Sean McHugh: Deciding the direction of the rest of my life

Thursday November 15, 2012


I had always assumed that since every singles bar, club, restaurant, museum, gallery, and cell-phone kiosk in the Berkshires has its own Halloween party on the Saturday before Halloween, this must be true elsewhere as well.

I learned differently this year when I decided to go to Northampton to meet my girlfriend and check out the All Hallows festivities there.

We discovered that the only party in town was doing full pat-downs at the door and my costume was too elaborate to be allowed in. The reasoning was that the people most likely to start trouble are the ones wearing a homemade jetpack that took two weeks to build.

My girlfriend is in North ampton because she transferred to Smith College earlier this fall. She should finish her degree in two years. And since her major is slightly more applicable than mine -- essentially a bachelor's of arts in working references to Greek mythology into essays -- she may go to grad school or perhaps even get a job.

During the next two years I need to get my act together such that I can have a career that can either move with her or be a steady set up she can base her program near.

And if I want to pursue something that requires some kind of degree or certificate program, I have the time now to complete it, provided that I get started in the spring. So I have about a month and a half to decide what I'm going to do with the rest of my life.

Here are some fields I am idly considering.

Nursing: The fact that it is one of the few fields that probably won't be taken over by robots makes it attractive, plus being able to wear pajamas to work. However it seems sort of high pressure and I don't know if I'd have the stomach for it. There'd probably be a lot of fluids involved too.

Also I'd hate to have to forget some of the board game rules and obscure Greek myths I keep on mental file to make room for a catalog of prescription drugs with names designed by hitting a keyboard at random.

On the plus side, though I think that my customer-service experience would prepare me for dealing with patients and family members, except if someone was being a jerk I could just unplug their IV.

Teaching: I'm sure I would make a pretty awesome history teacher, and probably a passable English teacher as well if I could get a handle on the coma splices, but there are a few problems.

First off, the history curriculum I remember from high school seemed built on the design principles that a) history of places other than America is pointless and b) history should have the more interesting parts excised to prevent the students' minds from becoming over-excited.

This philosophy resulted in a lot of classes on tariffs and, criminally, absolutely none on the time that Andrew Jackson beat a would-be assassin senseless.

Most important though, I wouldn't want to deal with parents. I've heard of too many cases of parents deciding that being involved with their children's education means yelling at their teachers to raise their grade.

Green technology: Jobs in this field are getting pretty trendy now as more and more people start to grudgingly acknowledge that oil is a finite commodity. Granted, I know absolutely nothing about that sort of machinery, but it would be cool to build things and gain a craft of a sort. Though I imagine that a lot of these positions end up as being the guy who pulls the shrink wrap off the solar panel and plugs it in, rather than actually constructing the panel on the fly as it appears in my head.

Also any kind of tech-based job has the tendency to disappear completely in 10 years or so after it gets proven that the device on which it depends is replaced or discovered to cause cancer.

Ten years ago I never would have imagined I'd be where I am now, but that's mostly because I never really imagined my own future. I don't think I ever planned further ahead than a single semester.

My plan was to trust in John Lennon and do what I enjoyed and life would show up somewhere along the way. And that was apparently true.


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