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I'm going to be heading out to work soonish which is making me contemplative of my alternative career paths.

I'm not counting childhood ambitions here of growing up to be a ballerina, or a sorceress or a locksmith, but rather things I seriously contemplated doing in my adulthood.

In my last year of Uni for my two projects I studied children and animals and found animals to be infinately easier to get along with (I was doing my research on Deception in Signalling and evidence of conscious lying in primates) and then I went on to work in a zoo and discover that although the jury is still out on chimps' lying abilities they are certainly first-class pickpockets.

Animal behaviour still fascinates me though. I had been planning on going to Borneo (the last remaining natural habitat for Orangutangs) but was put-off by my mother's assertion that a person who manages to fall on flat pavement ought not to go to the jungle and that if I left to go to Borneo she would either a)go with me or b) kill herself, neither of which suggestions particularly appealed to me.

My second choice of city had been San Diego (the biggest population of captive bonobos- famous for their matriarchal society and hippie sexual habits). I read a lot of Frans de Waal's work (he has studied bonobos for years) and I have admired his job (as it is not every person who can make a career out of watching monkeys have sex).

Being a primatologist still holds much appeal. If I get tired of humans (which nowadays seems quite likely) then I wouldn't mind retiring to the jungle Dianne Fossey style (just preferrably without getting my head -or any other body part- chopped off thanks all the same). Plus, most of the people who work with monkeys are quite amusing, as there seems to be a startling correlation in terms of personality traits between the different species of our primate cousins and the people who study them- eg. the gorilla experts tend to be shy and elusive, while those who have devoted thier energies to baboons are a tough, sturdy bunch (baboons themselves being a notoriously rowdy and difficult crowd) and so on.

I am not sure what being an Orangutang Lady would have endowed me with, other than a cool job description. But still. Ah well. In some parallel universe I probably am a primatologist and have a two year old kid.

And in conclusion I put it to you then, people who read this and want to respond. What were your alternative careers- the things you originally set out to do? Things you wanted to be/worked towards but never got around to actually doing? Or
what you want to be doing vs. what you're doing now?


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 20th, 2004 03:24 am (UTC)

when i was little (10) i wanted to be a special needs teacher, or a violin teacher.

then thru highschool i wanted to be a french teacher or apecial needs teacher.

after leaving my a levels, and on going back to college as an adult and realising that i hate standing at the front ofa room, gave up on the teachibg bit.

decided i wanted to be a dietician (I'm actally a qualified nutrtionist - something that was suppsed to be a taster for dietician). whilst at college and finding out that "specialising" in an are would allow my to carry 25% of my caseload as that speviality (eating disorders) i decided that i would rather fix peoples heads than the behaviours, and decided to be a psychologist instead.

I've also flirted with thoughts of being a brit sign lang interpreter, but its bloody expensive to do.

have also considered just doing my job forever (support worker for adults with learning disabilities).

now we're on psychologist and i vary from specisalising in :self injury, eating disorders, learning difficulties,abuse and dissociaion, to doing CBT/DBT.

May. 20th, 2004 04:45 am (UTC)
It's a ChloeCat!

I think you can make very good money if you're trained in CBT/DBT. Probably makes things more varied and interesting than just specialising in one thing.

But that's my perspective of avarice/low boredom threshold.
May. 20th, 2004 04:56 am (UTC)
i keep seeing adverts for courses in the psychologist and wondering if you have to have qualified to do them.

any ideas?

if youre in tomorrow i'll ring you, as will know better when im off till (will be asking for another week at least. pref two, to get past exams ;o))

i type better when i have to type around the cat!

love you
May. 20th, 2004 05:21 am (UTC)
Will be in tomorrow in the evening for sure, should be home from 7pm onwards.

And just so you know I'm always ready and willing to lend my assistance on any shoe/clothes buying expeditions. It makes me delighted. :)

(And I was thinking of you yestereve because much cute yet loose footwear in pretty colours has come to my attention and I'm eagerly plotting introducing you to these).

love you too
May. 20th, 2004 03:27 am (UTC)
I wanted to be an astronaut for a ridiculously long time. I don't even mean in a ballerina or sorceress sort of way, I actually felt some regret that I was doing an arts degree because only scientists got to go into space. :)

More boringly, my life is stuffed with career U-turns. If events had gone very slightly differently during my first days in London, I might be a web designer. Or I could have stayed in publishing. Or if I'd taken a job straight out of college instead of further study, I could be a graphics person designing posters for little Irish films. But I've wanted to be a writer since I was 8; other ambitions have come and gone since then.

Being an orangutang lady is much cooler than that, though :)
May. 20th, 2004 04:50 am (UTC)
An Astronaut? Ooooh. :) I've always been fascinated by that but far far far too scared to be one, as a kiddie I used to have nightmares about being in a spaceship and feeling the force of the launch glue me to my seat and rearrange all the bones in my body and then seeing the Earth become terribly far far away.

On the other hand that's just my innate wimpiness at the thought of being unglued from the ground and having a long long way to fall talking.

Career U-turns are never boring at all. :)
And writing is a good ambition. I wish you loads of luck with that. :)
May. 20th, 2004 04:20 am (UTC)
Not even dolphins
I officially wanted to be a journalist but secretely I think I wanted to be a market maker more. A market maker does what everyone thinks a stockbroker does - they get shares for the highest(selling) or lowest(buying) price. So when you tell your stockbroker to buy you a thousand shares of coca cola, your stockbroker rings a market maker (who will be at proximity of the actual Stock Exchange)and tells him/her to buy the shares for "not more than..". The market maker is really in the HEAT of the action and running around living each bump of the market intensely. Not dissimilar to journalism actually. Charlie Sheen's character in the film "Wall Street" was a market maker as are the people you see screaming at each other (and using the familiar sign language) on the floor of the stock exchange. Sadly with the electronisation of the stock exchange this hyperactive coked-up image is fast becoming a thing of the past.

I have never had even the remotest desire to work with animals. What are you looking to find ?

May. 20th, 2004 04:54 am (UTC)
All about the Benjamins... ;)
I can easily imagine you living life on the hyper-energised edge.

I have never had even the remotest desire to work with animals. What are you looking to find ?

I'd be looking to find evidence of culture, and sophisitcated communication (such as manipulation, conscious deception) and other signs of a social intelligence. But mostly for me the beauty of animal behaviour is being allowed to simply observe to be a ghost in a way, catching a glimpse of a secret world.

And I love animals, I always have done, I find them wonderfully relaxing to be around (animals tend to be very psychic, especially in the wild, and respond to quite subtle signals) and cross-species communication to me is thrilling.
(Deleted comment)
May. 20th, 2004 08:25 am (UTC)
*elusive* is the key here

May. 20th, 2004 07:10 am (UTC)
I wanted to be a paleontologist from way back, digging up dinosaurs. I got the impression though when I was going to college that my father wanted another chemist, and I was volunteering in a pharmacy, so I majored in pharmacy. I quit that, and tried a few more majors before I just dropped out. A decade later I decided to go back and majored in geology, which seemed a start for paleontology. I found out I enjoyed geophysics even more than the paleontology I took (even though dinosaurs are still majorly cool), and so if I were to go back for my masters in geology, that's what I would specialize in. When I went to Asia and taught, I loved every minute in front of the class, and was told I am a natural teacher :). So, eventually I will be a physics teacher.

gui (who wishes she had the feet to go shoe-shopping)
May. 22nd, 2004 01:28 am (UTC)
Unless there are things about you I haven't realised, you do have feet. ;) So shoe-shopping is conceivable. It's like clothes shopping. The true art is in getting clothes to cater to your body not the other way around.
May. 20th, 2004 11:46 am (UTC)
I've always wanted to do everything. Which leads to doing
nothing :) I have 2 semesters to go for a B.S. in psych,
sociology, history, criminal justice, or film directing.
I'd like to be an icthyologist, marine biologist, wild-life
rehabilitator, reverand, teacher, psychiatrist, social
worker, and a pscychologist in a prison. I'd like to be
a profiler for the FBI and study serial killers. I'd like
to be a librarian.

In short, I'd like to be anything *but* a paralegal...
and I'm not even sure how I came to be one. But it might
be due to the fact I became one over a course of only 1
year- which seems to be my attention span for studying anything.

I think we should start some sort of wild-life study
group and we can all just go somewhere and be together
with each other and the fabulous animals :)
May. 22nd, 2004 01:30 am (UTC)
I think we should start some sort of wild-life study
group and we can all just go somewhere and be together
with each other and the fabulous animals :)

I could be persuaded to do that. :D

I love David Sedaris by the way! I bought Me Talk Pretty One Day and read it very quickly but had a wonderful time and many giggles while doing so.

Thank you for the tip :)
May. 20th, 2004 02:19 pm (UTC)
i've always wanted to not work and stay home
Or, to choose a less slacker way, be a writer.

I have serious lazy issues :D
May. 22nd, 2004 01:31 am (UTC)
Re: i've always wanted to not work and stay home
Writing is not lazy, it's bloody hard work. :)
May. 22nd, 2004 05:53 am (UTC)
tchah! it isn't if you switch off quality control - *innocent face*
It's only hard if you know other people are going to read it at some point ;)

And ok *comes clean* my real dream job has always been to review fiction, all ranges, kiddie-YA-adult. But due to the derision and scorn I always get when I voice this ("your background is science" "you have no lit qualifications" "don't you need to be published yourself") I've sworn never to say this to anyone again.


*retires under rock*
May. 22nd, 2004 01:05 pm (UTC)
Re: tchah! it isn't if you switch off quality control - *innocent face*
It's a good dream job :)
Nothing to be ashamed of, I can see why it would make you happy and the perpetrators of scornufl derision should be scorned and dunked headfirst into a vat of camel spit;

*outfits space under rock with some comfy cushions*
May. 23rd, 2004 03:24 am (UTC)
ta :)))
*drags personal library under rock*

*curls up on comfy cushions and purrs*
May. 20th, 2004 10:55 pm (UTC)
During my "sorceress/locksmith" period, I wanted to be a ballroom dancer or a figure skating princess. *s*
The first thing I remember really, desperately wanting to be was actually... *cough* a nun. Seriously, I wanted to be a nun so bad. *l* I even charted out the process and planned what convent I'd join. And after I gave up on that, I decided on several things, all depending on the pay (that was my "I want to be a millionaire" period... *le sigh*). And now I just don't know what I want to do. *s* Sit on my butt all day and look pretty, perhaps?
May. 22nd, 2004 01:33 am (UTC)
Sit on my butt all day and look pretty, perhaps?

Teee heeeee. As long as photographic evidence is involved in that process I salute it. :)

A nun? Really? Wow. That's not a career choice I think I would have ever pictured you in on my own. Hehehe. Cool. I like being surprised.
May. 22nd, 2004 07:40 am (UTC)
As long as photographic evidence is involved in that process I salute it.

*l* Maybe I should try a career as a modle, then...

That's not a career choice I think I would have ever pictured you in on my own.

No, I don't think anyone would... *l* I don't seem the type, do I...? *s*
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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