When Plans Go Awry
Here’s a secret I’ve only shared with a precious few: I never thought I’d have to work when I grew up. Coming from a long line of women who made it their career to stay at home tending to their children and other domestic needs, I assumed I would do the same. Just like the countless women before me, I would go to college where I would meet my future husband, get married, have children, and devote my life to my home, filling my time with different sewing projects, décor ideas, and crafts with my little ones. A career never really entered my mind, unless you count my brief romance with the idea of being a paleontologist.
So, how did a girl who had no interest in working, other than the fleeting thought of digging in the dirt for a living, become Director of Publishing for a company that produces more than 30 magazine titles? It’s simple: life never really works out how you plan it to. And that can be a very good thing.
Being the over-planner that I can be, I did develop a backup plan in case Prince Charming was nowhere to be found on the Cal State University Long Beach campus: I’d become an elementary school teacher. It was perfect — I could be around kids all day, do art with them, and decorate my classroom super cute.
Guess what? That didn’t go as planned either. Shortly after I graduated college (with no signs of Mr. Right anywhere), I was practically paralyzed by the realization that I really didn’t want to teach. Something just didn’t feel right about it, and knowing that kids deserve only the most committed teachers, I instead found a job as a receptionist. It was an easy job — one that allowed me to spend too much time on the Internet researching my current knitting obsession.
One day during my search for my next big project, I stumbled across a knitting blog. And then another. And then another. Suddenly I was on sewing blogs and then scrapbooking blogs. That’s when the light went off. Having been an avid crafter my entire life, I knew that these were my people. I needed to be a part of this. I was going to be a part of it. There really was no other option. Quickly, I found myself dreading my receptionist position and daydreaming about doing something more creative.
That dread, coupled with determination, led me to Craigslist, where I found a job posting for an Assistant Editor for Stampington & Company. The ad said that the job would entail opening mail and other laborious tasks, and though that’s not really what I wanted to do, something in me said to apply. So, I did. And really, by following my gut and working really hard, I found what I consider to be my dream job. There is no husband or children or perfectly kept house. Instead, there is a super supportive boyfriend of six years, two cats, a puppy, and a sometimes-dusty house.
And I really couldn’t have planned it better.
Christen Olivarez is the editor-in-chief and Director of Publishing at Stampington & Co, avid crafter and art journaler. Follow @christen0 and A deliberate Life blog
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Christen, thanks for sharing your story with us! It really resonates with those of us who are searching to find a career that both nurtures and fulfills our creativity! Reading about your path in life and your experiences convinces me that kind of career is within reach!
Christen, your story rings so true! All the plans I have made lead me to different journeys and choices. I wanted to go to art school and ended up with a business degree. I love how you ended up where you were meant to be and how you listened to your intuition~ so important! Thank you for sharing; it meant a lot to read your story. I realize even though I have been off the beaten path, it is leading back to where I truly wanted to go~
Sounds like my life in a way! Supposed to go to college…dad spent the money. I joined the Air Force and became a Korean linguist. Thought when I left the military I could be a contractor doing basically the same job, but better pay, at NSA. Hiring freeze, and no college degree (never mind that I knew the job backwards and forwards and he’s security clearances! Off to college, decide to go into medicine. Graduated, took a year off to raise more med school.tuition, got a job during the dot com boom. Years later, started a job September 10th. The next day, the Twin Towers fell, and I lost my job. Found out I was pregnant right before heading off for a job interview I no longer wanted.
And now I make jewelry and write for a living and bring up my son. What a whirlwind life can be!