I’ve come across this lovely idea for a meme called the Encyclopedia of Me via The Scent of Water. It’s basically a post everyday, starting from the 1st August and starting with the letter A, then going to the letter B the next day and so on and so and using it as a prompt to write something encylopedic about yourself (I’d go the Encyclopedia of Me link if I was you, it explains it better!). But anyway here’s my entry for today.
I’m ambitious I’ll admit but alot of the time I think it’s a trait that causes me more trouble than it’s worth. I come from a family where my dad was successful and I think that’s been embedded in me that there’s absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be either, I think there’s a lot of (perhaps too much) self confidence in that to but it has proved useful. Prior to having kids I had two different careers, the first, which I was pressured into, very much against my gut instinct was teaching and boy did my gut instinct prove me right, I did complete the training and after that, well I lasted two terms and then quit. After that I joined a scientific temp agency, having had a science degree prior to starting teacher training. I accepted the first job they gave me, in a lab where honestly my job was to label test tubes, most labs had robots to do this, I guess for this lab, at least back then, lowly paid humans were cheaper. It was an incredibly boring and tedious job and the pay was so low, the only good thing about it was that it was paid fortnightly into my bank account, think if I’d been paid monthly I’d have spent it all at once. However, there were opportunities in this particular organisation, that if you worked hard and impressed the right people, you could progress and after my humilation of my previous teaching job, I was going to suceed at this one! And I did, when I was made permanent, I was moved up a grade, now one of the scientists I’d been previously supporting but like I said, I’m ambitious, there were a lot of scientists at this particular grade and the pay still wasn’t particularly good but I was going to progress up and after a few years I did again. So that by the time I left to have my first child, five years after having started that first job labelling test tubes, I was one of the senior scientists and had almost quadrupled my salary. As I progressed up that ladder, other scientists in the lower grades would look up at the scientists in the higher grades often with some resentment, the lower grade scientists would complain when they didn’t get a big enough payrise even though they had been fulfilling their job description to the letter, but that’s the thing, that’s why they didn’t get that payrise or that promotion, they were just doing their job but there were plenty of people just doing their job, whereas the ambitious people in the organisation were doing their job plus more and that’s how they got recognised.
So that’s how ambition has suited me (although it does make me sound a little bit like an arrogant twit) but like I said at the beginning it hasn’t always been the best thing for me, specially now that I’m a stay at home mum, ambition and the stay at home mum thing doesn’t mix. So many mums chanel their ambition into their kids, which can also be incredibly unhealthy, say for example you wanted to be a world famous ballet dancer but you had two left feet, so your daughter has got to be a world class ballerina, even if she’s inherited your feet. Luckily (so far, fingers crossed), I haven’t been that sort of mum, all my ambitious pressure I’ve still been laying ever so thickly on myself. I’ve been a stay at home mum for 3, nearly 4 years now and although I love my kids and I’m very glad I’m at home with them, that ambitious streak has not left me. I don’t want to go back to ‘proper work’, I’d now in the future much rather be self employed and I’m already starting out, I run my own very small tuition business (so the teaching qualification did work out after all), I’ve just started trying to sell children’s books and I’m trying to start out as a writer and all these things going on in my life at once along with being a full time mum, they just tear at me in a million different directions and if I’m not good at all these roles (which I’m frequently not) then the self criticism can be relentless. It also affects my relationships with others, if they’re not ambitious, I just can’t seem to find it in my nature or understanding to accept why they arn’t. So I wish I wasn’t as ambitious, I think it’d lead to a simpler life and I certainly wouldn’t daydream as much, about what I could do, what I could be, if only I worked hard enough.