(Closed) long..feeling anxious about career indecision

posted 5 years ago in Career
Post # 3
33 posts
  • Wedding: April 2013

Well, a couple things you should consider. First, you don’t need to decide on something that will make you happy for the rest of your life. Most people change careers several times throughout their working lives, so its okay to just focus on what you want to do NOW. Start thinking about what you would enjoy doing – what you’ll feel proud of telling other people about, what will make you smile at the end of the day.


I’m not sure that higher ed admin is a better path than you are on now, because it is a very competitive field (that has been facing cut-backs), and like you said, not super-great pay.


One piece of advice that I was given is to really talk to people in the fields you are considering. You can call it an “informational interview” or just think of it as chit-chattnig. Find out how competitive things are, what they like/dislike about the job, what the prospects are like in the field, etc. In addition to giving yourself some valuable info, you’ve started networking already in whatever field you go into.


Would your degree program have any resources about careers that utilize your education that you might not have thought about? Or professional organizations? Maybe talk to some of your professors and ask about what other students have gone on to do. I guess just thinking outside of the box can be useful.


Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to figure out the “right” path. You can always quit a job, find something else, and move in a different direction. I think we put pressure on ourselves to find the perfect circumstance, when that isn’t really necessary.


Oh, and I’m not sure I’d encourage entrepreneurship in this economy. I mean, it is improving, but seems like a lot of risk. If you come up with an idea that REALLY motivates you, then look into it, but don’t become over-committed to something if there’s big risks involved.


Anyway, that’s my take on the situation. I ended up leaving a Ph.D. program before I finished and floundered for a few years before ending up in my current position (customizing corporate training materials). It isn’t really what I dreamed of doing, but sometimes its okay to just get the paycheck and pay the bills.

Post # 4
66 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I don’t have any advice, because I am basically in the same situation…but it helps me to realize that other people are going through the same crazy life mess as me! 🙂  Good Luck!

Post # 6
33 posts
  • Wedding: April 2013

@chillinchillin:  I was working on a Ph.D. in Political Science. I was specifically focused on Russian politics. It ended up being a very bad choice for many reasons – first, I reallly wasn’t meant to be an academic scholar – too much focus on the tiny details of something very specific. Second, between 9-11 happening (political science departments started focusing a LOT on the Middle East, and didn’t care so much about other places like Russia) and Russia’s new democracy taking a nose-dive under Putin, well, my topic of study just became more and more irrelevant over the years.


I tried getting a job at the FBI or CIA, and got to the interview stage, but that was it. Then I spent over a year trying to get a job as a Study Abroad Advisor – and I was applying all across the country. Managed one interview from over 75 applications. I’d still love to get into that field, even though I’d probably make less than I make now. While I was going through the process of trying to get a ‘career’ job, I was working as a test drive making about $12/hr and living with my parents. Thus, I was pretty thrilled when I got my current job, even though I really never wanted to work for a company with a profit motive (I’m much more suited to government or university-style goals). But, its a crappy market, and I have a master’s degree in Political Science. So, there ya have it.


I’m hoping that after another year or two in this job, I will have some more marketable skills and can see about moving towards something I find more fulfilling. We’ll see. I don’t think that more education is on the horizon for me, because really, where would I get the money for it? And yet I find that I don’t really have the specific knowledge for some of the jobs I’m interested in.

To make it even more interesting, I’ve finally pursuaded my Darling Husband to go back to school – he wants to be a counselor/psychologist!

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