I was 14 heading into 9th grade. Everyone in my class had to write a personal profile paper based on MOIS career research (Michigan Occupational Information System). My personal profile, neatly written in cursive, clearly indicates I knew my career path and tendencies then.
On my last visit home to Traverse City, my mom pulled out a tub from storage filled with class projects and papers I had written, perfectly preserved. I leafed through them with interest, admiring my penmanship. The personal profile paper dated Oct. 28th, 1983 stopped my random shuffling of assignments. I pulled it closer and began reading. The content struck a chord! Apparently, I knew then, what I wanted to do when I grew up.
Why hadn’t my mom or dad handed this to me when I was entering college, trying to figure out my major at $20K per year? I think it was post grad school before advertising and communication careers entered the realm of possibility?
Excerpts from my personal-paper paper:
The MOIS career research showed me that my interests are mostly in commercial art. Artists can set their own working hours and I would write a daily comic or comic strip in a local newspaper or magazine. Or if I worked with lettering you would select a style a lettering to match the product or advertisement you were working on. In order to become successful you should have a four-year program in college or in art school.
In order to hold this job, you must be able to do certain things like think up new ideas and create something new. I know I will have to do a lot of work to start off. In art you make a reasonable salary. Art directors can make around $40,000 or more a year. The reasons I like this type of job is because you can set your own working hours. No one can boss you around and give you orders.
Fast forward to 2015. I’ve owned a creative firm since 2003 (FineLine Creative) that specializes in commercial art and advertising (aka graphic design and marketing) and I write content for a living, like blogs, brochures and websites. I also am a contributing writer to a start-up regional magazine (WM Plus). How did I get there? I completed my four-year degree and continued on to get a master of arts in communications. Just as my profile paper suggested, this education would benefit my career and contribute to a reasonable salary. (Reasonable salary is still accurate enough, meaning enough but not a lot).
On a daily basis, my job is to think up new ideas (aka headlines, taglines and snappy marketing speak). The paper was right about putting in hard work (including working for idiot bosses along the way) before reaching ultimate career goals or in my case owning my own agency. And, what does every kid and adult want? Not to be bossed around, to set your own schedule! Being my own boss has certainly contributed to achieving that goal.
I’ve reread the profile paper three-times now, positively amazed that my 14-year old self had so much insight about what my future would hold. So, next week at dinner, ask your young teen what they want to do when they grow up. If they say a doctor, astronaut, ninja, ballerina, ski bum, lawyer, artist or writer…he/she might not be totally off base.