Not My Dream Job
As I wrote in my last post, for a very long time (too long to call it a childhood fantasy) I wanted to be on TV.
Well, it sort of turned out that way. I worked for TV. Though not as an actress playing the heroine. I was in Finance.
But although I was preparing budgets, it was still TV. Indirectly, still sort of glamorous.
And I did pretty well. Several promotions and my share of recognition. Some very nice perks. And because it was the entertainment business, many of the perks were lots of fun.
On the business side, the perks included many “offsites”. The executives attended frequent meetings in upscale settings. I’d pack my suitcase and go somewhere warm and expensive to talk about the future of television. A tough life. (Actually, the non-glam parts were very tough. I worked extremely long hours in a crazy competitive climate. But the retreats were nice.)
I can pinpoint the exact moment I knew I was in the wrong job. It was at a retreat.
We spent the day discussing television. We were supposed to be discussing how the new technologies would affect our business. But as usual, we mostly discussed how special we all were. Television is a very good career for big egos.
After the formal meeting, we went across the hall to a beautiful big room with a spectacular view for a private cocktail party.
And I stood there with the other executives, making small talk. They spoke about their vacations. This surprised me, because I had a shitload of vacation time that I was always too busy to take. Other people actually took their vacations? But then I realized that they probably didn’t. Not without cellphones and laptops and blackberries anyway.
And the conversation veered west. Which do you prefer? Vail or Aspen?
And it hit me.
I am an actor after all. And I’ve walked onto the set of the WRONG MOVIE.
Aspen versus Vail? I used to slide down the local hill on a flattened cardboard box.
As a kid, I loved a good debate. Bonanza or The Big Valley? Mustang or Camaro? Hot Dog or Hamburger? But Aspen versus Vail?
I looked around the room, and I thought about these thirty or so people, waving their crystal wine glasses. Odds were, half of them must have been raised like me. Maybe more than half. They didn’t grow up spending their summer vacations in Saint Tropez. They spent their summers with playing cards clattering in their bike spokes.
I won’t say that they were phonies. I think they truly enjoyed how far they had come from their childhoods. I just happened to love my childhood – just the way it was. And I didn’t want to “come far”. I didn’t want to leave it behind. Wherever I was at as an adult, I was taking my fabulous but ordinary childhood with me.
After dinner, when the group went to the bar for their cognacs, I went home.
I stayed on with the company for several more years after that. But I knew I was miscast.
And just the other day I had a conversation with my current coworkers. A debate on the merits. Jif versus Skippy.