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Discussion Starter #1
Those are the 7 little words that trip me up the most in life. At 36, I still have never settled on a career. Does anyone else here struggle with this concept? I believe I know what I want to do...be a councilor...but I always have this nagging fear that in the end I'll discover it was a really bad choice. Ironically, I have thought I wanted to be a councilor since age 9.

This time, I'm forcing myself through the process. I've been accepted in a school of my choice and I have a solid plan for getting there in the fall. But every time I get to this point in the road, I knot about the size of Kansas forms in my stomach. What's up with that? I think I could be great at this. I guess its just that I'm not certain it WILL be great. I like certainties! Anyone else?
 

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Life is uncertain

Kristin,

Sometimes one of the hardest things to accept is that life really is uncertain. I like certainties, too. But I finally can to understand and accept that that particular choice really isn't on the menu. All you can do is take actions to increase the likelihood of certainty. It appears this career choice is no recent flight of fancy, so right there, it's more likely to yield long term satisfaction. But it's not given. When you can accept that, and go with it, you will find greater reward in whatever you do. Seek the truth, and go where it leads you.

When I was in college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I changed majors just about every quarter (fortunately college was relatively cheap then). I had no plan for my life, and never began thinking of one until I was 42, had a wife, a college education, two kids, a mortgage, etc. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do until I'd been doing what I'm doing now, and still after 30 years. About 6 years ago I realized I've been doing this a pretty long time, and I'm pretty good at it, and I have the respect of a lot of people in my field. As it turns out, the most important facet of my career decision is that I made a decision.

You cannot control your future, but you can influence it significantly. So you're 36. If you make a change, you'll soon be 37. If you don't make a change, you'll also soon be 37. It's kind of one of those today is the first day or the rest of your life situations. If this career choice and decision is where your heart is, you'd be cheating yourself not to pursue it. Don't ignore your head; use your head, but follow your heart. It's better to live having tried too many things than to live and regret not having tried something you yearned for.

Sincerely,

Steve
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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I hear ya girl. I'm pondering a radical life-changing relocation, and am considering whether to take a break from practicing law at the same time. But then I wonder what I'll do. Being a lawyer qualifies you to do nothing other than be a lawyer, especially for a litigator like me.

But as others have said, I've come to believe that life is too precious not to try, and that there are worse things in the world than having to decide a few years hence that the dream job/career wasn't a perfect fit. Meanwhile, to have had aspirations since one was 9 is a pretty strong indicator that it would be a SHAME for you to go through life and not find out.

Life is a grand adventure. Enjoy the ride.
 

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Kristin:

First off, I'm not quite your age, but I'm 30, and that's close enough for what I have to say. Doesn't matter at the end of the day...

Struggling with the very thing you describe must be the burden in life some of us bear. I see people that seem to love their work, and I would love to be that person. Frankly, I went to college on a budget, and knew I had to get a degree that was useful. I made the decision over 10 years ago, and I was determined.

Got that degree. And guess what, no more life satisfaction is achieved now than then. It still doesn't define me. What is defining me is being who I am. I love my wife, my kid, my mom, and I genuinely just want to see people laugh and smile. I walk around with a sour look sometimes, because it's hard to smile in the face of what we're up against. What with 3.00 gas, war in the middle east, and constant Spongebob re-runs, it's not a very positive world.

But oh man, that bike I ride probably 300 days per year sure helps things out a lot. Since I parked the Oldsmobile back in 1994 and started riding a Murray K-Mart bike on the roads, that little feeling of independence does me a world of good.

The degree gave me a license to work. That's the way I see it. But what I chose as my career path still doesn't define me.
 

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Sticky Valentine
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I'm an academic advisor here at my university and talk to a lot of people in your position on a daily basis. Last year I helped walk a father and daughter through the final steps of their graduation requirements - he was in his 70's and she was in her early late 40's. They both graduated together, and it was so awesome working with them.

Both of them had the same issue. Neither wanted to really make any commitments that they thought they couldn't follow through on, or that they might regret later on in life. Both of them seemed to believe that not wanting to have any regrets was one of their biggest regrets, and that not being willing to make any mistakes was their biggest mistake. I can't claim any credit for what they did or anything, I was just there at the end making sure that everythign was in order. But it really taught me a lot as to how to advise others in their situation; people coming into school late/finding what they want in life later than most.

The best advice is to just jump in and do it. Time is going to pass regardless of what you do with it. Taking chances in life, and just letting go and doing something that we're not used to, or unsure of can create some of the best opprotunities for us, or make us feel the best about ourselves. I know that sounds super cliche, but it seems to hold true for most adult re-entry students I have spoken with. Most schools will also have some type of program to help you along with adjusting back into school too. Good luck with everything!



joe
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Courage is not the absence of fear......

rather it is acting in spite of the fear.

Your reaction sounds normal, but, remember, this is a journey it's not about the destination........your heart and soul are telling you to do this....the very act of trying it will change you in ways you can't forsee and open up other doors that you don't even know are there.......isn't that exciting?

Are you afraid of failing or of succeeding? Think about it.

You can do this......what's the worst that can happen? As someone else said...you are going to be one year older in a year anyway, why not try something you want to try?

Len
 

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I'm not like anyone else
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Oh sh!t! Considering a change?

I'm an ole timer and I have asked the same question so many times that I sometimes fear the fear of it. In fact, I've asked it some many times that I won't even use the same words even in thinking about it.

Does it really matter what it is that you do or how you apply your "education" ?

Does it really matter where it leds you or how it ends up?

What does matter is ho happy you are with your life...!!!


I have an education in Psychobiology... I love what it makes me think about. I have my own business now totally unrelated and I still find that there are many things in life that I want to try. I earn my living as a homebuilder. I hate it! My passion is in working with wood. Old skool, hands on, axes and planes and it's taken me years and many different ideas to get to whare I am comfortable telling myslef that I will "settle", as some have commented, on doing what I do best.

I am a scientist, a psychologist with credentials, a med skool drop out cause I didn't like the crap and I've been around the block searching for something that makes life worthwhile.

Whater it takes, do it! Discover what it is that makes you happy and makes your life feel complete. I personally hate change these days. But change has gotten me to a point where I know what it is that floats my boat. I love the wood, I love what I can do with it and I love the fact that I have learned so many things getting here.

JT... you are the first attorney that has ever spoken a word that I connect with. Cheers!!! Whatever the risk... and I know nothing about you but you speak a language I do understand!

Life IS a ride and there is no practice run.

FInd what it is that you do best! Then enjoy the trip!

Respect...

EDB
 

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Where will you be in five years if you DON'T do it?

I lucked out and stumbled into a career in my late 20s that I still enjoy 30 years later, but along the way I got some advice that might be helpful: I was a Special Forces Medic in Vietnam, and when I got out of the Army just before my 24th birthday, I was thinking about going to med school. Several colleges were giving big-time credit for the training and experience I'd had, and it would have short-cut the process by three years or so
Still, it was a long haul, and when I decided not to apply, I told my advisor it was because, "It will take six or seven years. I'll be 30 by then!"
"So," he said, "how old will you be in six or seven years if you don't do it?"
You don't say exactly what you're planning, but here's a prediction: You'll be lousy at it at first, because you don't know how to do it yet. You'll either get better and enjoy it or you'll give it up and go do something else. Never know which unless you try it.
 

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I'm not like anyone else
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Cory said:
I lucked out and stumbled into a career in my late 20s that I still enjoy 30 years later, but along the way I got some advice that might be helpful: I was a Special Forces Medic in Vietnam, and when I got out of the Army just before my 24th birthday, I was thinking about going to med school..
Amigo... and those here, cause I'm not trying to steal this thread...

Knew you had and in country background... thankx from those of us who needed you!

EDB
 

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If your dream is reasonable and realistic but you never pursue it, you will always be sorry. Keep doing what you are doing. Consider that the worst that can happen is that you discover you aren't good at it, but at least you'll know that for sure, and you can move on to something else.
 

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It's a Sledgehammer
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It's the journey, not the destination. Do what feels right to you now. If you feel different later, so be it.

In grad school my advisor told me to not to think about a job/position but think about how I wanted to feel about myself and my job - and let the opportunities come. In other words, don't get hung up on a specific occupation, but rather the end result of your efforts and the right job will materialize.

There are tons of jobs, you may go through dozens before you find the right on - so what? Everything you do is moving you closer to that job you dream of, so enjoy the journey.
 

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Every little counts...
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Careers are overrated. Have fun on the trip, save something for a rainy day.

In the last 10 years of your working life, it will come together as all various experiences roll up into a big life-experience package and there will be big firms/governments looking for people to round out their staff.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That wood thing

Here is a short list of things that I've fancied trying as careers:

Chef: You not only have to be able to slice scallions perfectly...you must WANT to slice them perfectly every time. I don't and can't.

Photography/Art: If I'm ever offered $4,000 for an image, I'll consider it a career.

Interior Design: I would love doing it, but its not altruistic enough. I want to change lives.

Psychology: I have a desire to help others and personal growth is a priority for me. My house is full of "self-help" books that I've found valuable. I like communicating with people.

Hand crafted furniture: I think I could be great at this. My dad is very talented, but never had the temperment to teach me. I have a great appreciation for hand crafted furniture. I have no skills in this area. I would love to learn but I get the feeling that it is very expensive? Is it? I could see myself doing this in retirement or part-time.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks! Good thread.

I'm glad I posted this. It was really nice to read everyone's responses. To answer some questions:

I can still see Mrs. Espisito writing these two words on the black-board:

Councilor
Counselor

I just can't remember which is which.

I want to be a LCPC or LCSW. I'm really not sure exactly what I want to do with it yet. I grew up is a pretty difficult situation. Both of my parents were pretty shell-shocked from their own abusive childhoods so there wasn't much love to go around and plenty of abuse being doled out. When I was young, my my desire to help others was about getting back at my family. I wanted to become a psycholgist and write an auto-biography that would bury my parents in shame. Forgiveness would be a long journey for me.

By the time I was in college I wanted to be a psycholgist because I needed help and didn't know how to get it. This is why there are a lot of really twisted counselors out there. My personal theory is that only 25% of all therapists in the world are healthy enough to be in private practice. I dropped out of school in my sophmore year in part because I realized I was in no shape to help others and I had no clue what else I should do with my life.

In 2000, I met a therapist who was very talented and uniquely qualified to help me. I heard her give a lecture and I immediately connected with her. A week later, I had quit my current therapist and was in her office. She hasn't fixed me or healed me...she has served as a guide and following her lead has brought about more emotional health than I thought was possible in my life. Healing, for me, will be a life-time journey. Now my desire to become a psychologist is about passing on what I've received myself. I'm so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to become a mature adult...that doesn't happen for everyone. Now I can spend my life on others. Helping them improve their odds of personal success. That is my passion.

Though my years I've had a few passions, but this one has emmerged over and over. Sometimes it has had an unhealthy focus, but it has always been there. I think I'll breathe in deep and dive.
 

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Quiet, daddy's drinking
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In the same boat.

jtolleson said:
I hear ya girl. I'm pondering a radical life-changing relocation, and am considering whether to take a break from practicing law at the same time. But then I wonder what I'll do. Being a lawyer qualifies you to do nothing other than be a lawyer, especially for a litigator like me.

But as others have said, I've come to believe that life is too precious not to try, and that there are worse things in the world than having to decide a few years hence that the dream job/career wasn't a perfect fit. Meanwhile, to have had aspirations since one was 9 is a pretty strong indicator that it would be a SHAME for you to go through life and not find out.

Life is a grand adventure. Enjoy the ride.
What can you do with a law degree besides being a lawyer? I have been having these thoughts of finding a new career but I can't figure out how to do it. I have been a litigator for 15 years now, I am in Court almost every single day and it is getting old. While I am good at my job and have the respect of the judges I just don't get the satisfaction out of the job anymore. You get tied to the money and tied to the stability of the job but what if you want more? I guess what I am saying is if you have a dream and KNOW what it is you want to do, then take the chance and do it.
 

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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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I'm with you Kristin. It sounds to me, of here in the cheap seats where I can't hear too good, like you'll be well-served to give it a try. Worst case, you'll discover that it's not for you, and also that you didn't die from it not being for you. You may also find it's exactly what you need (even if you're not that good at it). My motto (or one of the many) is: Don't Die Wondering. You need to know, so don't let doubt or fear of change paralyze you.

My own situation is pretty similar, but not exactly the same. I'm working for a great company that pays me well, but every month I get farther and farther from the kind of work I'm really good at, that I enjoy, and that brought me here. I'm a very good project manager--I can pull off miracles on budget and on time, and I really know how to bridge the communication and understanding gap between management/clients and designers/contractors. I work well to other people's deadlines, and really like the challenge. One of my favorite things in the world used to be hanging up the phone after a tough negotiation or tying up some very difficult loose ends, and saying, "I'm a f*cking genius." But now I'm management. I have to choose the projects and set the deadlines, and don't really get to do that much of the work. I hate it. I am no longer a genius. I'm an idiot. I'm management.

So do I go find someplace to get back into project management? It would surely result in a pay cut (my company's that generous), and probably less predictable work hours and fewer vacation days. Would it be career suicide or some kind of step backwards? Is this just a mid-life crisis (I'll be 40 this summer)? Do any of those things matter? I'm really hung up on this right now, and I think my mental gymnastics are the same as what you're going through.

Best of luck to you.
 

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Follow your dreams. It sounds like you'll make a great counselor. I have a friend that will be going to school for counseling in the future. Right now he is working with troubled male teens. Great guy.

Careerwise, I'm in an uncertain time myself(read unemployed). Life.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Being unemployed sucks

Friction_Shifter said:
Follow your dreams. It sounds like you'll make a great counselor. I have a friend that will be going to school for counseling in the future. Right now he is working with troubled male teens. Great guy.

Careerwise, I'm in an uncertain time myself(read unemployed). Life.
That is one big reason I'm getting out of IT...that and the thought of applying for another IT job makes me nausious. If I work for a small company, it will inevitably be bought out by a bigger company, my job will be duplicated and I'll be laid off. If I go to work for a bigger company, they will decide that my job is expendable when over budget or that someone in India or Indonesia can do my job instead of me and they will lay me off.

There will always be people in need of therapy. I'm just waiting for Wal*Mart to start offering this. Send your kids to see a psychologist for $29.98/hour while you shop for groceries. They do tend to draw the crowd that seems to need it the most. Could be a new niche market.
 
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