I’m a Recovering Job Gypsy. What Are You?

How many stops along the path did it take you to find your niche? Were you one of the lucky ones that always knew all along what you wanted to be when you grew up, never wavering? My husband was one of those. He always knew he wanted to write. He pursued the course through college and landed himself a place at a television and film studio. Sure, he had to pay his dues, put in the time, but he got to write. The path may have taken him somewhere he hadn’t planned for and never expected when he was younger, but he welcomed the new developments with open arms and he’s happy with his current status.

I, on the other hand, bounced around a few times. I thought I wanted to do one thing only to discover it wasn’t so and I’d move on to the next. As a result, I have a plethora of varied experiences – all miles away from the architecture school I started in. I’ve worked at a gas station, a movie theater, a bank, in insurance tracking, at a bar, produced fashion shows and managed a men’s apparel department.  All that before I landed my butt here, writing. I’m probably missing something, but that’s a good enough list for now. You can even throw in the mommy job if you want to. I was a job gypsy.

Fashion shows – the world of fashion. Pretty glamorous – right? Many people on the outside seem to think so. This is my work, what do you think? When you get into the nitty-gritty, it’s anything but glamorous.

It was the fashion business where I questioned my know-how. I was producing shows in malls and trade shows in Las Vegas. Did I know what I was doing?

That question would send me back to school in search of validation. I had a degree in Business, Operations Management, to be specific, to my name, yet I needed more. Business know-how didn’t mean I knew a thing about art. So, after completing my college years and working in the trenches for some time, I put the school girl attire back on and headed off to another campus for more learning. I can now slap a professional designation behind my name from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM).

Curious what kind of art comes out of a school like FIDM? Head over to Karen Rought’s blog, The Midnight Novelist, where I am the guest today and find out.

So tell us, did you always know what you wanted to do? Or were you like me, bouncing around a lot looking for the right fit?


Know that I always appreciate your time and love it when you stop by, plus take the time to comment. Huge thanks! If you enjoyed this piece or any of my previous pieces, I’d be delighted to have you follow via email or RSS for any future posts!

42 thoughts on “I’m a Recovering Job Gypsy. What Are You?”

  1. Emma BurcartEmma Burcart

    I knew what I wanted to do, but was too scared to persue it in college. I took one of the entry level classes in the school of journalism and told myself they’d never accept me into the program. So, I went with something that I was already good at: teaching. College was therefore easy for me and I did really well, except for the math classes. But I definitely missed out on the challenge of studying something I wasn’t good at naturally. Then, in my fifth or so year of teaching, I took a writing class for teachers which led me to my real passion. Now I see the challenge of learning new things and creating something that didn’t exist before. There are times when I regret not following my passions at a younger age, but I have to let that do. Regret doesn’t do anyone any good. So now I am working on how to transition out of teaching and into writing as a paying career. Great post. It obviously got me thinking!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      At least you knew what you wanted to do. I was rather clueless. I never thought anyone would want to listen to word I had to write. I scratching around all the other arts but nothing felt like the right 🙁

  2. Jessica O'NealJessica O'Neal

    I am still a job gypsy (I was also a college major gypsy). When I graduated high school I had no idea what I wanted to do. I started as a vocal performance major, but when I realized I was burnt out on that after going to art schools for 7 years I switched to accounting, then I realized I would be miserable as an accountant so I switched to psychology. After graduating I got a job as an ABA therapist/teacher for kids with autism. I loved it, but got burnt out after 3 years. After spending two months without a job and no idea what direction to go, I got the first job I could land as a nanny where I still am after 2 years. I still have no clue what I will do when this gig runs its course.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      It gives you incentive to write lots of popular books! 😀 I know how you feel. I was spent plenty of timen checking into a job I wasn’t sure of. I’m lucky in the situation I have now.

  3. susielindaususielindau

    I think that is awesome! I am sure you have many stories to tell or write about that experience….My path is so ridiculous I could write a book about it… 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      With as many experiences as you allude to, you have a fantastic well to draw from when sketching out all your many characters! 🙂 That’s the upside. Yay for that, right?

      • susielindaususielindau

        I am laughing as I read this. I agree! I always seem to have the craziest things happen to me… 🙂

  4. Tim L O'BrienTim L O'Brien

    Hello job gypsy meet job nomad. During college I worked at our campus radio station doing sports broadcasts. After graduation I went to work in Media Relations for the Athletic Department at the school I graduated from. After seven years (the job was great but the pay was horrible) I jumped off the cliff and went self-employed, determined to control my own destiny. I started my own graphic design business which led to many other roads. I started a monthly agricultural publication in Texas and Oklahoma, started a independent record label and managed several local, regional and national bands, all while still doing the graphic design. I then opened a restaurant/bar in the campus area entertainment district featuring live music. The job was great but after five years the hours and dealing with drunks every night got old so I sold the business. I then moved to Ft. Worth and managed a corporate cajun restaurant in the downtown area. Then moved to Tulsa to manage a fine dining steak house, which was a huge mistake. Back to Oklahoma City to manage another cajun restaurant. Enough was enough. Now I write!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      That sounds amazing Tim! A friend of mine and I always wanted to open a piano bar together, but then he had to go and die. 🙁 Obviously life had other plans for us both. But you bring up a good point about the drunks which I remember well from closing up those many nights when I was bartending. I am sure it would get old fast. My father went the self-employed route. The fact that he was never away from work didn’t escape my notice. It went with us everywhere. And I don’t believe he was in love with it the way I love writing. I guess it takes a lot of testing for some of us, or a real kick in the pants. Glad you found your “thing.”

  5. EmmaEmma

    I’m still bouncing around looking for the right fit. I knew I loved writing, every since I was a kid in school but didn’t know how to make a career out of it.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I think there are lots of ways if you are open to all of them. I tend to be stuck to the story method. If I start writing lots of articles and such it pulls my head out of my book and stops the flow. I have to be careful with the blogging for the same reason. My husband found a way, many do, so they are out there. Hope you follow up with 10 more books!

  6. tedstrutztedstrutz

    I was more like you, and I have always envied people like your husband. But then, I think of all the things I have gotten into… I mean done… and the people I have met. Your line… Did I know what I was doing?… made me stop and think of the accomplishments I am proudest. Mostly not I think.

    Nice slideshow… who is that cute blond who keeps popping up?

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I like the line, “gotten into.” I can see your eyes sparkling when you type that. LOL Sounds like you have had a colorful past that may have been just what you needed to mold you into the perfect you! Yay for Ted! We all get the path we need. I sometimes wish mine had been more straight forward, but that would have meant missing out on so much. You must remember, this is my story and I get to edit. 😀 I can make it sound as tame as I like. Hehehe

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Blonde? What blonde? LOL I forgot to thank you for your sweet compliment. 🙂

  7. Melinda VanLoneMelinda VanLone

    I love that slideshow…I have to figure out how to do that! To answer your question, I bounced around a LOT. I had 6 or 7 different majors in College. Everything from Music Therapy to psychology to journalism and broadcasting to publishing. I tried to throw Theater in there but my parents balked at that one. I have an English degree, which I then ignored to become an Administrative Assistant…which I promptly left. I wound up in graphics where I stayed for a long, long time and now…back to writing! In there also was my first job behind the counter at Dairy Queen, truck-stop waitressing, reader to a old blind couple, and a short jaunt at Testing Service at the university where I met my future husband. Fashion looks like it would have fit my collection well, except…I can’t sew! Fun to see though. It DOES look glamorous from this side.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      The slideshow is easy. I’ll send you the info on how to do it when you’re kicking my butt next week.

      Oh my! I only made it as far as 2 majors. I figured business was fairly safe and could be applied to most anything. It was my blanket major. LOL I wanted to pursue dance, but my dad had a few words to say about that before I hit college. I can’t sew either. But I only had to show the designs, not make them. I think graphic arts would have fit into my profile well. I did a lot of art the old way.

  8. Angela Orlowski-PeartAngela Orlowski-Peart

    I had a few jobs, but I’m not sure if that qualifies me for the glamorous name “job gypsy” :-))) By profession I am a Human Resources and Payroll Administrator (plus I have done years of accounting) since that’s my background. But I’ve also done some modeling and studied interior design at the Art Institute of Seattle, although I’ve never pursued that carrier. The mommy job is what I’m very accomplished in (*smiles*). But being a writer is what brings a lot of joy and satisfaction into my life in addition to raising my children. I think this is the last job that I will ever apply for!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Gypsy – glamorous? Have you ever met a gypsy? I have. I met a small band of them. Interesting. Accounting! Ha! My grandparents spent countless hours trying to talk me into that career. Secretly, I think they were trying to play matchmaker with their neighbor kid who went to the same school and majored in accounting. Yeah, didn’t happen.

      I can totally see you modeling – beautiful you! I can see you at interior design as well. Especially with all your pictures on pinterest. I thought about interior design, but shied away from it in the end. See, I could have added more to my list had I only jumped in there. LOL I love your list, Angela.

  9. Karen McFarlandKaren McFarland

    My goodness Debra, you are a multi-talented, multi-faceted lady! A gypsy? Naw. But you did make me think. I never knew what to do or what my true interests were. There’s a story here, but I won’t go into it. But what I value most was my relationship with God and with my husband and the opportunity to become a mother. And that is what I cherish most. The other things that I’ve done in my life, well, just don’t seem as important. So my friend, you’ve accomplished quite a lot. But most importantly, you’re a wonderful partner/wife and mother. It’s one of the best gigs in the world! 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Well, it sounded good for a title at least. LOL Now you should know you can’t throw out crumbs like that and yank the goodies away. That’s so unfair. We will have to meet up for coffee so that you may share this story! When I struggled for my fit I considered so many places, but never landed in any of them. Crazy. You are a wonderful mother and wife. I don’t have to see you in person to see it shine all around you. 🙂

  10. coleen patrickcoleen patrick

    I knew, but I lacked the courage, so I always went for whatever was more “acceptable” at the time. I still struggle with it in certain circles. I am recovering from the disease to please, slowly but surely. 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I get that all too well. Once I knew I had to write I also lacked the courage to admit it to anyone, and wasn’t sure I was writing for more than myself. But look at us now! Here we are, both of us. We must be headed in the right direction. 🙂

  11. artistlynneartistlynne

    What a wonderful and naustalgic trip back in time with you my dear. Love the post xoxo

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thanks! Bring back a few memories? I wanted to include runway pics from Redondo/South Bay. I saw them recently, but couldn’t find them when putting this together. Doesn’t it figure?

  12. Shannon EspositoShannon Esposito

    Ha, at least you have lots of different experiences to pull from for your writing! I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but did everything else on the planet instead. I think that makes me worse than a job-jypsy. Glad we figure it out eventually though 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Exactly! That’s the way I look at it. When I write it, I can write with experience. Shannon, I don’t think you’re alone in avoiding your dream. Many of us do it out of fear. Fear of failure. I didn’t pursue my dream of dance because my father talked me out of it. Regret. Once I realized I wanted to write I let thirteen years go by before I followed through. We all do it with something. It doesn’t make us any better or worse, just human. 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Exactly! That’s the way I look at it. When I write it, I can write with experience. Shannon, I don’t think you’re alone in avoiding your dream. Many of us do it out of fear. Fear of failure. I didn’t pursue my dream of dance because my father talked me out of it. Regret. Once I realized I wanted to write I let thirteen years go by before I followed through. We all do it with something. It doesn’t make us any better or worse, just human. 🙂

  13. Jennette Marie PowellJennette Marie Powell

    I always wanted to be a writer, and majored in English in college, but after freshman year, my dad gave me the what-are-you-going-to-do-for-a-living-with-this talk. I’d always been good at art (and liked it), so I switched to graphic design. I worked in the field for over 10 years when the www started to take off. I taught myself web design, and realized I liked th techie side of that much more than the ever-so-subjective art side. So I got caught up in the dot-com boom and gradually switched into programming, which I’ve never regretted. I also started seriously writing fiction after the switch. I’ve stayed in each job for over 4 years, so I probably don’t qualify for gypsy-dom. But I love designing my own book covers, and having the technical know-how to deal with formatting, etc. as well as design my print books, so it’s all worked out wonderfully. Chances are, all your seemingly-disparate skills will come in handy during your writerly journey, too!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      He he. I think I addressed the dad thing in another comment. My dad did something similar to me regarding my dream. They mean well, they just came from a different time and worry about their daughters being able to pay the bills. I get it. I don’t want my kid moving back in when they are 30 or 40 either. LOL Sounds like it was a worthwhile path for you as it has given you the ability to do it all where your book is concerned. Yay! And I agree, there is a reason for the path I took. Some of the reasons are obvious, some, not so much, but they all play a part in the big picture that is my life and I wouldn’t change any of it.

  14. Fabio BuenoFabio Bueno

    Debra, thanks for sharing. All those jobs must have come with stories–maybe becoming a writer was an easy transition after all 🙂
    I’m not a job hopper–I’ve worked on the same field and career my whole adulthood. Oh, well. Maybe that’s why I look for refuge in books!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      You are welcome! Yes, there are stories, if my muddled brain can remember them. LOL Just kidding… or am I? Writing becomes therapeutic. I don’t think you need to have multiple jobs to be a good writer. It’s all about the imagination. I’m sure your story rocks.

  15. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    Recovering job gypsy—love that! I’ve definitely bounced around to get to my niche. Those bounces are important, I feel, but not always pleasant. LOL I could go on and on about my bounces—but the short list goes something like this: I started out modeling a gigantic dog dish in Minnesota, then to runway shows and print in NYC and Europe (like you said, SOUNDS glamourous…. ;)), and have since done everything from wrapping people in plastic wrap and teaching cooking classes (not at the same time), to working on a magazine staff and acting in music videos and indie-films. Thank goodness acting led to writing, as I’ve never been happier.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Yep, your modeling gig sounds glamorous. But it mirrors my uncle’s career so I know the truth. The gigantic dog dish brings visions of Clifford. Sorry – I have kids. The only positive side I see to acting are the residual checks. Those are nice! But those only come if you get on a big enough project. Sometime you will have to share with us the bit about wrapping people in plastic. That sounds like an interesting story. Unless we are talking about a salon weight-loss gig. Then it’s the wording that makes it interesting. 🙂

  16. Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, LaughingKristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

    I’ve known I wanted to write since I was fifteen. But knowing and doing are two different things. Well, I’ve always written, just never pursued it seriously because life always got in the way. During that time I worked in a couple of restaurants, as a secretary and some management. Mostly I was a mom. But now I’m putting writing back near the top of the list (family and health will always come first).

    Wish my career path looks as exciting as yours has been though. 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      You think that looks exciting? Wish it felt exciting at the time. LOL I’m so glad you are getting your writing career back in the spot of priority where it belongs. Kudos to you. I think it’s great you always knew. I remember sitting at the table telling stories when I was seven or eight, but I was clueless.

      • Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, LaughingKristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

        I think it just takes a while sometimes. I mean who really decides when they’re a kid that they’re going to make a living writing novels? Most everyone looks at that kind of writing as a hobby. Something you do in your spare time (which is what I did). At least you know now. And who knows? Maybe you needed all of those experiences in order TO write. I mean you really have a lot of information you can use in future stories here…and YES…it looks exciting to me, lol. But then I consider myself to be living one of the most boring lives in the history of lives. 🙂

        • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

          Nah, don’t call your life boring. When I was a kid I thought I wanted to drive a big rig with a monkey at my side. LOL. Sound familiar? After that I wanted to become an Angel – Charlie’s Angel!! Alright, then I grew up and got real.

          • Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, LaughingKristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

            LOL…both of them sound familiar. Jeez I had such a crush on Greg Evigan! I didn’t want to drive a truck though. That’s what my dad did all his life so I knew it wasn’t glamorous at all. I want to be a CHiP so I could date a guy like Jon. 🙂

  17. Tracey LivesayTracey Livesay

    I always thought there was such freedom in not knowing what you wanted to do. It was groomed and instilled in me from a young age that I would graduate high school, go to college and attend some graduate school. Doing horribly in organic chemistry meant law school instead of medical school and I practiced law for 5 years before having my kids.
    The funny thing is that I always wrote fiction stories, from the time I was a little girl. But there was never any thought of trying to do it professionally. Tell my dad I wanted to be a writer? Not happening. But I finally found my way back to doing what I have always loved to do.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I thank my lucky stars I didn’t have to do either. I know I would have been miserable. My aunt is a big time lawyer and I don’t see her having any fun. Our dads – they mean well. God bless them! So glad you found your way back to where your heart lies. 🙂

  18. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    I missed this post, Debra. so i’m late to the party. through some volunteer work, i realized i had leadership skills and so i took a business degree at university. that got me some good jobs but lordy I got bored. so i took a BA in Psych, while working full time (20 courses in 22 months, with 3 teenagers, some volunteer work and a full time job…crazy, I know.)

    I got laid off so did my masters in counseling psych and started to write at the same time I decided to end my 30 year marriage. then came a round of different things – at one time I was the chief financial officer for a non profit agency. i served as the accountant when three agencies merged into one. I taught classes to & counselled families of adults with mental illness, taught life skills to the mentally ill and started program for parents of children with mental illness. now i’m the manager of interpretation and translation for the provincial health care service.

    i wouldn’t have got this job wihtout those others. so yes, i’m a job gypsy, but i’ve loved it. boredome is my biggest failing.

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