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February 8 Friday Fun: Your Childhood Dream

I am posting this now so our friends in the earlier time zones can inspire the rest of us!

Think back to when you were a child. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I didn't have a lot of thoughts on the subject until I was probably 10 years old and started reading the newspaper--in southern California. Humorist Erma Bombeck helped my mother and I relate to one another (which we normally didn't do). My mother enjoyed the Mom's perspective, while I enjoyed the daughter's. It also helped us understand one another a tiny bit. Erma's column inspired me to read the rest of the paper...and I decided I wanted to be a writer. 

I wrote volumes of stories, poems and "investigative" pieces as I tried to understand my life and family. Unfortunately, whenever I said I wanted to be a writer, my family and teachers laughed--as if I had said "fairy princess." I started saying teacher, nurse, or some other acceptable answer for a girl.

I got married and moved to Dayton, Ohio (home of Erma Bombeck). In college, I studied English and writing, and got two degrees. I then taught at Wright State University and University of Dayton (where Bombeck went to school). I wrote for the Dayton Daily News (where Bombeck became a nationally syndicated columnist).

Weirdly, at one point I was shopping for a house--and almost bought the old house where Erma Bombeck lived as she was writing the columns that inspired me to become a writer. I regret that I didn't buy it. Still, I am nearly 60 and have had a great career as a writer--so regardless of the pressure to conform to what others thought--I actually pursued my dream.

Now, I still have goals (to write a book under my own name) and to write some Erma Bombeck-like humor. A framed, signed photo of Erma sits on my wall to inspire me, so there is still time!

How about you?

12 comments

Bridget Community Manager Feb 07, 2019

@Karen O'Keefe - so cool that you are actually living your childhood dream! I'd also like to invite you to the new Atlassian Authors program (you can request access here and I will add you).  

The Atlassian Authors program is for select Community members who are interested in writing longer form Articles. We provide Authors with monthly prompts and reward top contributors with swag and glory ;). 

Based on your history and impressive resumé, I know your writing contributions to this Community will be highly valuable! 

Hope to see you there,

Bridget

PS - my childhood dream was to be an artist! While it's not my full-time job, I still paint on night and weekends. I appreciate that Atlassian lets me bring a ton of creativity into my role on the Community team 

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Miles B. Atlassian Team Feb 07, 2019

When I was six years old my parents bought me a suit, a tiny briefcase, and business cards that said "Business Boy." So, uh, I guess whatever job a 'business boy' does... 

Obligatory pics or it didn't happen:

zanqbeye6pljnx6ayrg6_400x400.png

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You made a great Business Boy!

Like Zak Laughton likes this

@Miles B. BUSINESS BOY

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It's been a long time since I was a child, and I suspect I have forgotten a lot of the things I thought I might like to be when I was little.

I can certainly say it was always going to be something science-related though, as most of my immediate family were scientists of some form (An engineer, vet, anthropologist, two bio-chemists, etc).  I ended up taking engineering at university because it was as close as I could get to working with the quantum weirdness that fascinated me at 16, and still does.   (My mathematics was strong enough for me to be an electronic engineer but not quite enough to go into that type of physics).

So, I ended up in a tech job, where the engineering stands me in good stead, but I remain both massively admiring, and jealous of, my cousin James who made it into the field of quantum physics, despite having significant life challenges that I never did.

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Dana Jansen Community Leader Feb 12, 2019

Don't worry Nic - sometimes you're STILL a child.

What I have wanted to do with my time on earth.

  • 5 to 11 years: marine biologist like Jacques Cousteau with cool submarines. Plus Lego
  • 11 to 17 years: astronaut plus scuba
  • 17 to 27 years: some kind of helping people, but no solid ideas really
  • 27 to 37 years: creating a family, writing technical books
  • 37 to 53 years: helping people with computery things such as Jira

Grown-ups are just older children

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Oh, I had my own Jacques Cousteau period. I was terrible at math (though great at science). Sometimes I wish I had pursued writing about sciency-stuff like marine biology.

When I was a kid I used to read books over and over and over again -- I'm still a prolific reader and a re-reader, but my old battered childhood favorites still get a lot of love. Erma Bombeck's If My Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? was one of my favorites. I love her! 

I used to want to be the first woman president and also a judge and also a teacher.  I love politics, but only as a spectator and an activist. I would make a good judge I think but never wanted to go to law school. I was a college professor for many years though, and I was good at that!

Oh and side note @Karen O'Keefe I see you got your Welcome badge -- I actually did nothing on the back end, did you figure out what you were missing that triggered it? Would be helpful to know!

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No idea how that happened.

@Karen O'Keefe love your story - becoming a writer is still one of my dreams and it's so amazing reading your story. A dream definitely can come true!

When I went to school I always wanted to become a cool graphic designer or writer for advertising. I made several internships in advertising agencies and found this world sooo cool (Teenage years (wink) )

After school I started training as a designer and really worked in advertising and product agencies for over 10 years.... during this time I found my affinity for technical stuff. 

Long talk short sense - I started engineering studies before my 30th birthday and now I live my dream with teaching, finding solutions, a little bit of programming and of course networking. 

Like Karen O'Keefe likes this

Okay, uhm, I wanted to become a vet as kid, because I really liked animals. But somehow that didn't workout  because in my early teen days I developed kind of a phobia for large dogs (overcame this meanwhile, bless). So with 14 or something I decided I wanted to do something with Computer because as kid, I really liked computers. Boring, eh?

Today I think: What have I gotten myself into?

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Scott Theus Community Leader Feb 08, 2019

@Nick -bitvoodoo- I have a phobia for dogs too, from my paper boy days and an unfortunate incident with an overly friendly Dire Wolf/Siberian Husky. To this day I fear that all dogs want to bite me. 

I work with a lot of animal rescue groups as a photographer, so I had to learn to get past my fears. I spent a lot of time with a pit bull rescue person, and while I'm not "cured" I know that just because a dog wants to come up to me and say "Hi!" it doesn't necessarily mean he's going to use his teeth.

Like Karen O'Keefe likes this

I think I share the cause for fear of big dogs with you, I was used to be a paper boy as well. And had a bad experience with a German Shepherds

It's good to hear that it got better for you thanks to contact at work. :)

It got better for me too, I actually really like dogs these days. I just really don't trust German Shepherds or anything "wolf-like", if that makes sense.

Like Karen O'Keefe likes this

My late lab used to just love people so much she leapt on them with the purpose of knocking them down so she could kiss them better. It was much easier with children than adults, but that was her MO. Kiss monster.

My other dog, a Great Pyrenees (a giant breed), loved people so much he jumped around in a circle barking and drooling he was so excited. People generally thought he was ready to pounce and kill them. All Pablo wanted to do was to get them in the house so they could pet him.

Like Scott Theus likes this
Scott Theus Community Leader Feb 08, 2019

The first movies I remember seeing as a kid were The Swiss Family Robinson and  Treasure Island, and I immediately wanted to be a pirate when I grew up. My parents tried to discourage me because according to them pirates were very, very bad people. I didn't get it.

Long John Silver wasn't  really that bad, was he? 

Errol Flynn was the hero in The Sea Hawk!

When I was 12 I learned that the Pirate King would never hurt an orphan.

So, it was a pirate's life for me! Who wouldn't want to swash-buckle their way across the oceans seeking treasure and damsels in distress? Of course, I know much now, but I'm still fascinated by pirates.  I devour function and non-fiction books about them, watch documentaries, movies, etc.  

As a wise man once said, "The cannons don't thunder; there's nothing to plunder. I'm an over 40 victim of fate...born 200 years too late."  

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Arrgh! Ye scurvy landlubber! Have ye tried switching yer Facebook language to Pirate? If not, ye should be farced to walk the plank!

I like that you are a pirate at heart!

Scott Theus Community Leader Feb 09, 2019

I have...Every September 19th.

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What is a pirate's favourite letter of the alphabet?

Arrrr

Like Karen O'Keefe likes this
Scott Theus Community Leader Feb 11, 2019

I always liked the C better :)

Like Karen O'Keefe likes this

My mom and I always laughed at my childhood dream of being a "whaleologist" (yes, that specifically) because I was so fascinated by them. We even 'adopted' one for a year. Sadly being a good swimmer and a fan of fish are rather important to being an actual marine biologist so I went a different path.

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You would have made an awesome whale-ologist! See the Seinfeld episode where a whale was stranded on the beach (and was rescued by George Costanza). 

Like Brian Ganninger likes this

I find it fascinating how few of the jobs in the 'real world' match the occupations we are taught about as children.

I am loving the stories being shared in this thread.

I cannot remember what i wanted to be but I remember objecting strongly about being a lawyer because I did not like the idea of arguing for a given position rather than striving for truth.

Like Brian Ganninger likes this

Bit late on this one. When I was ten I wanted to be a fighter pilot, since X-wings were abit thin on the ground. I carried that passion all the way to 16 when, prompted by positive noises from my Air Experience Flying instructor (an ex airforce head no less!), I applied to the Royal Navy and The RAF.

Therein lies the tragedy, in Air Experience flying you climb into the rear seat of a chipmunk and the pilot is already sat in the front. So the instructor actually rarely sees the pupil, he had no idea I had quite bad uncorrected eyesight. The Royal Navy and RAF both have stringent eyesight requirements and there weren't any circumstances for an exemption so I got shot down as it were from the get go.

I didn't really know what to do with myself after that, but it's still a positive story because I ended up doing what I love instead.

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Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Feb 11, 2019

I always wanted to be a Vet since I was a kid. I dissected many animals in university and assisted in several surgeries. However, when volunteering at a vet clinic I assisted with euthanasia of a beautiful pug, as it has a rare skin condition and was 15 years old. He was suffering so understood that this was the right choice, but months later I couldn't get over it. 

At that time I decided to do good things for animals but that being a vet wasn't for me after all. After that I switched my major and graduated with a business degree, and then became a public servant. I will always have a love of animals, but have no regrets of not pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

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Dana Jansen Community Leader Feb 12, 2019

This was fascinating to read through each persons story about where they started and how they ended up here.

I always wanted to be a Ballerina and when that didn't work out, torn cartilage in the knee at 13 which would have ended up as major surgery back then, I wanted to be an artist, but i also wanted to live well (i.e. make money) and i know i would have ended up as a starving artist. 

Somehow, and I am still not quite sure HOW, I ended up working night shift as a computer operator, slinging the old magnetic reels around an IBM mainframe.

Eventually I grew up, well sort of, and my career evolved as I learned different tools that were created to make configuration management easier and easier over time. And that's where my current job comes into play as an Atlassian Administrator.

At this point in my life and career I have been able to actually realize the dream of being an artist because my vocation as a computer geek has allowed me to pay for my avocation as an artist.

Like Zak Laughton likes this

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