My Dream Job

In 1997, I had a crisis relating to my career.  I had been teaching for six years in an inner-city school district in south-central Pennsylvania.  Despite my success and a strong professional reputation, I determined that I might have trouble sustaining that pace until retirement, which would be decades away.  I had considered teaching in a different environment, but soon opted to resign and take a year to travel and explore possibilities outside of public education.

At that time, I thought my dream job would be that of an airline pilot.  I looked into flight school.  It was expensive, but I was still in my twenties.  I had been a commercial aviation enthusiast since I was a child, and flying could well have been an excellent choice.

But I had met the woman who would become my first wife.  I chose instead to build a life with her, and by January of 1999, I was again in a classroom, this time to stay.  While the marriage did not last, I had moved back to my home state of New Jersey and found professional circumstances that I considered more manageable.  Twenty three years later, I am still enamored of my deeply troubled, lovably flawed profession.

But I have reached what might politely be termed a certain age.  I’m even considering an early retirement.

Because I am still young enough to wish to work in some fashion, unusual ideas come to mind.  And bizarrely, I now hear a different call, though I cannot imagine where it could be coming from, nor how I could possibly answer it.

I think I would be a good homemaker.

Isn’t that strange?  I live alone currently.  I might be too old to have children, but I am very good with them.  I cook and clean.  Heck, I even iron for two hours every Sunday.  I simply adore everything about creating and maintaining a home.

Now, I would never underestimate the hours and difficulty involved in doing this for an entire family.  I have seen many accomplished individuals from various professions join teaching because they thought it would be a rewarding second career.  Too often, frustration and futility drive them away from our hallowed halls.  In short, I have a sober view of my dream job.

And still, this idea buzzes around my mind.

I would not want to be a nanny, since I envision creating a home for people to whom I am personally connected, not for employers.  That would make me more like Mr. Belvedere. 

But I can seriously rock a tie and cardigan, if I do say so myself.

I think sometimes of the best homemaker I have ever met.  He was the uncle of one of my college roommates.  He moved in with his widowed sister after he retired.  He had served in the Navy as a cook during the Korean War.  Though he had been a carpenter by trade, he went to college on the G.I. Bill and had a career as a professional. This gave him remarkable qualifications to take care of his sister’s three children and manage the home.  He was an absolute artist in the kitchen, made repairs around the house, and he helped my roommate’s siblings with their homework every day after school.  By hobby, he was a confectioner and would sell his candies at the flea market on weekends.  He even made wine in the basement.

This man simply sang in his role.

But I don’t have any nieces or nephews.  I simply do not know why being a homemaker is now my dream job.

Perhaps I’d best relegate it to the designation of “unattainable fantasy.”

10 thoughts on “My Dream Job

  1. People’s career twists and turns fascinate me; I’ve had many myself. And this is also making me smile, because I was just showing my kids ‘Who’s the Boss’ the other night (young Tony Danza – what a fox!) — which is pretty much what you’re talking about here 🙂 I actually love homemaking as well, and it’s only when I’m having to fit it into the margins of my life, that I feel aggravated by it. Life is mysterious – maybe something like this will unfold for you somehow!

  2. I never wanted to be a teacher. It was never a career I envisioned for myself. But I love it. It’s amazing how our lives twist and turn. Thank you for this slice!

  3. Being a homemaker is a noble profession and I am saddened to see that it does not garner the respect that it did generations ago. Families have suffered as a result. I believe that you have created a wonderful home for yourself, and that reality directly influences how you show up in life every day. I think that the many people you encounter and engage with all day are the beneficiaries of your homemaking panache in that way. In addition, I know that you share your home with others very generously in a social way. The friends and family you host are again rejuvenated having been in your home. You may just have to settle for your current situation which seems to put you as a very successful homemaker, once removed. Is that okay?

  4. I love this. I’m thinking of retirement myself. I’m just 10 years away. But then I remember I have 1, 4 and 6 year olds. I cannot retire when my youngest is 11. But perhaps a second career.

    1. Thanks for reading my post and for leaving this comment. Your children are very young–college fees might have you working for quite some time. They will grow fast, though.

  5. Omg, I loved your line about rocking a tie and cardigan. But seriously, this is a wonderful exploration of where you are in life. You are looking around you with your eyes wide open, considering all that you love. This is such a smart way to keep moving forward in life! You really never know what life will hand you unless you pay attention.

    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I never thought about it that way. This is an apt outlet for reflection. I will use it as such. Nice of you, as always, to read my posts.

  6. Growing up, it was the foregone conclusion of my mother that I would be a teacher. I come from a large family, love kids, and truly enjoy seeing how their minds grow as they’re learning. I was THE go-to babysitter in town.

    Once I got to college, though, I fancied myself on Channel 4 as the next Sue Simmons. I quickly realized that I am entirely too sensitive to make it in the cutthroat world of network television news, and was left adrift, completely unsure of my next move.

    20 years and 5 kids later, I’m lucky enough to have been in my position as the Director of Operations for a small law firm for ten years now! It is not at all what I ever envisioned myself doing with my life, but I’m content. Let’s be honest, half the time, my attorneys require the attention of 8-year-olds anyway. But I do still dream about teaching… I’m not sure I can pull off the tie-and-cardigan look, but maybe my sights should be set on being the next Mr. Fornale. Considering all you’ve done for our kids and community, it’s a pretty lofty goal to have!

    1. I am truly taken aback, and I thank you. Perhaps I might take this as a reminder that I enjoy my current work, not least of all because of such gracious sentiments as those you express.

      I did not know you had considered the possibility of teaching. I suspect you would make a magnificent contribution. I could also see you as a broadcaster–maybe NJ12?

      Again, very kind of you

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