that each of you took different paths to your ultimate writing career. Thank you all for those ultimate careers.
    Hope everyone is happy.

    Reply
  41. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I attended college, so I ended up majoring in Elementary Ed. However at the time I graduated in the mid-1970’s, teaching jobs were scarce and very poorly paid. I ended up taking a 6 month course in computer programming, and it turned out I had a knack for it. I was a COBOL programmer for 25 years. Eventually COBOL jobs became scarce, only the very big corporations continued to use it, so I had a very long commute to work. By around age 50, I was sick of programming, and I happened to get laid off, so I decided it was time to look for some other kind of work closer to home. Luckily, I live in one of the very few states(New Jersey) that will continue to pay unemployment benefits while a person is attending college for retraining, if you can convince them that jobs are not available in your current career. Becoming a paralegal was my choice, because it seemed to fit my writing and organizational skills, and lawyers are everywhere. Back to community college I went, and after a year I immediately found a job in a small local law firm, and stayed there for 10 years, until I retired.
    As Val Jones mentioned, the irony is that COBOL programmers came into big demand again, as all of us started retiring. I could have gone back to it, but I felt like I had put in my time!

    Reply
  42. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I attended college, so I ended up majoring in Elementary Ed. However at the time I graduated in the mid-1970’s, teaching jobs were scarce and very poorly paid. I ended up taking a 6 month course in computer programming, and it turned out I had a knack for it. I was a COBOL programmer for 25 years. Eventually COBOL jobs became scarce, only the very big corporations continued to use it, so I had a very long commute to work. By around age 50, I was sick of programming, and I happened to get laid off, so I decided it was time to look for some other kind of work closer to home. Luckily, I live in one of the very few states(New Jersey) that will continue to pay unemployment benefits while a person is attending college for retraining, if you can convince them that jobs are not available in your current career. Becoming a paralegal was my choice, because it seemed to fit my writing and organizational skills, and lawyers are everywhere. Back to community college I went, and after a year I immediately found a job in a small local law firm, and stayed there for 10 years, until I retired.
    As Val Jones mentioned, the irony is that COBOL programmers came into big demand again, as all of us started retiring. I could have gone back to it, but I felt like I had put in my time!

    Reply
  43. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I attended college, so I ended up majoring in Elementary Ed. However at the time I graduated in the mid-1970’s, teaching jobs were scarce and very poorly paid. I ended up taking a 6 month course in computer programming, and it turned out I had a knack for it. I was a COBOL programmer for 25 years. Eventually COBOL jobs became scarce, only the very big corporations continued to use it, so I had a very long commute to work. By around age 50, I was sick of programming, and I happened to get laid off, so I decided it was time to look for some other kind of work closer to home. Luckily, I live in one of the very few states(New Jersey) that will continue to pay unemployment benefits while a person is attending college for retraining, if you can convince them that jobs are not available in your current career. Becoming a paralegal was my choice, because it seemed to fit my writing and organizational skills, and lawyers are everywhere. Back to community college I went, and after a year I immediately found a job in a small local law firm, and stayed there for 10 years, until I retired.
    As Val Jones mentioned, the irony is that COBOL programmers came into big demand again, as all of us started retiring. I could have gone back to it, but I felt like I had put in my time!

    Reply
  44. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I attended college, so I ended up majoring in Elementary Ed. However at the time I graduated in the mid-1970’s, teaching jobs were scarce and very poorly paid. I ended up taking a 6 month course in computer programming, and it turned out I had a knack for it. I was a COBOL programmer for 25 years. Eventually COBOL jobs became scarce, only the very big corporations continued to use it, so I had a very long commute to work. By around age 50, I was sick of programming, and I happened to get laid off, so I decided it was time to look for some other kind of work closer to home. Luckily, I live in one of the very few states(New Jersey) that will continue to pay unemployment benefits while a person is attending college for retraining, if you can convince them that jobs are not available in your current career. Becoming a paralegal was my choice, because it seemed to fit my writing and organizational skills, and lawyers are everywhere. Back to community college I went, and after a year I immediately found a job in a small local law firm, and stayed there for 10 years, until I retired.
    As Val Jones mentioned, the irony is that COBOL programmers came into big demand again, as all of us started retiring. I could have gone back to it, but I felt like I had put in my time!

    Reply
  45. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I attended college, so I ended up majoring in Elementary Ed. However at the time I graduated in the mid-1970’s, teaching jobs were scarce and very poorly paid. I ended up taking a 6 month course in computer programming, and it turned out I had a knack for it. I was a COBOL programmer for 25 years. Eventually COBOL jobs became scarce, only the very big corporations continued to use it, so I had a very long commute to work. By around age 50, I was sick of programming, and I happened to get laid off, so I decided it was time to look for some other kind of work closer to home. Luckily, I live in one of the very few states(New Jersey) that will continue to pay unemployment benefits while a person is attending college for retraining, if you can convince them that jobs are not available in your current career. Becoming a paralegal was my choice, because it seemed to fit my writing and organizational skills, and lawyers are everywhere. Back to community college I went, and after a year I immediately found a job in a small local law firm, and stayed there for 10 years, until I retired.
    As Val Jones mentioned, the irony is that COBOL programmers came into big demand again, as all of us started retiring. I could have gone back to it, but I felt like I had put in my time!

    Reply
  46. I admire you all greatly for what you have achieved in life. When I was at school I wanted to be a teacher. I don’t know how I thought that was going to happen because people like me didn’t have the means to go to college. I left school at fifteen to go working in a shop. Every penny at home helped.
    When my children were born I was a stay at home mother. I went back to work in a playschool when they went to school. I had to leave that to care for my daughter and I’ve been at home since.
    I do feel I missed out on life but now I know I wouldn’t have liked teaching. I would have loved to be an historian.
    Great enjoyable post.
    Anne, hope you’re settling into your new house.

    Reply
  47. I admire you all greatly for what you have achieved in life. When I was at school I wanted to be a teacher. I don’t know how I thought that was going to happen because people like me didn’t have the means to go to college. I left school at fifteen to go working in a shop. Every penny at home helped.
    When my children were born I was a stay at home mother. I went back to work in a playschool when they went to school. I had to leave that to care for my daughter and I’ve been at home since.
    I do feel I missed out on life but now I know I wouldn’t have liked teaching. I would have loved to be an historian.
    Great enjoyable post.
    Anne, hope you’re settling into your new house.

    Reply
  48. I admire you all greatly for what you have achieved in life. When I was at school I wanted to be a teacher. I don’t know how I thought that was going to happen because people like me didn’t have the means to go to college. I left school at fifteen to go working in a shop. Every penny at home helped.
    When my children were born I was a stay at home mother. I went back to work in a playschool when they went to school. I had to leave that to care for my daughter and I’ve been at home since.
    I do feel I missed out on life but now I know I wouldn’t have liked teaching. I would have loved to be an historian.
    Great enjoyable post.
    Anne, hope you’re settling into your new house.

    Reply
  49. I admire you all greatly for what you have achieved in life. When I was at school I wanted to be a teacher. I don’t know how I thought that was going to happen because people like me didn’t have the means to go to college. I left school at fifteen to go working in a shop. Every penny at home helped.
    When my children were born I was a stay at home mother. I went back to work in a playschool when they went to school. I had to leave that to care for my daughter and I’ve been at home since.
    I do feel I missed out on life but now I know I wouldn’t have liked teaching. I would have loved to be an historian.
    Great enjoyable post.
    Anne, hope you’re settling into your new house.

    Reply
  50. I admire you all greatly for what you have achieved in life. When I was at school I wanted to be a teacher. I don’t know how I thought that was going to happen because people like me didn’t have the means to go to college. I left school at fifteen to go working in a shop. Every penny at home helped.
    When my children were born I was a stay at home mother. I went back to work in a playschool when they went to school. I had to leave that to care for my daughter and I’ve been at home since.
    I do feel I missed out on life but now I know I wouldn’t have liked teaching. I would have loved to be an historian.
    Great enjoyable post.
    Anne, hope you’re settling into your new house.

    Reply
  51. Thanks ladies! I enjoyed reading all about your ‘dream’ jobs. I was a primary school teacher but always wanted to be an archeologist like Christina, or to own a bookshop like Nicola. My absolute dream job, though, was to be an author which I finally achieved, and am still loving!

    Reply
  52. Thanks ladies! I enjoyed reading all about your ‘dream’ jobs. I was a primary school teacher but always wanted to be an archeologist like Christina, or to own a bookshop like Nicola. My absolute dream job, though, was to be an author which I finally achieved, and am still loving!

    Reply
  53. Thanks ladies! I enjoyed reading all about your ‘dream’ jobs. I was a primary school teacher but always wanted to be an archeologist like Christina, or to own a bookshop like Nicola. My absolute dream job, though, was to be an author which I finally achieved, and am still loving!

    Reply
  54. Thanks ladies! I enjoyed reading all about your ‘dream’ jobs. I was a primary school teacher but always wanted to be an archeologist like Christina, or to own a bookshop like Nicola. My absolute dream job, though, was to be an author which I finally achieved, and am still loving!

    Reply
  55. Thanks ladies! I enjoyed reading all about your ‘dream’ jobs. I was a primary school teacher but always wanted to be an archeologist like Christina, or to own a bookshop like Nicola. My absolute dream job, though, was to be an author which I finally achieved, and am still loving!

    Reply
  56. Teresa, thanks for the good thoughts — I still have loads to unpack, but I am enjoying the new place a lot.
    What a shame you couldn’t afford to do further study. When I was leaving school there were all kinds of government schemes to pay students to attend university and teacher’s college. My state had a shortage of teachers, so they paid students to study and graduate — and gave them enough extra to live away from home. The catch was you had to teach for three years after that — but so many of my friends had these studentships, and it changed their lives. We don’t have that now, which I think is a shame. I think it’s appalling that university students graduate with a huge debt

    Reply
  57. Teresa, thanks for the good thoughts — I still have loads to unpack, but I am enjoying the new place a lot.
    What a shame you couldn’t afford to do further study. When I was leaving school there were all kinds of government schemes to pay students to attend university and teacher’s college. My state had a shortage of teachers, so they paid students to study and graduate — and gave them enough extra to live away from home. The catch was you had to teach for three years after that — but so many of my friends had these studentships, and it changed their lives. We don’t have that now, which I think is a shame. I think it’s appalling that university students graduate with a huge debt

    Reply
  58. Teresa, thanks for the good thoughts — I still have loads to unpack, but I am enjoying the new place a lot.
    What a shame you couldn’t afford to do further study. When I was leaving school there were all kinds of government schemes to pay students to attend university and teacher’s college. My state had a shortage of teachers, so they paid students to study and graduate — and gave them enough extra to live away from home. The catch was you had to teach for three years after that — but so many of my friends had these studentships, and it changed their lives. We don’t have that now, which I think is a shame. I think it’s appalling that university students graduate with a huge debt

    Reply
  59. Teresa, thanks for the good thoughts — I still have loads to unpack, but I am enjoying the new place a lot.
    What a shame you couldn’t afford to do further study. When I was leaving school there were all kinds of government schemes to pay students to attend university and teacher’s college. My state had a shortage of teachers, so they paid students to study and graduate — and gave them enough extra to live away from home. The catch was you had to teach for three years after that — but so many of my friends had these studentships, and it changed their lives. We don’t have that now, which I think is a shame. I think it’s appalling that university students graduate with a huge debt

    Reply
  60. Teresa, thanks for the good thoughts — I still have loads to unpack, but I am enjoying the new place a lot.
    What a shame you couldn’t afford to do further study. When I was leaving school there were all kinds of government schemes to pay students to attend university and teacher’s college. My state had a shortage of teachers, so they paid students to study and graduate — and gave them enough extra to live away from home. The catch was you had to teach for three years after that — but so many of my friends had these studentships, and it changed their lives. We don’t have that now, which I think is a shame. I think it’s appalling that university students graduate with a huge debt

    Reply
  61. Congratulations on achieving your dream, Marilyn — that’s wonderful. The lovely thing about writing is that you don’t need special qualifications and there’s no age restriction. You just need stories to tell.

    Reply
  62. Congratulations on achieving your dream, Marilyn — that’s wonderful. The lovely thing about writing is that you don’t need special qualifications and there’s no age restriction. You just need stories to tell.

    Reply
  63. Congratulations on achieving your dream, Marilyn — that’s wonderful. The lovely thing about writing is that you don’t need special qualifications and there’s no age restriction. You just need stories to tell.

    Reply
  64. Congratulations on achieving your dream, Marilyn — that’s wonderful. The lovely thing about writing is that you don’t need special qualifications and there’s no age restriction. You just need stories to tell.

    Reply
  65. Congratulations on achieving your dream, Marilyn — that’s wonderful. The lovely thing about writing is that you don’t need special qualifications and there’s no age restriction. You just need stories to tell.

    Reply
  66. That’s a great asset Anne. We did have grants here but even at that you had to have a certain amount of money. Going out to work helped a lot at home too. But I can’t moan really. I’ll always regret not going to college but life hasn’t been too bad along the way. As my mother used to say, ‘things could always be worse’:)

    Reply
  67. That’s a great asset Anne. We did have grants here but even at that you had to have a certain amount of money. Going out to work helped a lot at home too. But I can’t moan really. I’ll always regret not going to college but life hasn’t been too bad along the way. As my mother used to say, ‘things could always be worse’:)

    Reply
  68. That’s a great asset Anne. We did have grants here but even at that you had to have a certain amount of money. Going out to work helped a lot at home too. But I can’t moan really. I’ll always regret not going to college but life hasn’t been too bad along the way. As my mother used to say, ‘things could always be worse’:)

    Reply
  69. That’s a great asset Anne. We did have grants here but even at that you had to have a certain amount of money. Going out to work helped a lot at home too. But I can’t moan really. I’ll always regret not going to college but life hasn’t been too bad along the way. As my mother used to say, ‘things could always be worse’:)

    Reply
  70. That’s a great asset Anne. We did have grants here but even at that you had to have a certain amount of money. Going out to work helped a lot at home too. But I can’t moan really. I’ll always regret not going to college but life hasn’t been too bad along the way. As my mother used to say, ‘things could always be worse’:)

    Reply

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