Choosing a career is an important, life-defining decision. If you feel as though you’ve been “forced” in a particular career direction by family members or simply because “The money is good”, this may lead to a stressful, unfulfilling work life. It’s a shame to let your personal strengths go to waste if there are jobs out there where you can use them. I found out the hard way after being stuck in State employment for seventeen LONG years for the sake of stability and good benefits. The reason the government employers provide good benefits is because they make you need them!
Beginning in elementary school, I discovered my love for writing and I enjoyed doing research for papers and projects in high school. While in the fifth grade, I became legally blind and developed epilepsy, complications related to a congenital neurological condition called hydrocephalus. For the next few years, I had a number of surgeries and hospitalizations. Keeping up with schoolwork and doing so with limited vision was very challenging. I was always a visual learner and could easily remember visual information. This was fortunate because my neurological condition affected auditory comprehension. What was I supposed to do now that I had a photographic memory with a busted camera?
Despite this, writing assignments were never a chore for me. Doing the research and developing a strategy for integrating all of the information into one compilation was a great way to engage my curiosity and creativity. When it was time to start thinking about college, I told my parents that I wanted to study journalism. Despite my obvious love of writing, they insisted that I could not work as a journalist because I was unable to drive. Despite my persistence, my future remained in someone else’s hands.
Since I have always looked at life from a theoretical perspective and been fascinated by human behavior, I decided to study psychology. While pursuing my degree at Rhode Island College, I also enrolled in the Gerontology Certificate Program, inspired by an internship I had with the Senior Employment Program run by the Department of Elderly Affairs. The Gerontology curriculum included a nursing class on Death and Dying. While it may sound morbid, we all know that death is an inevitable part of life. I wrote a paper on the theme of death and dying in popular music, including the impact that the deaths of popular musicians like Elvis, John Lennon and Jim Morrison, have had on society.
When my creative mind was thrust into a government setting where I was inundated by paperwork, stringent procedures and methodical mindsets, I felt like a seagull trapped in a maze of city skyscrapers. Like a bird that can’t see glass, I kept whacking into obstacles regarding accommodations. Eventually, it started to affect my head. Seizures and panic attacks became a part of my daily routine.
Lee Iacocca, former Present and CEO of Chrysler Corporation once stated:
What is it that you like doing? If you don’t like it, get out of it, because you’ll be lousy at it.
If you are feeling trapped in an unfulfilling, stressful career, or you are a student trying to decide what area of study or educational setting is right for you, make it your New Year’s resolution to open new windows and doors to see what’s out there.