I like to know stuff.
I have always loved school. Except for that time in kindergarten when I spilled cocoa from my thermos all over my lap and all the first graders made fun of me for peeing my pants. Aside from stuff like that, though, I never could understand why other kids seemed to dread back-to-school time. What could be better than spending all day learning new things?
When I wasn’t in school, I read. Sure, I played outside, too, and directed my stuffed animals in plays I had written, but my most favoritest of faves was reading. More than once my parents had to scold me for reading at the dinner table instead of interacting. (I’ll bet that felt weird to a couple of teachers – scolding their own kid for reading.) In fourth grade I even got in trouble for reading during class (I hadn’t yet heard the word multitasking at that age, and even so, chances are pretty slim that the teacher in question would have accepted that explanation.)
I’m not particular about topic either. I like learning all sorts of new things. I always had trouble with the question, “What’s your favorite subject?” So when it was time to decide what to do for a living, I picked veterinarian. Why stop at two or four years of college when you could tack on another whole four years of science and medicine after that? And why stop at one species, when you could learn about a whole bunch of species? (No offense intended to those in human medicine, who really do have an amazing knowledge base and for whom I have the utmost respect.)
Eventually, I graduated and had to get an actual job doing stuff. I’ve been extremely fortunate during my career to have had the opportunity to explore not only clinical practice, but also cancer research and regulatory medicine.
After my kids came along, the idea of a job with more predictable hours began to seem more appealing. So, of course, I went back to school and earned a degree in accounting, and have been practicing in the Higher Education field for several years now. After all, why stick with one career when you can have several in succession?
The thing is, I don’t just like to know things, I like to help other people to know things, too. I’ve made communication a central part of just about every position I’ve held, and my clients, coworkers, and supervisors have often commended me for it. So a shift to freelance technical writing seems like a perfectly logical next step. What better way to earn a living than by learning new things, and then explaining them to others?