The Jason Hahn Files: Let’s Talk About Second Careers

“Seriously, I’m like a porn star who shows up for work only because there’s work. And there’s free cookies between takes.”

 

I read somewhere once that in their lifetime, Millennials will have between 10 and 20 different careers. And that doesn’t mean promotions in the same job or field, so that you might start out as a bookkeeper when you’re 23 and by the time you’re 65, you’re an auditor.

No, it means a Millennial might graduate with a law degree, and then in her 20s, decides she wants to be a baker, a farmer at 35, a drummer at 40, a journalist at 45 and, by the time she’s 65, she’s a junior dog groomer.

Apparently, this is a real thing, but leave it to my mother to announce that this kind of nonsense can only happen if you haven’t moved out of home by the time you’re 25.

“You know what keeps a person in the same job?” she asked the other day during lunch at Crystal Jade. A perfectly manicured eyebrow lifted in disdain, though you could tell she was careful not to frown on account of the age lines she’s been careful to avoid her entire life.

“Panic! Panic, that’s what. If you need a job to pay your mortgage and feed the kids, and your parents have made it perfectly clear that they’re spending all your inheritance on First-Class round the world trips, you can bet you won’t be ditching your law degree to become a baker!”

As my sister Michelle later pointed out, it was really amazing how Mother could place such an inflection on the word ‘baker’ that she gave it the kind of emotional resonance you normally associate with a conversation about a hooker with a troubling yeast infection.

“I mean, look at you!” she said.

“Excuse me,” I said, “but I don’t have a troubling yeast infection!”

Michelle giggled. “I meant you gave up law and became a writer. You haven’t turned out so bad.”

“Which reminds me,” I said, “can I borrow 200 bucks? It’s my turn to buy groceries this week.”

Michelle stopped in her tracks. “Seriously?”

Later, as I was browsing the cereal aisle at Cold Storage, I remembered the old lady in my Accounting 100 course back in my university days. I say she was old, but she was probably in her 50s at the time, but when you’re 18 years old, 50 might as well be time for the hospice.

Anyway, every Tuesday and Thursday mornings, this lady would slip into the lecture hall. Dressed in sensible heels, dress falling below her knees and wearing a light cardigan, she’d sit quietly in the front row.

 And because she always came in a few seconds before the lecture began, she never spoke to anyone and as soon as it was over, she’d disappear just as quickly out the door.

Well, it wasn’t till our second year when several classmates transferred to medicine that we realised the quiet ‘old lady’ from Accounting 100 was, in fact, the Med School’s head of surgery. 

Apparently, she took lectures on consolidated balance sheets and inventory ageing as a way to destress and to learn something new. Which, to a 19-year-old, made absolutely no sense at all.

Though my friend Jane recently announced that she was giving her journalism career a bit of a break. “I’m going to do private home dining!” she said with a level of enthusiasm that caused Saffy to remark she’d always found Jane a bit weird and here was proof.

“Why would you invite complete strangers into your house and cook for them?” she asked.

“Cause you could clear a thousand dollars a night,” I told her.

Saffy’s eyes widened. “My God, is that how much Jane’s making? Hey, maybe we should do that too!”

“You literally cannot make rice in our rice cooker,” Amanda said. “What makes you think you can cook an eight-course dinner for 10 people?”

Saffy’s bosom deflated as she saw her dreams of a thousand dollars a night evaporate under the full glare of Amanda’s reality check. “Ugh… I just hate my job so much, you have no idea! Why did I ever decide to work in HR? Seriously, I’m like a porn star who shows up for work only because there’s work. And there’s free cookies between takes.”

Amanda says there must be a bug in the air because she just found out her friend Joanne is quitting her auditors job to start a new career in clinical psychology.

“Emotional traumas and neuroses? That’s going to make her happier?” I asked.

Amanda shrugged. “I guess it’s all relative. Out there somewhere is a porn star dreaming of a much more fulfilling life as an HR executive.”

 

 

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