In many of the e-mails I get from readers, the same question seems to pop back up time and time again. It always comes out something like this: How did you find your calling?
And I always really want to get back to them, because this question really touches me. It took me so long to find what I wanted to do with my life !
And as there isn’t just one response to this question, and since I’m not at all a reference for self-help, the only thing I can do is…
Tell you the story of my life. Hehe. Love that.
How did I get where I am now? Start with the very beginning, a very good place to start. Before anything else, I have to tell you about my first experiences in the world of work… Because I really do think that everything you do in life adds up to where you end up.
My summer jobs.
My mother, who knew the peak of the feminist movement, always thought for an accomplished life, the most essential thing was independence. Don’t depend on anyone, she’d say to me, that’s freedom. And freedom, that’s the start of happiness. Simple as that.
So she encouraged me to start working young. Very young, so I knew I wasn’t cracked up to be :
Waitress : Now I don’t know what adolescent brain deformity I had because I had the impression that taking an order at a table was the Most Humiliating Thing Ever. C’mon girl.
And on top of that, I was so insurmountably timid. And I couldn’t even carry two plates at the same time.
The day that someone asked me if the red fruits in the red-fruit tart were from frozen or not I just starting crying in the middle of the restaurant. So I made my way into the kitchen, right by the dishwasher. At least there, I could find a moment of calm. I spent most of my time cracking up with the kitchen crew.
Windsurfing Instructor : My mother, who was none too pleased with my new dishwasher vocation slash best friend of all the line cooks, had the most ingenious idea for me : since I did a 3 day windsurfing program the summer before, she thought I’d be queen of the seas, and she found a job for me as an instructor in a summer camp.
Problem #1 = 3 day training!!! I have NO IDEA how to windsurf.
Problem #2 = She didn’t know that the summer camp in training was a camp for … NUDISTS. When I first got there, I had no idea what to do, and I didn’t dare tell her because I was worried about what she’d do.
Can you imagine teaching windsurfing, which you don’t know how to do, to people who are all entirely nude? I lasted two weeks, just because for some unexplainable and mysterious reason, nude people care much less about windsurfing than clothed people.
So I spent a few blissful days soaking up some sun with scornful eyes from the nudists who disdained the fact that I was wearing a bathing suit. A bathing suit. What an idea.
Receptionist : It’s exactly like that nudist camp in the way that you can’t wear what you want. But then on top of that, you spend hours and hours doing nothing. I tried to forget how bored I was by reading paperbacks, but I handed in my terribly tailored black suit when I guy came up and slipped me his number with a knowing look. I slapped him, and left. No, seriously.
Then after a few years of barely surviving super depressing summer jobs, something interesting finally came my way. With a few friends who invited themselves that I invited to spend a summer in my village in Corsica, we created a job of our own.
My village is situated on a small bay where boats stay anchored for the night.
I had a small motor boat, and my father had a kitchen with a big oven. We thought it would be great to deliver hot croissants to all the boats in the morning. We bought the best frozen croissants we could find and cooked ‘em, tasted them, oh man where they good. The next day, we set off to work.
The first day, we came back with pockets full of change and bills. We totally got ‘em. Shit. We were rich!!!
I found my new favorite summer job. I got up early, around five in the morning. I’d say good morning to the stars, and I’d get to work in the kitchen. I’d cook all the croissants and the kitchen would give off the most delicious odor. I’d make myself a giant coffee and keep going batch after batch watching the sun rise, a true moment of happiness.
And then at 8, a friend would join up with me. We’d hop in the boat and go sell the croissants. At 10, our work day was done… And vacation time could start.
And I did that until I found… my first real job.
And that’s where we’ll start off next time I get into the story of my life, we’ll save some for next time…
But I really want to know for serious now, is it interesting for you when I talk about all this?