I was cleaning out some old stuff in my basement recently when I stumbled upon this report I did in elementary school. The assignment was called “My Future Job.” Here it is above!

Besides the fact that I am blown away by how nice my handwriting was back then (it isn’t like this today!), the content is mind blowing. I am doing EXACTLY what I wanted to do when I was 11 years old. Get a load of this: “When I grow up I want to be the president of an advertising agency. I have wanted to be this ever since fourth grade. I know I’d be good at this job because I am very creative, good at making slogans, and am good at designing.”

Here’s my reaction to some of the other content from the assignment:

THEN: “As the president of a company I can keep people on task.”
NOW: This is really humorous as I am highlighting truly one of my best skills. For example, I am always on top of my employees with their accounts and my husband/kids with everything we need to do every day. Just ask them!

THEN: “I got the idea from the show Who’s The Boss. Angela Bower is a role model for me.”
NOW: I do remember really enjoying this show, but this really affirms the importance of these character roles from TV shows we watched in our youth.

THEN: “When I become the president of a advertising agency I hope to get accounts with many important products. This way I will make a lot of money.”
NOW: Even at 11, I was determined to make money and had my eye on the ball (i.e., the better the accounts, the more money there is to make!).

THEN: “The only disadvantage about this job is there is a lot of good competition. If I don’t become one of the best I will be out of a job, but I know I’ll be one of the best if I try my hardest”.
NOW: OMG! This is so me I can’t even believe it. In the early days of CertifiKID, I was hyper-focused on my competitors Groupon, Living Social, Plum District, Doodle Deals, etc. My 6th grade self was right that if I tried my hardest I would become the best.

The irony of this essay is that this was NOT the path I ended up following. I ended up going to college for Criminal Justice and graduate school for Security Management. How did this happen? I specifically remember going to see my Penn State college counselor because I came to school with an undecided major. After telling her I watched Law & Order every night, she recommended this major as she thought it would be a great fit for me. When I graduated and realized there was no way I was going to feel comfortable being a cop and carrying a gun, I decided to continue my studies in graduate school by seeking a masters in the field of Security Management. I graduated in the summer of 2001 and could not get a job as the field was not a welcoming one for educated, petite women with no experience. It was beyond frustrating. But then September 11, 2001 happened and my life changed (well, first, my long-time boyfriend dumped me that day and I met my husband weeks later); my phone was off the hook with job opportunities. I ended up flying to Boston that week to Logan airport to help train their airport security staff which was a surreal experience. I progressed in the field of Security Management and attained some terrific positions with a government contractor and law firm. However, deep down, I always felt something was missing for me and that starting my own business was my ultimate calling and dream.

I think we know our true selves best in our early youth and we should trust those instincts and not let adults, society, or peer pressure veer us off course from where our hearts and heads are telling us to go.

For me, the major lesson I learned from finding this article was to listen carefully to my kids who are now of the age I was when I wrote this piece. They are already signaling the directions they want to go in life. What they are saying may sound silly, but if it is what they truly desire, why discourage them? Currently, my daughter is telling me she is going to be a celebrity hair and makeup artist and my son wants to go into sports broadcasting (if he can’t play professional sports which I do think is unlikely given his genes, but who knows?!). Maybe 30 years from now, I will be reading this having my mind blown again?