I was just having a particularly interesting conversation with my SO about giftedness and ambition.
He's an ESFP, has always had a gift for anything musical, and parlayed this into a master's degree and he's a music teacher. He himself says he feels like he's always sort of been on the fringes because while he had the education he never had many ideas about building a massive career out of it. He's done a lot of traveling in programs that bring music education to impoverished nations, but he's never liked traditional teaching employment (he hates teaching in public schools). His friends have 401k plans and tons of savings while he's just scraping by. Still, he has a pursuit, he owns his own business and wants to expand it, he wants to make progressive music teaching more popular. He networks, he gets himself out there, etc.
Now, I on the other hand have always had these peculiar talents and abilities since I can remember. They were born out of coping as a necessity, I have a knack for doing voices because I used to entertain myself with them and form security for myself in a volatile childhood home. I've been a writer most all of my life, for a lot of the same reasons. I'm good at counseling people, I have a wide range of abilities in the creative arts. I never considered myself gifted and still sort of cringe at the label, but a therapist I had wouldn't let it rest until she made me accept that I was exceptional.
Thing is, I dropped out of school in 8th grade (I got the GED when I was just sixteen at the special arrangement of an administrator who argued for me) and I've only had about four traditional paying jobs (the rest has been pro-bono film and creative work). I constantly create, in all sorts of areas (puppetry, video making, writing, photography, crafts, voice over skits, etc) and I'm my happiest when I create. I'm just bad at thinking I can contend with the 'traditional' structure of ambition and success out there. I have no clue how to parlay my talents into a career.
I'm not saying I'm some genius artist, in fact that's exactly what I'm not saying. I might be to some people I suppose, I think that stuff is all subjective. I do realize that I have SOMETHING that others don't have, but not in a boastful, proud way. I feel I can DO things, and I'm often frustrated that I can't figure out how to find a path for myself. I am NOT skilled at putting myself out there, I own that I am insecure about the atmosphere (meaning, I have no idea if what I can do will actually appeal to mainstream tastes even if I might be able to do entertaining stuff), and I am bad at 'selling' myself.
I'm also admittedly VERY single-minded, stubborn, and I usually have a problem with authority (I don't expect or desire to be mollycoddled or praised every five seconds by a boss, but on the same token I don't expect to be treated like a sub-human drone). I am good in teams, but I work best in solitude for sure.
I have that dream of being able to produce and create in solitude, and having a trusted manager/agent who 'sells' everything.
My main point here, is that it seems very common among gifted children/adults to be extremely talented and have a ton of ability, but wind up being their own worst enemy in terms of finding a place for themselves. It seems a common trait to second-guess and downplay ourselves. In turn, it seems there are a lot of gifted folks among the INFJ type, and hence, the same difficulties apply (again, please realize I'm using 'gifted' as a clinical term for a set of traits, not as a superlative).
I'm worried about my future to be quite honest. I've been looking for work for over two years now with little to recommend me in terms of a resume, and I've been so frustrated because I feel I have a lot to offer in a an un-traditional way without much idea of how to get this across (I often feel I'm just not being given a chance to even have a voice because I rarely get an interview, I'm up against people with Associate/Bachelor degrees applying for the same check-out clerk jobs I am).
I'm obviously trying to just get something to pay bills and hopefully save enough to leave my mother's house, but when I think about long term goals for my future in a 'career', I just about shit myself because I don't know how the eff to find a path. The local community college doesn't have much of anything to offer (not that I'd never do it) and I've yet to investigate whether or not I even have options at a state college with better choices.
Any of you guys have experience with this sort of stuff? Thoughts? Reflections? Stories? I'd love to hear.