Do you ever get the suspicion

that deep down you're just meant to be a professional student?

I'm thinking about yet another change of plans. I'm thinking that maybe I'd like to be a therapist when I grow up.

Why? Well, I love talking with people, getting their stories, helping them figure things out. I act as an amateur therapist for the majority of my friends. I have a talent for drawing people out and then figuring out just where to push to get them to go further in their thinking. And I (usually) know when to back off and let them process without any more of my help. I think I'd be a good therapist and I think it would be an interesting career.

But I think the same things about becoming a librarian.

So now I don't know what to do.

My real problem is, though, that I think I'm putting too much pressure on this decision. Like deep down I think that if I could only find the right degree to get then my life would work out golden and I'd suddenly be happy and motivated and fulfilled. And school delays real life. Not only would my student loans be deferred, but any major decisions, as well.

And I think... I think... I think I should put at least as much effort into pimping my writing as I am pondering future careers.

I am familiar with the sensation of being lost and confused and disillusioned and wandering through academia. I am not as familiar with the sensation (and process) of marketing myself, of putting myself out there, of creating something from nothing and working without a teacher/instructor/professor giving me timelines, deadlines, exam questions, books that contain the answers, and a set goal. The thought of looking at the path my feet are already on and working to walk that path, make it successful is not one that I'm comfortable with. It seems at times that I'd much rather look into the sky and dream and be lost -- and then be bitter when I realize that all I have to show for my wanderings are shreds of mist.

OK. I'm going to make submitting to the Tupelo Press' current contest as much of a priority as applying to schools. OK. I'm going to send out one packet for submission each month.

That begins my attempting to really walk the path I said I wanted to walk. As for concrete career plans...

How does one go about choosing what one wants to be when one grows up? Should I apply to both library schools AND therapist schools and then see which ones I get into? Should I ask the magic 8 ball? Should I put up a poll? Should I throw darts or flip coins? Should I job shadow? Can you even shadow a therapist? Is that allowed? As you can see, I'm comfortable asking question upon question until the original impulse is shrouded and I'm chasing mist again. It's deciding on a course of action that turns out to be the right one that's the problem.

Posted by Trista @ 11:26 AM

Read or Post a Comment

Good thing your pirate poems are going to take off creating a whole cult following and you'll be too busy marketing all of the Katine dolls and grandma's lemon biscuits and greeting cards and t-shirts and writing more adventures for your young adult series as well as the epic pirate poem that you'll be commissioned to write to even have to worry about such piddly career path nonsense...

Posted by Blogger Plimco @ 1:45 PM #

Oh Plimco, you always know the right thing to say to get a girl's heart to go pitter pat!

Posted by Blogger Trista @ 1:50 PM #

IMO, the biggest problem with being smart and bookish is that -- as the useless career counselor types are fond of saying -- "you could really do anything you want to do."

Thanks. That's a big help.

The hard question is WHAT THE F*CK do you (I? Jill?) want to do? Lots of things could be interesting, fulfilling, fun, maybe even lucrative.

Here's my assvice: No new degrees unless you're really confident that they lead you to a career you REALLY want for at least 10 years. Ideally, more.

You already know this, but there is no The Right Answer. There are plenty of things you like, find motivating, fulfilling, etc. None of them is going to make your life perfect.

I think it would be a better use of your time and $$$ to spend a couple hundred bucks on a career counselor or life coach to develop a plan for the next year or 3 or 10 and help make sure you stay on it, than to spend way more on a degree that you aren't sure is the right path.

We so need to talk again!

Posted by Anonymous Liza @ 7:26 AM #

Maybe it's just me, but I think you're getting too hung up trying to validate your existence by what you do rather than who you are. A job is just something you do to subsidize your personal life. Being a therapist would be as frustrating as it would be rewarding.
Just find something that you're ok with doing that pays enough to let you be the person you want to be.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 11:22 AM #
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