IT'S NEVER TOO LATE 
TO CHANGE CAREERS

    My wife came home the other night and announced that she has decided to enter the job market. Or at least consider entering the job market.
    "The kids are gone, the dog died, life is just beginning," she said. "I'm ready for some action."
    "So what are you going to do?" I asked, not believing her for a second. "It's been awhile since you were in the work force."
    "I knew you were going to ask," she replied. "So I went out and took one of those career tests, where they ask all kinds of personal questions and then tell you exactly the career that suits your personality."
   This was bound to be interesting. "And what, pray tell, did they come up with for you?"
   I could tell she was pleased. "They narrowed it down to three," she replied. "You're looking at a future hairdresser, ski instructor or investment banker."
   "Huh?"
   "That's right," she continued. "I haven't decided which one to pursue just yet. I'm leaning towards ski instructor, though, because I'll only have to work in the winter."
    And, in fact, she's had experience. Growing up in the Laurentians north of Montreal, she worked in the ski patrol during high school, where she actually set some poor young skier's broken leg. He's still limping around Quebec today.
    "OK, I can understand ski instructor," I said, "but how do you explain hairdresser and investment banker? That seems a little strange."
    "How do I know?" she responded. "I just answered all the questions. Maybe I should invest in a hair salon and then take it public."
    That seemed logical. The whole episode certainly peaked my interest, though. The next day I decided I wanted to take the test and see which career best suited me. There was always the chance that I had completely wasted my life by choosing the wrong occupation. I had to know.
    Sure enough, I found my life to be a complete failure. I answered all the questions, and nowhere in the results did it suggest that I should own restaurants and retail stores, which is what I've wasted my life doing.
    But I'm only 61, still a young buck with years ahead of me. It was not too late to start a new career. At least that's what I told my wife when I announced to her the results of my test.
    "Let me guess," she said when I told her our lives were about to change. "Professional athlete, aerospace engineer, or rock star."
    It was clear she wasn't taking me seriously. But it was uncanny how she picked a few careers that the study indicated I had interest. However, the study also spelled out, in bold face, "It is important to note that interest in an activity does not necessarily indicate skill."
    Reluctantly, I had to rule those choices out. I needed to be realistic. The three choices that were ultimately chosen for me made all the sense in the world.
    "Are you ready?" I asked. "Because you are looking at a future trial lawyer, management consultant, or cosmetologist."
    She practically leaped out of her chair to hug me. "This is so exciting," she squealed. "You can work at the hair salon I'll be investing in!!"
    "Excuse me," I replied, holding her at arm's length. "I'm a cosmetologist, you're a hairdresser. What could we possibly have in common? I'll be studying the cosmos while you're shampooing hair."
    "I think you're confusing cosmetologist with cosmologist," she patiently explained, pointing out how a couple of letters can make a difference in careers. "A cosmETologist usually works in a hair salon."
    Oh. That was disturbing. I said nothing and went into the other room and googled cosmetologist. Applying makeup and cutting hair clearly had nothing to do with studying the universe. But who was I to question these career tests?
    I went back to where my wife was sitting and crept up behind her and started braiding her hair. Or I would have if I knew how to braid. Becoming a cosmetologist was not going to be easy, and might take years to learn, but it was soothing to remember I was only a young buck of 61.





 

 

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