When I was a child, adults would often ask me this question. Now that I am in my 50s I am not asked that question anymore. Now that would be a little creepy wouldn’t it? When this blog is posted, I will be on my way to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This brings back memories of when I would answer that question that I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. I never quite made it there. Honestly I STILL don’t know what I want to be and now that I’m all grown up – or am I?
I grew up during the Apollo Moon missions in the late 1960s and 1970s. I was glued to the television for the launch, moon landings and splashdowns of every Apollo mission. I was fascinated by the space stuff. I remember that I had to have Tang instant drink because that’s what the astronauts drank. I went crazy when Tang included a toy model of the lunar rover on the package. My mother used to tell me that if I wanted to become an astronaut that I would have to ride the Scream Machine rollercoaster at Six Flags over Georgia. At the time, it was the highest rollercoaster there. I did eventually ride the Scream Machine but it never furthered my career path to becoming an astronaut.
When I look back, I can see that I have taken many twists and turns along life’s journey. So the answer of what I wanted to be when I grew up has changed many, many times over the years.
As my excitement over being an astronaut faded, I later wanted to be a professional football player. That lasted until I tried to play and came to the painful reality that my body would never match my desire to do it. I later thought I would make a career of the military when I joined the Air Force. The job I signed up for was to be a bomb loader which I thought sounded cool and exciting but when I entered active duty I was told that job was no longer reserved for me and I had to pick another career field. I had maybe five minutes to choose another career field or get out of the Air Force. I didn’t have much to choose from in the list. The choices were security police, fireman, cook or administrative specialist. I would like to say I had a profound reason for choosing admin specialist but honestly it was because they had the shortest technical school.
Let me be honest, being an admin specialist was BORING. I hated it. It was nothing more than being a secretary at times. Fortunately, the admin career field had many other options. One was working in the post office. I volunteered for a remote assignment in Thule, Greenland to get into postal work with the idea that I might transition that to working for the postal service when I got out of the military. After working in the post office, I know now why people “go postal”. Working in a post office for one year settled it for me. I didn’t want to be a postal worker when I grew up either.
When I came back to the states I was assigned to a mobility unit in Georgia as an admin specialist again. I had no idea what a mobility unit was until I went to training and spent a week digging fix holes and running through the woods. I was in the Air Force version of the Army. Although I liked the people I worked with, I hated being an admin specialist. One day I saw and ad in the base bulletin for a special duty assignment with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). They were the FBI of the Air Force. I volunteered and spent the final years of my Air Force time with that agency. I got to do a lot of cool things and worked with a bunch of good people. Some asked if I was going to become an agent but honestly I never considered it. It wasn’t something I thought I wanted to do. During the time with the AFOSI, our office worked with one of the Assistant United States Attorneys from the local office. She was pretty awesome and I had a lot of respect for her and the work that she did. I was impressed. So much so that I wanted to work in her office.
it took a while before I made it there. When I left active duty, there were no openings in that office. I ended up working with a private investigative agency in Atlanta. I was given a private investigators license and given assignments. Let me assure you it was NOTHING like it was on TV. I was terrible in following people. Surveillance was boring and being a process server was not a fun experience. Did you know that no one is happy to be served with a subpoena? I once drove to Zebulon, Georgia to serve a subpoena. I knocked on the door and when I had confirmed I had the right person, I handed the subpoena and then heard the recipient ask his daughter to go get his gun. That was probably the point when I was ready to move onto something else.
Fortunately, I got the chance to work with them U.S. Attorney’s Office even if I was back in an administrative job again as a legal assistant. Yeah, I still hated it and was constantly looking for a move to something else. I thought maybe a move to a paralegal position would be it. I studied and took some paralegal assignments but when I attended my first paralegal training, that fizzled rather quickly along with the blue book and sherpardizing or whatever they called it. I called it snoozeville. Not for me. So I continued as a legal assistant.
Something unexpected happened while I was working as a legal assistant, I found a job with the local newspaper and started working part-time in the sports department. I would eventually become a part-time sports writer which I truly enjoyed doing. I would have to say that of all my jobs, the sport writing was the job I enjoyed the most. I attempted to go full-time but those doing the hiring didn’t think I was ready. That hurt me but I pressed on. This is probably why most of my blog entries are about sports-related topics.
I was still stuck in the legal assistant job during the day. I eventually found my opening when I would help our IT person with various projects. I also assisted the attorney’s with graphics they could use in trial. This eventually led me to become a computer specialist. This was better suited for me that being a legal assistant. As technology progressed, there came a need for a litigation technology specialist who could help the attorney’s with graphics, document management and trial presentations. That’s where I am today. It has been a career field that fit me. It has been challenging and exciting. I have been involved in many high-profile trials in the offices where I have worked.
I have also stayed involved with writing. The part-time job as a sports writer lit some sort of fuse inside of me. I have had the opportunity to have articles published in magazines as well as self-publishing some novels. Sure, I would love to be a full-time PAID writer but so do millions of other writers.
So when you ask me what I want to be when I grow up? What do I say? So far it has been:
Professional Football Player
Litigation Technology Specialist
My life has taken some interesting twists and turns along the way. As I was growing up many people assumed that I would become a preacher since my father and grandfather were also preachers. I can assure you that I never desired that path. Not that there’s anything wrong with that calling, it was just never my calling.
So what do I want to be when I grow up? Today I am exactly two years from being eligible to retire from my current job. Check back with me then and we will see what’s next on the list.