Pop Quiz

I wonder if there are people who never have to think about what they’ll do with their life; fifth generation doctors, sons of coal miners (see Derek Zoolander), women of colonial times. In creating that small list it occurred to me that in every case, the occupation precedent came from the parents. I’m sure William Clay Ford Jr. gave as little thought to his career path as his parents did with the name. Regardless of how setup for a certain path you are, I am sure the thought of being a paleontologist crosses your mind at least once after learning about dinosaurs in 3rd grade.

The idea of what I will do when I am finished with these degrees is something that often graces my psyche. The disconnect comes from developing complicated interests that don’t always translate directly to a line of work.

dinosaurs = Paleontologist
making sick people better = doctor
improving urban environments for the health and quality of life of their people = garbage collector

Lately I have been hearing that I should be a teacher. This has come from several different sources with different interests but without collusion. In younger, more headstrong days, I would have ignored such outside insight and plowed ahead – taking the LSAT and applying to law schools – but with a bit more (not much)experience under my belt I am carefully considering the words of those who see me with different eyes. On one hand, I have put a lot of work into find a path of interest and pursuing it. Once I am finished with school I would not even be in a position to go on to become a teacher and perhaps everything I am doing now would be for not. On the other hand, being a teacher sounds rewarding and interesting. Maybe I could be good at it. Other people seem to think so. Of course I think I am good at what I am doing now (what was I just saying about being less headstrong?).

Here’s something Matt said to me recently over some chips and salsa fresca “I figure if I am ony going to make around 40k when I get out, why not go (back) to teaching and feel like I am contributing more.”

When I think about jobs I could do out of grad school, sometimes I lean to research, sometimes program implementation (perhaps with NGOs), sometimes I think I want to work at the city level because I think I could get more done there (more of what?) and sometimes I think about starting a firm (again, to do what?). Most of the time I am so confused I feel like 4×2=circle triangle.

So, as my first lesson plan, I have drafted this pop quiz for you, the reader. What should I do with my life? Be assured your comments will be considered thoroughly. Don’t forget to include your name (otherwise you’ll never get your grade back).

1. Which of these jobs best suits vargo?
a. scientist
b. teacher
c. politician
d. consultant
e. dj
f. blogger/journalist
g. doctor
h. other _________________

1a. If you said scientist, which type? Paleontologist?
1b. If you said teacher, which level and subject?
1c. If you said politician, which party and what level?
1d. If you said consultant, please describe the work you see him doing?

2. What skills does vargo have that would help him in the job you identified above? (nun-chuck skills are a given)

3. Suppose you lived near vargo, and occasionally saw him socially, what kind of job would put him in the best mood when you saw him (consider # of hours/wk, co-workers/clients, dress code and subject matter)?

3a. What type of work would you like to hear him talk about when you met?

4. What size organization do you see vargo working for?
a. 1 person, he runs his own show
b. 2-100, small office, lot of go-getters OR he runs a bigger show
c. 101-1000, larger org with couple small offices, think Innertrode
d. 1001 – 50,000 stuck in cube pushin’ paper for the man

5. Had you given the issue of vargo’s future any thought previously?
a. no, I have my own problems
b. once of twice, but I don’t really care
c. just now, but I am happy to help him with this
d. all the time, what is wrong with this picture

Thank you for participating, I look forward to seeing the results.


4 thoughts on “Pop Quiz

  1. What about both A & D (scientist + consultant)? COuld be a trusted advisor on certain matters (probably environmental ones, esp urban environmental science and the results of human actions) As for teaching, if enoyable, why not be a part-time instructor in a university (& move onto full-time closer to retirement) or even teach kids through venues such as explorer scouts, etc. F (writer) is also good but seems to go somewhat hand in hand w/ the previously mentioned professions.For 4 and 5, b and c, respectively.


  2. College professor in city planning or some form of science (I don’t know what you’re good at). Plus I think you’d look good in a white shirt with a tie and khakis. I’d like to hear about the hot girls in your class who love you for knowing someone who works on (insert popular show that I’m working on, here). You’d be making over 50 and be one of the top guys in your department.We can talk more about this over drinks on the 15th.


  3. dude, you should teach, but not yet. go out and experience some stuff for 5, 10, or 15 years. work for someone small and for someone big, then open up your own game. then, sell it for mad cash and options. then, come back to teach, while keeping tabs on the old biznass. you will be highly sought after with your combination of interests, and with a small belly from enjoying good beer. then, with a nice double income from your biznass and prof position (not to mention your other half) you will comfortable to retire. overall, just don’t worry about it. things have a way of falling into place when you are honest, sincere, and hard working. any questions?– jeff O


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