If You Could Have Any Career, What Would It Be and Why?

It is no secret that having cystic fibrosis affects many of life's choices, including what kind of career to pursue. Some people with CF may have an affinity for the healthcare field due to the positive experiences with their CF care teams, whereas others may avoid this field as an extra infection prevention measure. Some people may seek out careers with remote work opportunities. Others may prioritize careers that generally have better benefits and, therefore, more reliable healthcare coverage.

These are just a few examples of factors those with cystic fibrosis would consider for their career. But we were curious: What if these factors did not need to be considered? What career would our team of advocates be interested in having if they could do anything? We asked, and they answered. Here are their responses:

What if you could have any career?

Something in languages or martial arts

Response from Katelyn Harlow

This is a toss-up between 2 dream careers! The first option would be a job overseas, working for a company that would require skills in multiple languages. Whether that would be as an interpreter or just staff who is bilingual, I think that would be fun! I love traveling and have a penchant for learning languages and that would tick off those two areas of life that I enjoy.

Another option would be a martial arts instructor. I’ve been active for much of my life, either through gymnastics or running, so I love being active. I miss the agility and flexibility I had a few years ago. It is so healthy for the mind and body!

Film or TV production

Response from Kenny Boutot

This is one of the choices in my life I very much lay at the feet of CF. Because of the requirements of medication, doctor visits, and treatment equipment (not to mention the constantly looming threat of an infection or exacerbation leading to a hospital stay), health insurance coverage has been my primary objective when it came to a career and work goals. So I ended up going into professions that use my proficiency in engineering and interpersonal skills, but not what I had a passion for.

My dream career would be to work in film or television production, as a writer/producer or similar role that can help shape stories for those types of media. The escapism of that visual medium has appealed to me since childhood when I would have chest PT done to me while watching something to take my mind off it. The creative and technical side of writing and production started to grow on me as I worked at the movie theater growing up, and I’ve since used my free time to further understand and grow passionate and appreciative about well-written and well-made movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, that industry does not have a stable or easy-to-enter career track, and I’m unable to sacrifice my health to take the chance on it.

The closest I’ll ever get happened years ago when I was ironically laid off from a “stable” job and received 6 months of insurance as part of my severance. One of the first things I did was write a letter to Steven Spielberg requesting a short-term internship just to have a taste of the behind-the-scenes life of production before going back to a “real-world” job. That didn’t pan out, so now I can just rely on the escapism to enjoy again.

Marine biologist

Response from Marieliz Landa

If I could have any career, I would be a marine biologist and specialize in the conservation of sharks. Sharks are my favorite creatures on this planet. I would love to dive in those shark cages and study their behaviors and help conserve them in the wild. I find various shark species to be incredibly fascinating and being able to work in a field where I could be around them in their natural environment collecting data or in a lab analyzing tissue samples would be incredible!

Creating videos for YouTube

Response from Kate Eveling

If I could have any career, it would be creating videos for YouTube. I have always been passionate about creating videos, even when I was younger. When I finally set up a YouTube channel I suddenly had the creative freedom to create what I wanted. It’s also been an incredible outlet for me, with speaking about cystic fibrosis openly, and also about my mental health. The bigger projects usually involve creating comedy skits or taking a topic like "A Day In The Life" and sprinkling some humor into it. My aim is to lighten the situation as much as possible and help others with CF feel less alone and a little more connected.

This passion has always burned so brightly. I have always believed that I should do a job that I love doing. Because doing it just for the money isn’t necessarily worthwhile to me. There needs to be genuine enjoyment and passion in a job. And this is what I strive for.

Photojournalist

Response from Emma Boniface

The dream has been that in another life, I would have been a bit of a nomad. Working as a photojournalist exploring new cultures. I love bringing people together through the art of photography or taking a snapshot of a story to share a snippet of a place, person, or experience with the world.

Something in healthcare

Response from Nicole Driscoll

I used to always pretend that I was a nurse or doctor when I was younger. I looked up to and admired my CF doctor, nurse, and team so much that I always wanted to be just like them. I saw how they made me feel, how they truly cared for me and became a part of my extended family, that I also wanted to be that for someone else. I also spent a considerable amount of time at CF appointments, hospital stays, and other related appointments; it had a profound impact on me at such a young age.

As I got older, however, I became more aware of the risk of infection, spread of germs, and significant risk it could be to me as a person living with CF. There seemed to be this dramatic change all of a sudden that discouraged others with CF from being in close proximity. Gone were the days of socializing with other CF patients in the hospital, hanging out at CF fundraising events, or even attending CF events. This change instilled fear in me that made me rethink my desire to grow up to have a healthcare profession.

I was too nervous – and, quite frankly, scared – to pursue a career that could potentially put me at greater risk and exposure to germs. I decided to pursue a less risky profession and study business with hopes of entering the corporate world one day. Looking back, I believe I made the right decision for me at the time and – as cliché as it sounds, that everything happens for a reason.

Occupational therapist

Response from Meagan Brackeen

My career has always been in communications, but if I could choose any career, it would be one working with young kids in some capacity, either as an early education teacher or an occupational therapist. My mom is a retired OT, and she worked at a preschool for children with special needs. I always loved hearing about the work she did with her students.

Simply put, OT makes sense to me – meeting patients where they are based on their developmental and physical capabilities and then working with them on specific tasks necessary for day-to-day living and thriving.

What career would you choose?

These are just a few of many different possible careers. If you could do anything, no holds barred, what would you do? Share in the comments below!

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