„When I grow up, I want to work at a newspaper – just like my mum. I want to write great articles and take nice pictures. I want to travel a lot and get to know many people. Maybe I will even move to another country. Like my mum. You know: she has lived in New York for a while…”
My grandma sighed. Then she gently shook her head and smiled at the 5-year-old Franzi.
“We will see.” she said.
I guess it is a natural instinct that young children take their parents as their first role models. Wasn’t it cave-dad who taught his sons how to hunt and fish? And wasn’t it cave-mum who showed her daughters which mushrooms should better not be taken home for dinner?
Following the tracks of mum and dad led humans through life successfully for thousands of years.
Sticking to this strategy was smart.
Yes, it was.
Well, it used to be.
But then, things got somehow complicated.
I got into school. Some classmates had parents who earned a hell lot of money. Those kids showed up with all kinds of stuff that no one else could afford. They had the coolest toys and the fanciest clothes. They had complete Disney video collections - and TV’s - and video cassette players to watch them all the time. Everybody wanted to be these kid’s friends.
But I got somehow not elected. Yes: I was that kid that got laughed at rather than talked to.
And that’s when my plans for the future changed for the first time.
On the one hand, I was disappointed that my mother couldn’t buy me the stuff that the other kids had.
On the other hand, I wanted to get into the club of the admired people, too.
So I came up with a new plan: I wanted to become a singer or an actress. Whatever, but definitively a superstar.
I wanted to become famous, so everybody would want to be my friend. And I wanted to become rich, so I could buy me everything I wanted.
Guess what: it didn’t work out.
I registered for a TV casting show where I sang the Celine Dion song “role the dice”. (I still like that song somehow.)
But thank god, they never broadcasted my audition! I think that I wasn’t really that bad. At least, I was not bad enough to make fun of me. But today I am well aware of the fact, that I was far away from winning a Grammy – or anything else. However, I didn’t make it to the recall.
And as there were no casting shows for actors and since I could not afford to visit a drama school, I had to change my plans - again.
Classmates and teachers often said that I was creative. So, what could a creative person do, unless he or she becomes an artist? Hmmm… how about creating advertising?
After several applications, job interviews and denials I finally found my spot at an advertising agency close to the river Elbe in Hamburg, Germany.
I felt fine there. I had contact with many interesting people from different businesses and different cultures. I could make use of my creativity and I had a great time with my colleagues.
I finally got more talked to than laughed at, so that was cool.
Now, 14 years later, my path has led me here: working as a freelance marketing consultant in Sweden. And I personally believe that this is the best job on earth. Well, at least it is for me. Because listening to other people’s stories and to breathe in their passion about what they do, is so amazingly inspiring for me. And to create communication tools that help them telling their stories, is the most fulfilling task I could think of.
I do not work at a newspaper and I haven't travelled a lot.
But, for some reason, I feel that I am just at the right place…
Do you think it's destiny?
Note: The picture above shows a real polaroid selfie of my mum in front of the World Trade Centre in New York.
The selfie to the right is me in front of the so called "Turning Torso" in Malmö.