One of the things I’m trying to do on my vacation is a bit of mapping out and career planning. It turns out if you ask me where I want to be in five years I have no fucking idea.

In my life I have, at least three times, been absolutely sure of what I wanted to be and been TOTALLY WRONG. Things I was really good at in one situation – school, coop – and then reality hits and it all goes down the drain.

Couple this with a few bad managers who mad me feel like I must be a complete idiot, and a few stops and starts and I can’t even pinpoint myself on a map right now.

All of my jobs connect through skills I have – skills I have been improving over the course of 20-plus years, but it’s not like I earned a degree that put me on a specific path which I have then followed and now I know what the next step up the ladder is.

All I know is that I always want to feel good about the work that I do. I always want to be excited.

The biggest similarities between my job 10 years ago and my job right now are a team I love working with and work I know I do well.

I also like to learn new things and research new things, but I’ve had such big hits to my confidence with such bad managers in the past that I still get nervous any time a higher up asks to speak to me or calls me or asks me to call them. Full on ‘what did I do wrong’ panic sets in.

Joe thinks I could be a great manager – especially because I have seen the distance between good and very bad – but I worry that I want to control too much. I would maybe someday like to have my opinions – my ‘takes’ – taken more seriously and considered.

As I worked this federal election – the fourth time I have done so – I thought about all of the things I know. It’s a lot. I have a lot of knowledge and experience and I can compare a lot of things I know from then to what’s happening now.

I have a unique background. No one else grew up in a family like I did, primed for a career like I’ve had. No one else has news and political instincts like mine, because I have been surrounded by journalism and politics since I was a literal baby.

(A Senator once cooed over my sister, and we went to school with the children of a Deputy Prime Minister, but we were mostly excited because their cousin was Olympic silver medalist Elizabeth Manley).

I want to change it all so that people care. I want politics to be meaningful and not whatever that election just was. I want people to believe they have a voice. I want people to understand the fucking system.

But what does that all mean? How do I connect all the dots?

My parents never made five year plans – my dad went to school for journalism, became a journalist, started teaching journalism, became interested in how news spreads, and then started a second career in disaster research and emergency communications. He was consistently at the top of his field.

My mother did a degree in journalism and then a Master’s in English, and then we were born, and then my parents split up and she got a job in the public service where she worked until she retired. She was a writer/editor, and I believe she enjoyed parts of her job, but she was also a single mother and she couldn’t just off and pursue her passions.

I was on the Hill, ready to be on the Hill until I found my next thing, and then Jack died. Jack died, and the team had already started moving on, and it just wasn’t it any more. It wasn’t worth the daily commute, the hours spent away from my kid, for a leader I didn’t believe in. For Jack, for the team he had built, it had been worth it.

So I have this mishmash of things I know I’m good at and things I think I’m good at, and things I know I like to do, things I know I can get done. Great successes, proud moments, contributions.

And no fucking clue where it all leads.

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