A Second Career

I am currently working as a gardener. I love being my own boss, working in the dirt and creating life out of nothing. I design gardens, plant everything, and then I do all of the maintenance. It keeps me really busy from April through October and I make some decent money. But it is hard not working the rest of the year so I am thinking of finding a second career. When I was a kid I really wanted to be a vet. I love animals. I had a dog, several cats, geese, ducks, turkeys, sheep, cows, and a horse. But when my dog got sick I realized that I couldn’t do it. Put me in a crisis situation with a person, I am fine. I can calmly assess the situation, call help if needed, deal with minor cuts and bruises, and offer my support if required. If an animal is injured I panic! At the first sight of blood, or pain in those big, gentle eyes, my head flies out the window. I am useless! I can’t think rationally at all and I am of no use to anyone. I currently have four dogs and two cats but my husband deals with all emergencies. I thought about becoming a doctor but I simply don’t have the resources to devote to twelve years of school. I don’t want to be a nurse as my mom was a nurse and I am just not selfless enough. They work very hard for very little reward.

I have worked a lot of different office jobs. I have worked in call centres, I have worked in administration for a bank, I have done temp work in government offices, and I have worked in offices in Malaysia and India. The office culture is just not something that I want to have as part of my life. It is so tedious; the backstabbing, the dress codes, the memos, the emails, with “Reply to Everyone” so you get to hear everyone’s small complaints… It is just not something I want to deal with every day.

I thought about returning to school to get my Psychology degree so that I could work in the prison system and implement changes for people. The idea of creating hope for people who have nothing really inspires me. But I have decided that I just don’t have the resources to go to school fulltime for four years. I am not guaranteed a good job when I graduate either. I would still have to search for a job.
I have worked in retail. I have sold coffee, shoes, clothing, and books. I am not a sales person. I am not even very good at selling myself in job interviews. I know that if I put my energy into it I could be a good sales person. I think everyone is capable of it but it comes more naturally to some. But it is just not something that I want to put my energy into.

sqb75suwAnd this is going to sound strange, but my dad is always wanting me to help out at his gun range. He’s nothing like me. Gruff and tough-minded but loving all the same. Has a lifetime interest in all the gruff, red-state stuff like hunting and shooting so I knew how to shoot a .22 since I was a wee little girl. Annie Oakley I’m not, but I’ll help out at his gun range, though I wouldn’t exactly call that a career. I’m proficient at shooting and reloading bullets. Strange but true.

I am thinking about applying for a skilled trade program. I could be an electrician, a plumber, or an HVAC technician. The government is offering some very good incentives to join these programs. There is government funding for school, and you can get your schooling the whole time you are working. You get paid time off to study and take your exams and it is a great way to start a career with very little debt accrued. The wages offered for these jobs are great as well. I could still run my gardening business during the summer months and then pick up trade contracts during the winter. This is definitely something that I want to look into further.


gardeningI love working as a gardener. I am my own boss, so I set my own hours. I work in the sun and rain and I feel at one with nature.

I love creating something beautiful and life giving out of nothing. When I first set up my home garden it was in a neighborhood that had seen some rough times. As I dug through the layers of grass to get to the clean dirt I found evidence of this. There were broken pieces of beer bottles, cigarette butts, rubber bands, and pieces of wire including a rusted hanger. As I dug the pile of garbage beside me got bigger and bigger.

I was tempted to give up at one point, it seemed like the garbage was never ending, but there was a small rose bush that had survived on the edge of the garden that was flourishing. The roses were a vibrant shade of red and it was my beacon of hope the whole time I was working.

That something so beautiful could survive amongst all of this crap inspired me to keep going. After about four evenings of intensive digging and I had two trash bags full of garbage and a plot about six feet wide by ten foot long to plant my seeds. I love having fresh vegetables from the garden all summer so I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, mixed greens, zucchini, and green beans.

I also planted pumpkins so my niece and I will have something to carve at Halloween. As the vegetables began to sprout I noticed that the bugs began to return as well. I had created a home for worms, and beetles, and other crawly creatures. The birds returned as well to eat those bugs, and the various pets in the neighbor even provide free fertilizer too.  ;)

I had created life out of a pile of garbage and had gotten a good workout out of it too.