Sunday, August 8, 2010


I've never really written out all my life long aspirations of career goals. But I thought it might be fun. This list doesn't include things I've already done, like years of working in the construction industry. That was never by choice.

Long term goals:
1. Robotics Engineer - to rest
2. Fantasy Fiction Author - active
3. Computer Game Designer - active
4. Computer Programmer - active
5. Professional Musician - to rest
6. Marriage Counselor - to rest
7. Ethnographer - to rest
8. Politician - possible
9. Business Tycoon - possible
10. Model - not likely
11. Comedian - not likely

Short term goals:
12. Sign Language Interpreter for the Deaf - to rest
13. Night Club Owner - to rest
14. Journalist - possible
15. Teacher - active
16. Webpage Designer - possible
17. Night Club / Concert Promoter - to rest

Let's go through these.

When I was a little kid, I wanted to build robots that could do... well, what robots in cartoons do. In high school, I took electronics classes. But being able to solder broken wires is about the extent of my education on that front. I did retro fit non motorized toy cars with small engines to make them go. It was something I had a lot of fun doing, but without any other bigger applications for me to move on to, my interest fizzled out. There was a computer game called Robot Odyssey that came out when I was a kid. In it, you use your cursor as a soldering gun to change the wiring of robots to perform different tasks. I loved that game. I've heard of electrical engineers that credit playing that game as kids that got them started. I've put this interest to rest. If I work with anything robotic, it will probably be computer / virtual related over mechanical.

I started playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was 12. I had reading learning disabilities. My parents thought that would be a good way to get me to read, so they got it for me. It sparked in me my interest in the Fantasy, sword and sorcery genre. I don't have a natural talent for writing. If I'm good at writing at all, it's because I've worked very, very hard at it. Maintaining things like this blog is good practice. I'm constantly thinking about how to make my sentences clear and easy to understand. I still have a long ways to go. This is still a very viable goal for me, though one that will be a hard route to go.

Game Designer
My learning disabilities made socializing hard for me as a kid. I became pretty introverted, but not necessarily purely from shyness. As such, I turned to computer games a lot, especially the adventure ones where you communicate with characters in the game. This is a perfect career for me. It combines my creative side, with my drive for communicating through art and story. This is the career I'm currently working towards.

I like programming. I've done is since the mid 80's in BASIC on my first computer--an Apple IIC. This is more of a short term goal... a stepping stone towards becoming a Game Designer. Though being a computer programmer for the rest of my life wouldn't be bad, as long as I got to eventually oversee large projects. I don't want to retire as a lowly code monkey.

Of everything I've done, I've spent maybe the most amount of my time trying to accomplish this goal. The most joy I've ever had in my life is creating art and communicating it to others. I remember playing in new cities for the first time, and seeing people in the crowd singing lyrics I wrote along with me. The lyrics I write are very emotional and personal. And to see perfect strangers connect with me in that way, it always made me feel like I wasn't alone. But, being a musician is a hard life. There's no money in it unless you get signed. And then there's money in it, but non of it goes to the artists... just enough to keep them alive. Michael Jackson was in debt $50 million dollars to his record company. Doesn't that say it all? Ultimately, I gave up on this dream as a career goal. Though, I still teach music and I cherish the memories, good and bad, during this time in my life. I'll will still pursue this goal, but not as a career.

When I transferred to a 4 year university, I did so as a Psych major to pursue this goal. My personality type of INTJ makes me the perfect candidate for a Therapist. I'm excellent at listening to people and understanding things from multiple perspectives. I didn't get very far before I decided that it's not as easy as simply caring about people and "curing them," after months of therapy and that's that. There's no cure for any mental illnesses. I like helping people. That's why I love teaching. But there are so many people that will never get better from counseling. There are some that will in extreme cases. Suicidal teens, some non violent felons, drug and alcohol addicts, I think these people can be helped. My brother is following this path, and I think he'd be really good at it. I can relate to teens pretty well. Still, I put this goal to rest. I don't like the idea of spending the rest of my life doing the same thing especially if I know a lot of the people I try and help will not improve.

This is a type of Anthropologist that lives with a group of primitive people in the jungle somewhere and writes down how they live. Sounds great and interesting. The problem is that every "primitive tribe" in the world has already been studied many, many times over. I've thought about joining the Peace Corps. I sent in for their information and they sent me a huge packet of forms and what not. I love the field of Anthropology. I just sort of feel like it's mission accomplished and we(as in the greater scientific community) pretty much understand every culture in the world. No one person knows it all, but everything there is to know, some Anthropologist somewhere knows it. Now, for cultures no longer in existence, that's a different story. There are more fossils and artifacts to be found to learn about people and cultures in the past. To be an Archaeologist, you pick a site, spend the next 20 years excavating it and hope you find a chip of bone or something that adds a tiny piece of some puzzle. Most Archaelolgists dig for years and find close to nothing. I don't see myself doing that. But back to the modern day side of Anthropology, I no longer want to go live in a mud hunt to study a people that I can just learn about in the library or off the internet.

This is a real possibility for me. I could start off running for the Sacramento City Council. Maybe run for State Assembly after that. Doris Matsui is the House Representative here in Sacramento. I'd love to run against her one day in the distant future if she was still around by the time I was ready. I think Congressman is a decent, long term goal for me, one I'd have to work very hard for. Senator is too unlikely. I don't have the ivy league school connections, a mass of wealth, or celebrity status in anything(nor will I ever). I know I talk about politics on this blog site like I think I have the answers. This blog site is mostly for me to practice my writing. The more you study something, the more you realize how little you know about it. I know very little about politics. I've gotten an A in every college Business class I've taken. I love business. I know human nature pretty well. I have the basics down... the gut, common sense intuition about how policy should go down. But I still have a heck of a lot to learn about economics before I would seriously tackle running for office. I've eyed getting a Masters in Economics. I've completed all the lower division, pre-reqs for it. I'd just have to take a couple upper division classes at Sac State, then I could apply for the Graduate program. Again, this is a real possibility for me and something I think about.

Business Tycoon
Possible, but I don't know. I have the fiscal discipline to be wealthy. I'm good at coordinating things. I'd be good at running a business. The funny thing is I really don't care for money much. It's an odd quirk of mine, I suppose. I live pretty modestly. I'm fine without the fancy cars and house. Becoming rich takes a lot of hard work--something I don't have a problem with. But it boils down to me working my butt off for something I don't care about. Now, if I found another motivation other than money, running a business or cluster of them, would be something I'd consider working towards. The challenge of it, would certainly motivate me. Plus, not being motivated by material things would be a plus. I'd use the money I made to re-invest, rather than waste on cars. This is a goal I should think about working towards.

Yeah, I feel pretty egotistical mentioning this. I'm a decent looking guy. Or at least I could be. I'd have to work really, really hard on reshaping my body and I have a very long way to go for that. I'm in the process of doing that--not to become a model, but because of the challenge of it. Even if I could be a successful model, it's not anything that would satisfy me by itself. I have friends that are not what society would consider attractive that model, but what they do is more like work as extras. Being an extra might be fun.

I'm not naturally funny. I can bust out with some one liners here and there. I can make my mom laugh. I've taught a lot, and I can make my students laugh. I once gave a presentation on use of blood in Mayan purification rituals, and I got laughs. But I can make people laugh because I do something random or unexpected. But to walk on stage where the audience expects me to be funny from the beginning, it's a completely different vibe--one I've never even felt first hand. This is something I'd have to spend several years working really hard to be decent at. Could I handle being awful on stage in the beginning and still keep going? Though I don't have a natural talent for comedy, it's something that's really challenging, and that intrigues me. It's not just about telling jokes. It's a mastery of human communications and psychology. Still, I stopped being a musician because there was no money in it. Being a comedian starting out would be the same.

Short term

Interpreter for the Deaf
I had to take 2 years of a foreign language for the Anthropology major. My learning disabilities made this really, really tough. I struggled until I finally decided to try sign language where I didn't have to use my ears. Turns out, I was pretty good at it. I never did get good enough that I could sign fast enough to keep up with someone speaking. I have trouble understanding people finger spelling quickly. Still, with a lot more practice, I could get good at this. Finding people to practice with isn't all that easy. With Spanish, I can watch tv in Spanish or hear lots of people speaking it. Deaf people don't like people watching them sign a private conversation, nor do they really want to sit around signing with students. I considered using my ASL skills to study the culture of Deaf people. That would be a nice way of combining Sign Language and Anthropology. But yeah, I gave up. I'm really rusty at signing now.

Night Club Owner
Working first hand as a booker at a night club, I got to see how little money they actually bring in and what a pain in the butt it was. Live music, at least. Clubs with DJs make tons of money. I started off booking bands to make connections to get my own band booked. Playing politics with the other bookers at the club I booked at, quickly made me see the advantages of running my own club. Then I figured out how expensive it was. This goal is "at rest" for me, though the idea of being rich one day and opening up a club just for the fun of it is still something I'd think about. I always loved the movies where the villains have their conference table on the second floor and it's over looking the stage of a night club and some really cool metal / punk / industrial band is playing to a packed crowd. Not that villains in real life have conference tables, nor do I even know anyone remotely villain like in person anyway that I could have a conference with. But it's still really cool.

I've worked as a paid staff writer for a magazine before. I've also sold my political op ed pieces professionally. Don't google them. They were poorly written and I'm fairly embarrassed I didn't put a lot more effort into them. But being a journalist is something I was / would be again, good at. I just don't like it. There's a huge difference between creative, poetic writing and journalism. There's nothing artistic in journalism. It's just dry statements. I like reading journalistic pieces on subjects I want to know more about. But I don't like writing it. Still, this goal is a possible future one if I need money on the side. I'm more likely to do this if I get other benefits. Like, when I used to write for a music magazine I used to make a lot of contacts with other bands and promoters. The site I wrote for got 9 million hits a month and I was one of the main people writing articles. That made it pretty easy for me to meet people.

I like teaching. I like it a lot. It's hard and challenging because no two students are alike. You're communicating a lot of ideas trying to pack the most amount of meaning with the least words. In person, you can use real time and alter your meaning on the fly if it's not received as intended. You know how many times I write something and think, "Is the reader going to know what I mean by this?" But teaching in person, you get feedback instantly. I teach music now, but only during the summers. This is a part time goal for me. I like doing it for now, but it's a little too stable for me. I want to end up doing something big.

Webpage Designer
I do this now on rare occasion. I don't really like it. I like the programming part, but it's the graphic design part that I get stuck on. I'm great at all the parts of graphic design other than the actual free hand drawing part. I can't do that. I can photoshop the hell out of stuff. I can manipulate, retexture, and animate 3d figures, but not create them. I'd be ok with this if I was part of a team that just did the layout and programming. Still, I'd only want to do this as a means to an ends with some greater project on the horizon.

Concert Promoter
I liked doing this. I liked giving bands a chance and seeing their fans enjoying a show I put together. I liked seeing hundreds of people in one place and knowing I put it together. I like promoting too, although I was one of the few promoters in town that actually promoted. Most promoters put together a show and expect the bands to do all the promotion and they just take a cut. I worked my butt off promoting and never took a cut, not even to cover the expenses of the fliers I printed out. I did it for free. It gave me a reason to walk up to people hanging outside a club and talk to them about bands and why they might want to come out. Again, another thing I don't see myself doing forever unless it's a means to something big. I could see myself working for a big company and putting together a big company party--something cooler than a lame company picnic with a boring band.

Well, that's that. What about combining some of these? I'd love to own a computer game company that made educational software and fantasy adventure games. Maybe use political connections to get more educational software into classrooms. I think a hybrid of teachers and virtual software will become the new educational model one day. And I know I'll still keep writing, whatever I do.

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