So... I did it! I passed my "final exam" and am officially accredited in my new job. What is that new job? I know I posted a few clues here and there... Before you scroll down and ruin the surprise for yourself, do me a favor, just because I'm curious:
Make your best guess - what is my new job title?
Write it down, and then tell me
what you thought in the comments.
Now scroll down, following whatever ridiculous gifs I put in a row here to add space before the "big reveal" and see if you were right! (I'm almost positive this is more exciting for me than it is for you. Sorry I'm not sorry.)
I'm a dog trainer.
(and soon enough, Mac will be my demo-dog, what what!)
After returning from Mexico, and getting married, and assuring that we would likely stay living in this general vicinity for some amount of time, I started job searching in earnest.
I reviewed my skill-set as I polished up my resume:
- Graphic design and fine art background.
- Education in counseling and human development.
- Past career in student development and housing in University/ Collegiate setting.
- Penchant for organization.
- Admittedly still burnt-out on the idea of working with students in a position that required me to be responsible for things outside of my regular working hours.
Then one day in November I walked over to the pet store with Mac to kill some time. At the checkout line, if you are not familiar with pet stores, they usually have some cookies for dogs in a container at the counter, and the cashier will ask if they can give your dog one. I always say yes, but that Mac has to earn it. Typically that means he gives a high five, but the gal scanning our bag of pig ears that day got excited at the high five and asked to see Mac's whole repertoire. So we ran through that, and she said "wow, you should be a dog trainer." I jokingly replied "ha, are you hiring?" But you know what? Consider that bug officially planted in my brain.
Wouldn't you know it, even though I feel I was more qualified professionally for everything I had applied to before then, the only call back I ever got was from the pet store. I went in for an interview and they invited me back to observe a class being taught, to make sure I felt comfortable with what was being asked of me (I get the impression that a few people had been gung-ho about this job until they realized that it's not 100% playing with puppies but more a 90% playing with puppies and 10% cleaning up after the puppies). As soon as that class was over, before I could even walk out of the building, they grabbed me into a side office and just like that, I was hired. (You know, minus a pee test. But we already went over that.)
I think I'm still in an adjustment period. I've long had a very proud feeling to be an "Administrator" that worked at an "Institution." Big, impressive words that I've now replaced with "employee" and "retail." I wasn't sure if my friends and family would think I had taken a step down. I hadn't realized until that thought hit me just how important a professional image was to me and my self-esteem (hey there, blatant honesty). I wasn't sure if I thought I'd stepped down or not. What if it was just a weird phase? A quarter-life crisis? Will I grow out of it?
I guess I'm still not truthfully 100% sure on any of the above, but I have decided that regardless of the answers to those things, becoming a dog trainer was / is totally the right move for me.
Today I went to work and I taught a dog to roll over. I played with at least 20 different rolly-polly puppies, and I talked to people who were legitimately excited to tell me about their pets. I help dogs. It's fun, and it's a topic I never seem to run out of thoughts on. I came home happy instead of worried about what still needs to get done before the next time I go to work. And I have time to do the dishes. You know, once I decide I want to.
Have you ever considered a career change?
What did you switch from/ to?
Was it a fulfilling change?
I've found a few things that have made me more comfortable with this shift from College Administrator to Dog Trainer. Maybe they'll help you too if you're in a similar changing tides kind of boat.
1. The following quote from an online advice column called "the Rumpus":
You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score.
Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts. You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth.
But that’s all2. The statistics! True FACT: the average person will make a career change 5-7 times in their working life. Sign of a changing society - people have the ability to seek a little more spice of life. I'm just trendy.
3. History - Vincent Van Gogh was a schoolmaster, student priest missionary, and an art dealer BEFORE he became a painter. I'm not thinking about cutting off my ear anytime soon, but if a career change or two is good enough for someone I consider one of the greatest artists of all time... well then hey, good enough for me.
4. Not to be rude or anything, but there are a LOT more transferable skills between getting college students to behave how you want them, and getting dogs to behave how you want them than one would initially think. If you've worked with college students, you have the skills, patience, and tone of voice to train a puppy. Believe me.
5. The Mister. Mad points for how supportive he's been - taking up my slack when I was putting in long training hours, and encouraging me, and checking in to make sure I really like what I'm doing.
In closing - I need some good ideas for sweet tricks I can teach my dog.
Because I've got that bug now, and Mac is ready to learn.
(or he's ready to eat the liver treats, but same thing really)
What tricks would you want to see
a my puppy do?
(please not "get me a beer," I'm not ready for Mac to know how to open the fridge full of foods.)