Supreme Commander of the Universe


Today’s prompt asks if, as a child, you wanted to have the same, or a different job than your parents when you grew up.

I’ll start with my Dad because I can say with certainty that I did not want a job like him when I was a kid. Actually, I had no idea what he really did until I was nearly graduating high school. Dad worked for IBM. IBM is a huge corporation with a multitude of different types of jobs but, when you hear “IBM” you automatically think computers. I thought my Dad worked with computers. He was certainly always on the one we had at home and he had a laptop before long before people realized it wasn’t something that only existed in the Star Trek universe.

My Dad did not actually work with computers. He was an engineer. A civil engineer to be exact. When I figured this out, I was completely confused as to why IBM would need a civil engineer. IBM built computers, not buildings.

Wrong again.

Dad was responsible for managing the building of new IBM buildings, maintaining current infrastructure and remodeling new space that was acquired. I suppose all those IBM employees did need space to work in right?

It was a big promotion that moved the family to Montreal in 2002. When I asked my Dad what his new job was, he would tell me he had been promoted to “Supreme Commander of the Universe”. Funny, but not so informative.

Living in Montreal, I finally got a better understanding of what he actually did. I got to see the buildings he was working on. There are two of them in the business district that I had to pass on my way to McGill everyday. He took me on tours and explained the unique methods of heating, wiring, etc that would be more economic for IBM and environmentally friendly. I don’t really remember what they were exactly, but the temperature control system stuck with me. In one building, water was circulated through the walls and floors. The water was heated or cooled depending on the season and then circulated throughout the building. This was a new concept to me. I thought it was interesting.

My mom’s job was a little more straight forward. She worked in Hematology and Blood Bank at the local hospital. I think it was learning about her job that got me interested in science. I thought studying the little vials of blood that got sent to her via the “Blood-vator” was pretty cool. The “Blood-vator” was a foam canister that blood was sent down to the lab in. It came down a chute from the floors above, kind of like a elevator, but for blood. Hence “Blood-vator”.

The hematology part of my mom’s job was interesting, but I was not a fan of blood bank. The blood bank was where blood and other fluids were stored for transfusions and such. Those big bags of blood made my stomach turn. I was a little squeamish, which makes no sense since I worked with cadavers during my undergrad, but I think it was just the blood. Big bags of blood or guts with blood were disturbing, but just plain guts, that I could handle.

Working in a hospital required shift work. As a child, it appeared that my mom handled it well, but as I got a little older, I realized I was not a night person. There was just no way I would be able to work the evening or night shifts that my mom did for a week at a time. Especially since you were alone on a night shift in blood bank. I can’t imagine how she stayed a wake on a slow night.

I knew engineering and shift work were not for me. I remember wanting to be like Anne of Green Gables. A teacher and a writer. I have no idea how that aspiration morphed into a career in science. Even when I had settled on science, I said I never wanted to do research, yet, here I am. Research.

I wonder how many children actually grow up and become what they said they wanted to be.

Share Your World 2015 – Week 4

It has been a really rough week. I had a lot to get done this week and got none of it done thanks to contracting the most recent stomach plague. I’m still feeling rather dreadful, but things must get done. I’m thankful to have Cee’s Share Your World questions this week to warm up my brain and get it back in working mode.

Where did you live at age five?  Is it the same place or town you live now?

I lived in the same home in west end of Toronto from the time I was born until I was 17. It was a cute little red brick bungalow that my sister and I named Red Willow. It had a huge backyard with a willow tree, hence the name.

You are invited to a party that will be attended by many fascinating people you never met.  Would you attend this party if you were to go by yourself?

I’m not a big fan of parties and large groups of people. Normally, if I felt some sort of obligation, like networking for work or something, I would go. In my current state of mind however, I’d probably ignore the obligated feeling and not go.

Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?

I grew up in the suburbs of a big town. I liked it. I enjoyed the variety of things to do and see. I lived there for 17 years, but there was always a new neighbourhood to discover. I also really enjoyed the anonymity, that comes with being part of a big town. I could go out and be totally invisible sometimes. If I didn’t feel well, but had to go out and get things done, I knew I could still handle it. I knew I wouldn’t have to smile the whole time and have conversations. I could just run my errands and go home. For an introvert with depression, this is a true blessing. Now that hubby and I are talking about moving north….I’m wondering how I would cope in a small town.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid I wanted to be Anne of Green Gables when I grew up. I knew I couldn’t exactly be her, so I settled on wanting to be a teacher and a writer, just like her. That was the phase that lasted the longest. I also remember wanting to be an animator for Disney, a forensic scientist, an optometrist and a pathologist at some point or another. I also remember saying that I never wanted to do research. Now that I am grown up, I am a research scientist. Funny how life works huh? I wonder what happened to that Anne girl…..


Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week: I am just grateful for getting through last week.

This week: I am looking forward to being able to eat solid food again.

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