How Young Were You When You Chose Your Career?


Jack London, Adventure Enneagram type

Were you forced to take over the family business? Did you know you wanted to do anything but what your parents did? Did you want to join a circus when you grew up? What did you learn by good or reverse example from your family career-wise?

This may sound strange to some of you and logical to others: my psyche picked out my passion in life, which turned into my first career, by the time I was four years old. It informed me, without my knowing it, by means of a dream. I tell the dream in my upcoming book on death and dying so I won’t tell it here. Suffice it to say that the dream drove me into my inner world in waking life and to actively pursue my love for music. My second career of writing came much later. I’m an Observer in the Enneagram.

My Helper type mother was interested in art but didn’t have a career other than homemaker. One of her brothers, possibly a Perfectionist, worked for Lockheed Airplane Company. He knew he wanted to be an electrical engineer from the age of six. The other brother, a Peace Seeker, sold iron or steel. Their father started out as a clerk in a bank in Cripple Creek, CO. He was most enthusiastic about selling real estate, but wasn’t very successful.

My father, an Observer with a Questioner wing, was a metallurgist, figuring out how to extract minerals from ores by means of chemistry and physics. He worked for the Bureau of Mines. Then the University of California hired him as a professor and he consulted on the side for the Union Pacific Railroad. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a scientist.

His brother-in-law, an Asserter, ran a successful business that manufactured flowerpots. He was protective of and kind to his employees. His wife, my father’s sister, was an Adventurer. She didn’t have a job. She did something naughty. She told us she played bridge a lot, but she was really going to casinos to gamble. My father’s other sister, a Questioner, was one of the first women to be an executive in a large clothing company, Lerner’s. This was in the 1930’s and 40’s and later. In fact, she’s my only aunt or grandmother who had a career. My father’s brother, a Peace Seeker, was an attorney for the Pentagon. He negotiated contracts with outside companies.

My father’s father, an immigrant from Odessa, Russia, started out selling junk in Omaha Nebraska. He moved his family to Salt Lake City around 1909, opened a bar with gambling in the back, and invested in mines. He made a lot of money and lost most of it in the crash of 1930.

When he was a little boy, my husband, Gus, didn’t want to work when he grew up as a reaction to his parents’ pressuring him to be successful. He ended up working hard, however. An Observer, he majored in art at Cal and loved to paint. He became a high school teacher of Educationally Handicapped students, preferring that to history, which he had started out teaching.

His father, a Perfectionist, started out as a teller during the Depression. Someone advised him to go to college, which he did, and he eventually rose to bank vice president. One of Gus’ grandfathers sold pianos. The other, a German immigrant, was a self-taught baker. When he had a bakery in Oakland, young Jack London delivered bread for him.

For more famous types, see my list on wagele.com, my Psychology Today blog, and my WordPress blog.

Also, check out my videos on You Tube: The Happy Introvert and The Creative Enneagram

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