It’s been awhile since I checked in with you on the career front. When last I updated, I had accepted a teaching position two days a week at my alma mater, John Carroll University, and was still bound and determined to change career tracks. So, where am I now?
After quite a bit of soul searching, I realized that the career I studied for, trained for, and have been doing for essentially six years is actually where I want to be. I had some negative experiences, some blase experiences, and some stellar experiences. When the negative and the blase started to outweigh the stellar, I had a “baby with the bathwater” moment. It took awhile to come back around from that, but I’m so glad I did.
This is not to say that radical career shifts aren’t good, refreshing or absolutely right for some people. Personally, I just needed a mental time-out to figure out where I wanted to be. I didn’t know it would lead back around to where I started. I didn’t know it was just a time-out.
So, about a month ago, I dipped my toes back in on a contract basis to the same career environment where I’d always been. The first couple days were really tough. I think there were bets between CLEmom and Matthew on if I’d last out the week or if the baby, the bathwater, and the tub might get thrown out for good.
But I kept going back. I kept at it. And, as the contract wraps up, I can honestly look back and say it was a great experience. It taught me that where I want to be and what I’m good at were never that far away or that different. I also found myself realizing that instead of expecting my career to just hand me moments of inspiration and sweetness, I had to look for them and, sometimes, make them myself, but they were there.
An unfortunate part of all this is having to give up the teaching position, at least for now. I can’t rebuild the career I know I want with only 3 days a week. It was a tough choice because I love the experience I’ve had with teaching so far and hope that it’s part of the picture down the road. But no one ever said being a grown-up or having a career was easy.
What have I learned, aside from figuring out where I want to be and what I want to be doing? I’ve learned that soul-searching doesn’t have to lead you to a different place. For awhile, I was so determined that my choices had to lead to something different that I ignored the voice telling me that what I was looking for was the career I already knew. It’s OK to step back, to analyze, and then to end up right in the same spot, if that spot is right for you.
I also learned there are no easy answers or quick fixes. I still have work to do to get myself where I want to be and I’ve already had and will continue to have tough choices to get there. But it’s worth it when I’m sure the goal is right.
Have you ever thought about changing careers, but ended up staying right where you were? How did it work out?