#Openbloghop – What did you want to be when you grew up vs. what you are today?

Robbie photo 2

I can remember, when I was a little girl of about eight years old, wanting to be a native American princess. In those days, I would have said an Indian princess. I was given an authentic Indian doll by an uncle who had traveled to the USA and brought this back as a gift for his doll loving niece. I remember that her clothing was all made of real leather and she had traditional beadwork decorations. I was totally fascinated by that doll and for weeks afterwards I forced encouraged my younger sister, Cath, to play Indian princesses with me. We had names; I was Princess Cherry Blossom and she was Princess Peach Blossom. We used to dress up as Indian girls and play outside in the sunshine for hours.

By the time I was twelve, my vision of the future had changed and I wanted to be a poet, just like Emily in the book Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (also the author of Anne of Green Gables]. My poet and writing stage went on for a few years as I was still writing verses and bits of prose during my second year of high school. The year I turned fourteen, I had to select six subjects at high school to study to matric, my final year of school. This was serious stuff and I chose sensibly: English, Afrikaans (compulsory second language), Maths, Physical Science, Accountancy and History. The easiest subjects that required the least effort from me were English, Maths and Accountancy, but when I finished school I had no real idea about what I wanted to study.

I went to secretarial college for a year and learned short hand and typing as well as bookkeeping and Business English. These were all fairly easy for me and I passed all my courses with distinction. The course didn’t challenge me and I had a bit of a wild year with lots of partying.

I got a job as a junior bookkeeper and it was horrible. So boring and repetitive. After two years of working during which I changed my job eight times, I decided to go to university. I did a psychometric test and it came back that I should study to be a chartered accountant so that is what I did. I studied correspondence through a local part time university and worked as a manager at a local video shop for the three years of my undergrad degree in accountancy and auditing. After passing my degree with distinction, I applied to start my articles at KPMG Inc. in Johannesburg. I was accepted and the firm paid for me to study my honours degree part time. I passed that and then went on to study and pass my board examinations. It was during my first year of articles that I met my husband, Terence, who was completing his final year of articles.

That is my story of how I ended up becoming a chartered accountant. I did two years of articles and then I moved into corporate finance. At that time if you had all your core hours and competencies you could move after two years of auditing. I loved corporate finance and soon moved into stock exchange work. I gradually became an expert in this area and wrote a series of several publications on investing into Africa and the listing, debt and other requirements in the various countries. This work introduced me to the world of writing and publishing and from there I branched into writing for children. That, of course, is a whole other story so I shall stop here with the story of my paid job and work.

What did other blog-hoppers want to be when they grew up?  Click the link below to find out, or just add a comment:

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59 thoughts on “#Openbloghop – What did you want to be when you grew up vs. what you are today?

    1. Sometimes I wonder about the path I chose, Darlene. It is lucrative, but look where money has landed our society as a whole. There is so much greed and corruption in our society. At the moment, I would much prefer to lack any understanding of economics [smile]

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  1. How wonderful to have a mathematical mind and to have a career like yours! I am number illiterate – I even have trouble adding numbers together in my head. Terrible! My mum was the same, so I guess I inherited this awful trait.

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    1. If we were all mathematically inclined, Stevie, the world would be a very boring place. Most mathematical people lack any creativity at all. It is creativity that pushes mankind to achieve on new levels and make new discoveries. You are a wonderful writer and that is a great gift.

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      1. Somehow, I don’t have enough time every day to write all the stories I want to. So this might not appear for quite a while! But I certainly enjoyed reading your post about what you were before you became what you are. 💙

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      2. and I am still evolving, Pam. God keeps putting things like societal issues, corruption and now a plague in my path. I assume He wants me to keep working in my day job for now. I had wanted to leave and write full time three years ago. I retracted my leave when KPMG SA went through a big scandal and nine senior staff members left. My skills became critical and I stayed to help my colleagues. Now we have covid and I will stay while my services are needed. I am very specialised in what I do. I can’t think of another person who does everything I do in SA although there probably is someone, somewhere.

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  2. I remember taking one of those aptitude tests in high school. I don’t remember what it suggested as a career field. I have a strong suspicion it wasn’t any of the jobs I ended up doing!

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    1. Those tests only give an indication of your academic and psychological strengths. I have done other sorts of job in my life. Creative jobs were never indicated for me and I am sure I would have been happier with a different kind of job. I am not a good fit for corporate life and I don’t work at all well in teams.

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    2. Back when I was working as an academic advisor in Virginia, the state developed one of those interest inventory/aptitude assessments, and for some reason, the majority of people who took it, myself in included, were well-suited to being funeral directors.

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      1. Oh, that is so funny. That career path was never suggested for me. My choice was accountant or lawyer pretty much. I chose accountant because my biological father was a chartered accountant. Strangely, my job involves a lot of legal work and understanding so I sort of do both. I am to much of an empath and fair minded person to thrive in the corporate world.

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  3. One of our daughter’s favorite Halloween costumes was a Native American outfit my wife made for her. She really was cute in it, and she wore it a lot when playing in the yard. Thanks for jogging a nice memory.

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  4. Hi Robbie. This was fun. I enjoyed your narrative. Mine won’t be as fun, but I think I will do this for my Wednesday post — next week. I see the Inlinkz thing is only active for four days, so I won’t do that part, but I will link back to this post.
    Tomorrow I’m posting for Draw a Bird Day. You might use one of your fondant birds for the challenge. 😉 Hugs on the wing.

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  5. You prove that art and business can coexist happily.
    I wanted to be an artist, a writer, a folksinger, among other things. Designer was an economical compromise, but it worked with being a mother, something I loved, but never listed as an ambition. You never know. (K)

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  6. What a huge cerebral journey between Indian princess and what we might call a CPA here in America. BTW, American Indians actually prefer the term ‘Indian’ but I do see how–on an international stage–it could be confusing!

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    1. Oh that is good to know, Jacqui. I thought I was maybe being non-PC using the term Indian. Yes it is quite a change of pathway, but a lot happens between the age of 8 years old and adulthood I suppose.

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  7. I still have to Google ratio formulas. 3 is what percentage of 16? Who has a calculator? Math is genetic. My son in law can do excessive math in his head. My father who was a writer, photographer, businessman, football coach and veteran of 25 missions over Germany told me “Do what you want to do. If you get paid for it you can hire an accountant.” I took that to mean accountancy was right out. However, I went to school many who grew up to be quite successful accountants. Thank God, right? If everybody went off higgledy piggledy doing the fiddling grasshopper bit we’d be in deep poop. Good work on your advanced degrees. I have witnessed first hand the struggles involved.

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    1. You know, Phil, I always see that point the other way around: Imagine if everyone is the world was a mathematician or accountant or lawyer. The world would be so dull with no books, paintings, music and artwork. I have first hand experience that money does not buy happiness and people who are hugely financially successfully often have failed marriages because they spend all their time working. I always remember being told that you have 10 years to establish a relationship with your children. If you haven’t done it by the time they are 10, you lose them forever. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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  8. I always wanted to be in musical theatre and managed it in college in the operetta of Carmen…but life intruded and I ended up being an operations director in telecommunications before walking away to study nutrition. I was lucky to have a ten year radio and television career at the same time, so I did get into the performance arts to some degree. Being a writer however is where i have been the happiest.. You have wonderful skills Robbie and are to be very much admired. xx

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  9. It was fun to see how your journey led you to where you are, Robbie. Cherry Blossom and Peach Blossom playing outside in the sunshine is such a great memory, and, of course, you’re still a poet. 🙂 That was a fun prompt. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I love the imagery of eight year old you and your sister playing dolls. I was tomboy, my dolls ended up on shelves in my bedroom gathering dust while I played marbles outside with the boys, lol.

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  11. A very interesting prompt: I knew from an early age that I loved the escapism of entertainment: movies, TV, music, books – all of it…never wavered, just took some interesting detours, but that’s what life is all about…as John Lennon wrote: “life’s what happens while you’re making other plans”

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  12. I started learning short hand and the secretary things, but I didn’t stay there long. As a kid, I wanted to be a princess, too. Older I wanted to be a marine biologist. My son is a biologist so close enough lol.

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  13. seems like a quantum leap from writing about stock markets to children’s books! But we always tell our students that a degree in accounting can open a lot of doors 🙂

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  14. Wow, I assumed you’d been writing all your life! I’m constantly amazed at how many paths there are to writing fiction, and how many of them start with seriously non-fiction foundations! Creativity will out. 🙂

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  15. I’m in the minority with you, Robbie. There aren’t too many writers who like math. Numbers and statistics always fascinated me; writing is my creative outlet.

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  16. It seems that life pushes all of us into the place we’re supposed to be. Some people are violently shoved while others are gently nudged. Whatever the route, the journey is always interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes, that is exactly right, Richard. My accounting days seem to be far from over as this covid crisis seems to have made my skills even more relevant. Full time writing will have to wait.

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    2. And some just fall into their careers. I’ve asked many people working in college financial aid how they chose that as a career–and to a person, none of them had. They just fell into it.

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      1. If I had known how disillusioned with the world my career choice would make me, Liz, I would definitely have made a different choice. My job generally involves helping rich people get richer. Currently is requires helping companies but now, in their time of need, their advisers are reluctant to take risks and help them. Isn’t life grand [so for being cynical – I must go and write up a death so that I feel better – giggle!]

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      2. That would make me cynical, too. I’ve gone through multiple disillusioning experiences with my chosen career in education, but at least it’s something to believe in when it’s in its purest form.

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  17. I really enjoyed this glimpse into your life, Robbie! It was such fun to read. The first career aspiration I can remember as a child was to learn how to read. (I thought it was something very, very special and advanced, so that only grown-ups could do it.) When I got a little older (and learned how to read!), I read two articles in National Geographic, one about the King Tut exhibit and the other about Pompeii, and I was going to become an archaeologist! Imagine my disappointment to learn that the job mostly entails squatting in the hot sun sifting dirt through a sieve.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Liz. I also liked the idea of archaeology at one point. I am very fair and burn easily so no way was I spending my life in Egypt sifting sand. I also learned to read early and have always read a lot.

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