/ / “Careers” by Debbie Stanton

“Careers” by Debbie Stanton


Ronald reminded himself not to neglect his duties around the house. Yet he had laser focus when it came to deciding what to name as his career.

He was in the last trimester of his sophomore year of college, and his parents were living far away in another state. Ronald’s college was in town, so he commuted to campus five days a week.

Ronald’s parents trusted him to keep their house intact and not trash it. He was a good “kid”, never having parties at his house, and he kept up with chores. This time in his life showed him just how much it takes to keep a household afloat. A homeowner’s work was never done, it seemed.

Maybe Ronald could make up his mind about college majors if he read all his brochures one more time. That’s where he was found on a Friday evening. After he parked his truck in the garage, ate dinner and fed his dog, he spread his brochures in a neat circle on the dining room table. One by one he picked up each brochure and studied it carefully.

Ronald determined that all the brochures had one thing in common: they talked about occupations that helped people. There could be worse things.

Next, Ronald decided to write a short story about himself having different occupations in the future. It’s true he wasn’t a conventional person. He was glad if he didn’t blend in with everybody else. Of course, he didn’t want to appear too strange, because he did want to ask a classmate for a date. She probably didn’t know he exists, but he would ask her anyway.

Ronald put thoughts of Darlene out of his mind and started writing a story. Four hours later and with a hand that was aching from overuse, he congratulated himself on writing six stories. They didn’t help him narrow down his career possibilities, but they gave him pause. He could be a writer, right? Sure—and he could make sure he wrote things that would help others.

A way through the fog seemed possible now. Ronald just had to figure out how a person wanting to help people could use writing.

“Hello?” he answered the phone warily. It was eleven o’clock already.

“Hi, son,” his dad said from another state. “What are you up to?”

“Thinking about careers. Are you and Mom okay?”

“Sure are—we’re good. I’m calling you for a selfish reason,” his dad said.

“What would that be?”

“Ronald, I told your mom I wouldn’t push you to follow in my footsteps, and this isn’t the first time I’ve promised her to leave you alone. But really, I’d love it if you’d become a lawyer like me. Just think, you and I could have our names on a shingle, together, some day.”

Ronald knew he didn’t want to be an attorney and live in a posh neighborhood and drive fancy cars like his parents. He’d rather be a public defender if he went into law at all.

Of course! That’s it! I can help the people who couldn’t afford to pay me much, Ronald thought to himself.

“Honey, how are you?” Ronald’s mother came on the line.

“Mom, hi. I’m fine. Really good, in fact. I’ve just decided to become a public defender,” Ronald said. “Sorry dad, it just now came to me, and I wasn’t trying to not follow in your footsteps.”

“Not to worry,” his dad said. “I look at all the situational factors in your life, and I can see this would be a good profession for you.”

“What situational factors?” He couldn’t imagine what his dad would say.

“One, you’re a kind person.  Remember when you defended your sister from the bully down the street? Two, you have a keen mind. Sitting with you watching Perry Mason reruns on TV, you’d have the case figured out before I did! Three, you’ve made good grades in your writing classes. You could help state senators to write bills that would help people.”

“Ronald, I have a fourth ‘situational factor’,” his mom interrupted the call on speaker phone. “You could write some books and sell them for money to add to your earnings. Ta-da! Gerald, I think our son has a winner of a career chosen!”

After the phone call that helped him to feel relief, he looked at the stories he’d written tonight. He should save them and rewrite them into books at a future date.

Ronald was very glad he didn’t party and get into trouble. If he had been out partying tonight, his new profession might not have come to him.

Sometimes, if he was a little different from other people, he’d feel good about that. After all, not every person believes in going out on a Friday night. Some people, like him, needed every bit of time they could get. He had a lot to do in the future!

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  1. Great theme in your story of a young man trying to find out what he wanted to do with his life, parents pushing him to follow in their footsteps but he was able to carve his own career by working to help people with a nod to his parents’ hopes and aspirations. I’m glad he is ‘different’ because we need people who don’t follow like sheep. Well done, Debb.

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