Career Chronicles: The Lloyd Dobler Effect

tumblr_inline_mp42jiUMZR1qz4rgpThere were a couple of summers of my youth when my mother would load us into the minivan on Tuesday mornings and schlep us to Video Showcase. On Tuesdays, all non-new releases were available to rent for $1 and we were allowed to each choose three movies. During those Video Showcase years, I discovered many movies that I continue to love today to include Say Anything. Thanks to Cameron Crowe, it’s impossible to hear In Your Eyes without picturing John Cusack holding a boom box outside of Ione Skye’s bedroom window. While I am forever indebted to the movie for serving as my gateway into Peter Gabriel’s progressive catalogue, I can’t think of Say Anything without reciting Lloyd Dobler’s monologue about what he wants to do with his life:

“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”

A few readers have suggested that I write about my desire and struggle to return to the workforce after taking time off to stay home with my young children and putting my husband’s military career above my own professional aspirations. As such, I’ve decided to create a regular feature on this blog that I initially titled I Went to Graduate School for This? but then changed to the more benign Career Chronicles in order to show potential employers that I have the ability to keep my sarcasm in check.

But let me address one thing first – I realize that whenever I talk about my career (or lack thereof) frustrations, I do so from a place of privilege. I do not need to work for our family to function – we are comfortable living on one income alone. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t made sacrifices along the way but I get it – why am I even writing about my struggles to feel fulfilled when so many are struggling to make ends meet? To be honest – that is part of the reason why I’ve hesitated about exploring this issue in depth on this blog. Not only does it feel self-indulgent – it also seems a bit out of touch. But then again, I know that I am not the only mom out there who is struggling to find her professional voice.


When it comes to my professional aspirations, I feel like I’ve been sharpening my pencil for years but I have yet to write a word. Like Lloyd, I know that I don’t want to sell anything. I’d rather chew off my own arm than be part of a pyramid multi-level marketing company. And no – I don’t want to join your team. I’ve considered going back into the traditional classroom but with how often we move, I’m not sure if that is the best way to utilize my skills. Having experienced independent contract work last year, I learned that I am not at my best when on the computer at home 8+ hours of the day. Looking back on the various jobs I’ve held over the years, I am happiest when I feel like I am making a difference – I am not motivated by money, but rather by purpose. I enjoy public speaking and facilitating meetings. I’d love to be part of a collaborative team – I thrive while learning from others and working together to create something better than we could have imagined individually. And I love creating content.

What does this all mean? Well – I’m not quite sure. But I’m determined to find out.

7 thoughts on “Career Chronicles: The Lloyd Dobler Effect

  1. First, I love this. Second, I think you should never shy away from writing it all out. I understand, but our struggles are all different and it always feels authentic (to me, at least) when someone reaches out with what is truly, madly, and deeply happening in their neck of the woods. And finding fulfillment through work–we can all relate to this in some way or another!

    That is a beautiful quote, you added. I am struggling a bit with this, because after so many years of stumbling to find my professional footing, I am here, and so grateful because I love what I do now. BUT my job is shifting and I have to learn about sales and that’s just… not my wheelhouse? But I change with the tides, and have to find my happy.

    Wow, I’m rambling. Anyway, please keep at this series. It was a refreshing read today ❤ XO


  2. THANK YOU for starting this series. I am one of those people who need to work outside of the home for personal fulfillment. Honestly, it’s one of the reasons my husband and I have tabled our discussion for kiddos for “a few more years from now.” We can financially afford for me to stay home, but we’re not sure how we could afford daycare. I’m hesitant to step away from the workforce just because of my experiences in HR, seeing so many women struggle to find employment after taking a few years off with their kids. So basically, your series will be incredibly helpful to me and I already know I will enjoy it!


  3. I was hoping you would write more in depth about this. I haven’t felt myself, or have been the happiest mom, since I stopped working from home three years ago. I love staying home with my kids, but yearn for something more. Just a little something more in my life. I felt like my prayers were answered when I came across counseling. I am extremely passionate about working, listening, understanding, and helping other’s with life’s challenges. I never felt this way about genetics. I’m researching Masters in Counseling degrees and thought I hit the jackpot with a college in Colorado Springs, only to find out their program is three years and I already missed the admission deadline. We would move before I could finish. Its deflating, and frustrating. I just texted Nick and told him that it looks like I’ll start my career when I’m in my mid 40s. Gulp. I’ve never been so confident in my potential in the workforce before…and I can’t utilize that potential just yet. Its a bit suffocating. When you said you enjoy public speaking, have you looked into working for ToastMasters? I thought about taking a class there, but got cold feet and couldn’t find a friend willing to go with me. I think you would do amazing there!


    1. Laura – I love reading your thoughts, especially those about motherhood and your professional sense of self. I’m sorry you’re feeling deflated about pursuing a counseling degree in Colorado Springs. I find it so difficult to plan for my career (or current lack thereof) around the uncertainty of the military. I do know that I am NOT willing to separate our family to pursue my own career aspirations – the military already separates us enough. Hang in there! You have SO much to offer the world. ❤


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