Thursday, February 9, 2012

I'm in the Idealist quadrant: specifically, Healer.

The last few days I've been re-reading information about the Keirsey personality classification system.  I'm not sure what got me onto it this time, but I have always loved these things.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I feel very helped by them.  I've always felt a little lost in the world, like truly I don't quite belong here, so it's kind of a wonder to me that some of these personality tests can be so accurate.

Also, here I am at the end of my graduate degree (MM in choral conducting), graduating in April, getting ready to take my oral exams, and thinking a great deal about my career.  I should say, "my career."  I'm 31, and I almost have less an idea of what I want my career to consist of than when I started college as an 18-year-old.  Back then, I dreamed of a career as a professional musician of some sort...  Mostly I dreamed of being a great composer.  These days, I'm turning toward teaching secondary music.  Tuesday this week I went to observe some elementary music classrooms.  I'm searching.  Because my masters degree is a performance degree in choral conducting, and is really just a preparatory step for aspiring DMA candidates, university choral conductors, I still have a lot of options as I graduate.

I could get into the secondary system, and in fact, that is the career path for many, many university choir directors.  Of course, their path began with a choral music ed degree, which includes a teaching certificate, making the high school job more accessible (the path is something like this:  choral ed. undergrad, MM in choral conducting, several years teaching in a secondary setting, DMA, get hired by a university).  My undergrad was piano performance, so no teaching certificate. If I could convince myself that I was really excited about teaching high school or junior high choir, then I think an alternative path to licensure wouldn't seem like such a big obstacle.  But not only do I wonder about my personality fitness for that setting, I also doubt my abilities (what's new), both to perform well in the job, as well as to convince potential employers, on applications and in interviews, that I really am the one they want.

Anyway, in the midst of these sorts of thoughts, I came across the Keirsey stuff again, and found it enlightening to take the test again and remember, for one thing, just how introverted I am.  And for the Keirsey stuff to shed light on what very often seems like the incomprehensible aspects of my personality.  And to be validated and reminded that, even if I don't currently understand myself or what I'm really for, there IS something that I am for...  And if I can embrace the things about me that are intrinsic and unlikely to change, I'll be several steps closer to work I find fulfilling and that fits who I am.

I know there are people who will think my approach (and the Keirsey approach generally) is overly self-indulgent.  That I should just get over myself and go out and do some work.  But... I dunno.  There were several times, a notable number of times, that I was told in blessings about a mission, my mission, that is, a life's mission.  That I had work to do.  One was when I was set apart as an LDS missionary, and I distinctly felt that in that context, when the stake president said I had an important mission, he wasn't talking about my 18-month LDS proselyting mission.  When I returned and was about to go back to BYU as a piano performance major, my dad gave me a blessing that said much the same thing.  A few years later, still working through post-mission depression and recently diagnosed auto-immune disease, a boy I was dating gave me a blessing that was remarkably specific about my life's mission.

So... what am I questioning for? Well, because the life's mission laid out for me won't earn me any money!  And furthermore, it requires a level of confidence in my own artistic voice that I've never had.  Never, ever had.

I don't think that my masters degree has been an attempt to avoid this mission, but rather a step towards accomplishing it, and something worthwhile to do whilst doing the slow, soul-work of finding confidence to speak, to express my visions.  And, I do think I'm making progress, slowly, on that score.  Marriage and my recent feminist awakening have been the catalysts.

In terms of making money, incidentally, my little brother is very quickly becoming an expert in alternative, passive sources of income on-line. He  has presented me with a number of ideas I could try, that would ultimately allow the freedom to pursue this mission of mine.  I haven't tried any of them yet, mostly just from being too busy with school and teaching.  But I think he's brilliant and now that I think about it, it's kind of a huge blessing that he's an expert in this area, and also interested in helping me....

Well.  There's my naval-gazing for the day.  Going for a run now.

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