Sitting across you at some polished desk, the pens and papers neatly ordered on the side, some employment guru examines your CV. “You’ve done a lot, or done nothing very much” he says at last. “What do you mean ?” you ask slightly put off track. “You’ve done some jobs but there’s no progression here. No development, no skill set we can sell”. He pauses for a time and finally asks “What is it that you always wanted to do” “Fly gliders” you say, staying with the truth. “High above the trees, and almost silent: watching the wind play among the leaves: that’s certainly a life”. “Perhaps it is, but it won’t pay the bills” His hard realism sweeps away the dream and leaves you silent. You know he’s speaking sense.
The truth is you never really knew what it was that you wanted to do. Not at the back of class or at the front, you sat with some attention to the task. Enough to avoid detection but not stand out as either good or bad. Until one day you arrived outside the fence, no more classes or being told what to do. Or so you thought, till teachers became bosses and exams became the bills.
Some are gifted with more than the normal levels of ability or determination, or gripped by a particular passion, push for some expression of their gifts. Most sit around the starting blocks of a career, peering at the map, reading guides and then drifting into an occupation which at least pays the rent and allows them time to wash the boredom and stress out of their life.
Some of us dig in and make a go of it while others flounder around in the foothills of achievement: others hardly get started at all. Some like me have been up a number of ladders and then fallen off within sight of the summit: there are many like me. Nothing robs us of purpose like uncertainty. I have always thought that if you knew we would obtain a ton of gold by swimming half a mile through sewage we would all become proficient swimmers in a remarkably short time. .
Some of us find some outlet for our gift and slowly ease away the chains of compromise and struggle free towards a more expressive future. Most of us , like me, end up in some curious place by accident and circumstance, making a fist of where we find ourselves and seeking compensation in our imagination.
Not long ago I was at some gathering meeting many people for the first time. “How do you do, Nice to meet you” etc and then the question kept coming up, “And what do you do”. Its one I never ask myself. The answer might be interesting, or misdirect you as to the nature of the person with whom you speak. We are, and are not, utilities, measured by what we contribute. Mainly we are people trying to understand the same problems as you. How we earn our living is often a different question.