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  • Writer's pictureBrooke Campbell

Brooke 3.0

I’ve had a couple of careers. After a variety of jobs while I was figuring out life, the first real career came in my 20s. For 15 years, I worked as a sign language interpreter, eventually attaining national certification. For about 12 years I really loved what I did, and even when it became a job and not a passion, I still took pride in my skills and facilitating communication between folks who otherwise would not have been able to converse.

About the time it started to become a chore, my body was ready to give up, too. Unbeknownst to me, I was in the beginning stages of a joint disease called Psoriatic Arthritis, or PsA. After putting me on a month’s medical leave, my doctor would not clear me to return to work. For a while I floundered, I won’t lie. If I wasn’t an interpreter, what was I?

And on to career 2. When I went to college at 18, I had starry-eyed visions of becoming an English professor. My (jaded) English 101 instructor told me in no uncertain terms that it would be the worst mistake of my life. That disillusionment sent me on a roundabout road to career number one. Like I said. Roundabout.

The desire to teach never left me. I’ve always been an avid reader and a sometimes writer, so I decided on English. After taking a crash course in teaching through a career-switcher program, I obtained a license and landed a job in rural Virginia teaching 7th grade Language Arts.

The first two years were beautiful. I had great kids, loved teaching them, and felt like I’d finally come home. That’s not to say it wasn’t hard. As the saying goes, there’s no tired like teacher tired. I worked my butt off trying to make sure all 60 kids “got it”. My summers were jammed with planning for the next year and continuing education. And committee meetings. Hate to dispel that little myth, but there ya go. Teachers don’t get summers off.

The final two years were a different story all together. We had an administration change and I earned a reputation as someone who could handle the “difficult” kids. So, in the infinite wisdom of someone on a higher pay scale than me, my classes were chock full of the biggest behavior problems in the grade and the new administration failed to back me up. On anything.

You could say I'm the jaded one now. I barely made it out of there alive.

Now? I write. Oh, I have a full-time job and I’m immensely grateful for it. But I consider my third career to be that of a writer. Writing fulfills a need I’ve never been able to articulate but always felt. The stories just keep coming and as long as they do, I intend to tell them. And the best part? In my full-time job I have the freedom and resources to not only write for large chunks of time, but also learn about marketing. Because of my co-workers and the work we do there, I’ve learned how to blog, maintain a website, and the importance of social media.

You tell me, is that meant to be, or what? Brooke 3.0 is here to stay.

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