Jul 1, 2010

Contemplating a Serious Career Change

Maybe it's because I'm an INFP with ADHD, but I always feel the need for a career shift every couple of years. I get bored at jobs but that's not the only reason I look for a change. There is something missing at every job I've had so far and what that thing is becomes clearer as I get older. That thing is feeling like I'm helping people.


Of all the jobs I've had so far, the moments I've liked most were when I felt most connected to my "NF" side. Admin? Hated data entry. Liked answering questions when people needed help. Retail? Hated "selling." Loved helping people shop for something that fit what they wanted. PR? Hated "pitching." Liked helping journalists get the information they need. Journalism? Liked when I got to write articles to give a voice to people in the local newspaper who otherwise wouldn't be heard. Disliked when my whole job was getting stories first about corporate drama. Marketing? Well, it's hard to find a lot to like here in this sense. I do enjoy the strategy end of things, but I'm lacking motivation to promote something that doesn't benefit people in any way. Notice a trend?

This has me sitting here, wondering if I have gone the entirely wrong direction with my life. I'm "only" 26 but some jobs out there require years of training... a high GPA... and a whole lot of commitment. The worst thing is that now I am making really good money. That would be great if I loved my job, but it's hard to stop everything and go into debt for another x number of years of school to ultimately learn less money. My secret TJ side is screaming "that's stupid!"

One of the fields I'm tossing around is nursing. If I like helping people so much, and I like jobs that are fairly high paced, why not be a nurse? I always wanted to have a job where I could be special and different. Being a nurse is not about you at all. It's a job just like any other job. But where I'd never get recognized by the masses, I'd be recognized for helping people every single day. Would that be enough to make me happy? Maybe.

The only thing I know is that if i keep on the route I'm on now, well, I'm looking at doing what I do best... getting fired, or laid off, or quitting, and being depressed, but too scared to change my track, and then managing to find something else that is "better" in theory (better pay, more reasonability) but worse in getting me closer to career happiness. If that exists.

There are other things I'm interested in... especially psychology... and if I'm going to be a nurse why not just go for the PsyD? Or, heck, get a postbac in premed and go to school for 12 years to become a psychiatrist? It feels too late for all of that. And I don't want to kid myself. I'm definitely interested in psychology, but I'm also not a good test taker and I'm of average or only slightly above average intelligence and below average focus and motivation. I'm on a roll right now faking it in the field I'm in, why change? -- and, granted, I don't totally fake it - but I feel like a big phony. But... if I have one life... why give up a chance to feel like I'm helping people every day? Wouldn't that be worth more than any salary?



5 comments:

its me, sam said...

why not a nurse who specializes in Psychiatric nursing? Plus you could travel all over the world and work at the same time.

TeacHer said...

Helping professions can definitely be thankless. As a high school teacher in a low income school, I NEVER get thanked or appreciated for the work I do. HOWEVER, while a lot of people my age are going through the "what should I do with my life, I want to feel meaningful" angst, I'm not. I KNOW that my getting out of be every day and going to work and doing my best is benefitting not only my community but the individual lives of the students I work with, and I truly believe that's priceless. I'm so happy to be in my line of work, even if I'm not always happy with my salary. I'm not sure I'd be able to look at myself in the mirror every day if I knew that the only purpose of my existence was to make money for some corporation (everyone in my family is in corporate work, so I'm a little jaded by their experiences with it).

I would totally encourage you to pursue a career in nursing or some other public service field, but do it with your eyes wide open. You won't become a millionaire. You won't be thanked. You won't be recognized publicly for working your a** off every day. But you will go to bed every night feeling good about yourself. You just have to decide what that's worth to you.

Zachary said...

I am also an INFP. Like you, I feel the drive to switch careers every so often. My career cycle seems to be about 5 or 6 years, though. I went from sales to teaching to developing educational web content for a publishing company. Life is short; keep challenging yourself to learn something new!

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Anonymous said...

"Maybe it's because I'm an INFP with ADHD, but I always feel the need for a career shift..."

Or maybe you just feel like changing jobs. it's not that unusual.

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