Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Here Goes Nothing...

Hello there, and welcome to what I'm sure will be the most personal post I think I may ever write. Go ahead, take a seat, stay awhile.

As you know, I'm in a bit of a dilemma at the moment. I'm torn between a career I've been going to school for and taking a leap of faith to pursue a few careers I've always been interested in, but have never had the balls to go for them.

I'm 6 credits and another internship away from finishing my Master's in Counseling. I've decided to take the remaining 6 credits this fall, and postpone the internship. That way I'm finished with all my coursework (which qualifies me for counselor positions) and any counseling job I decide to apply for in the future counts as the internship. That's the logical part.

Now for the crazy part...

I spent all day yesterday really putting some thought into what I want to do for a living, and why I chose to pursue counseling in the first place. It wasn't until a text conversation with a friend (who would be a fantastic counselor, btw) really put everything into perspective. "When was the first time you were really jealous of what someone else was doing for a living?"

What a great question! Jealousy is one of the most primal of emotions as well as one of the most powerful. If you're jealous of something, there's usually a very basic want or need that is not being fulfilled in your life. And why a person is jealous, can say loads about them.

Think about it, what are you jealous of? Are you jealous of your friend who is happily married and pregnant? I doubt it's because you're in love with her husband or think her growing belly looks sexy, it's more likely because you want to start a family of your own. What about your friend who has a new car and big house? Are you really jealous of all their toys, or the stability and freedom their income provides? The reason for a person's jealousy hits the core of what that person wants out of life.

So I thought about it. Career wise, when was the first time I was ever jealous of someone's career, and why? It took me under 4 seconds. When I was younger (I must have been 16?) I saw the movie Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie. As a promotion for the movie, there was a bit on TV about how they filmed the action scenes. There was one in particular, where Ms. Jolie was swinging from the ceiling on a serious of ribbon-like ropes. In that second I thought to myself, "I want to do that."

Do what? Fly from ceilings and fight bad guys? No, not quite. Although that would also be a terrific experience, I'm not even sure how to make a resume for that sort of thing. No, no, no, I wanted to act.

I wanted to be a part of a story that moved people. I wanted the responsibility of having to learn something different for every job, to throw myself into a character other than me. I wanted the opportunity to be in different situations with different needs and different people. Something that was always changing. Something that revolved a story, whether real or not. I don't care about the long hours, the low income or the lack of stability. Hell the lack of stability is kind of a draw actually.

Did I join the drama team in high school? No. I was an athlete, and for me a sports scholarship was the only way out of my family situation. I put all my time and effort into softball, just trying to find a way out of that town. Drama, speech and debate, band, all of it was pushed to the side. And it stayed there.

And here's the kicker. Once you create an identify for yourself (whether it's accurate or not), changing that identity becomes quite taxing. Your entire social circle is based on how you portray yourself. For example, in high school I wore sweats and no makeup. When I went to college my freshman year I was the same way. I didn't even know how to wear makeup, much less heels or a dress. People knew me as the "tomboy". All of my friends were tomboys. That was my identity.

But then I started wearing dresses and heels. Not because I was pressured by other people, but because I had always wanted to, I just didn't know how. And it was embarrassing at first. I didn't know how to walk in heels, it felt awkward to wear makeup, and I thought people were judging me in dresses. But secretly I loved it. It was the first time I felt could express who I was by what I wore. I loved how all of a sudden I became a woman instead of a guy with boobs. I had a sense of style. Sure I still love my sweats and still wear no makeup the vast majority of the time (I'm still the same girl), but I now I have another component of my identity. And I love it.

It's the same problem with my career. The real reason I went into counseling? Honestly? Because I was comfortable with it. I was comfortable with people telling me horrific stories of their childhood because I had been there myself. I had empathy for them. I worked at a psych hospital because it's what I was comfortable with. I've been dealing with irrational and violent people my entire life; getting paid for it just seemed like second nature.

So what am I getting at? This: I feel I'm in a career that I started because I was comfortable in it. It came naturally to me, so I kept along that path. I asked myself this, what dream counselor position am I jealous of?


None. A nutritional counselor would be pretty cool, but it's not what I want to do. It's what I feel I'd be good at. What about a forensic psychologist? Sure that would be interesting and challenging, but it's not what I want to do. As you can see by this recent post, even before I started having troubles in my job I knew I had made the wrong decision. I mean who writes that when they've supposedly finally reached their career goals?

I think my hobbies and my career interests were switched a long time ago. I wanted to major in music or art, but was told those were hobbies. I was interested in psychology and nutrition, and was told those were "career options." I was 18, listening to people "who knew best". So I did what I thought I was supposed to do.

Well folks I'm not 18 anymore. I'm 26, and I'm done making excuses. I'm taking an acting class this fall (along with my 6 credits) just to see if I like it. Maybe I'll hate it, and then I can cross that off my list. But maybe I'll love it...and then who know? Don't worry, I'm not filling my head with anything, I just want to make sure I cover all my bases before I lock myself into anything.

I'm excited. And by excited I mean terrified...but also excited.

Have you ever taken a leap of faith? How did it turn out?

Blogging Hints Catch a Wave Wednesday


  1. What a great post: it rings VERY true for me. I am currently working towards my Masters in Counselling, and KNOW that is what I want to do. Unless I win the lotto--although I don't play--and don't have to work. Although I would probably still want to counsel. However, before this realization, I had to redefine myself from the Academic Historian and Researcher I once was to someone who really wants to help others (done via teaching and now counselling).

    Thanks for the post, it got me thinking.

    It sounds like you will figure out where you should be. If our life paths were straight and predictable, it'd get pretty boring, no?

    --Jaclyn T
    I won a $25 gift certificate to the Steamy Kitchen Shop...but they don't ship to Canada. I'm giving it away on my blog:

  2. I think it's wonderful that you are taking an acting class along with finishing up the other credits. I'm going to be very curious as to how the acting class measures up to your interest in the field!

  3. Go for it girl! Definitely keep pursuing the things that you dream about doing! Thanks for following my blog, I'm following you now, too!


  4. What a great post! You are absoultely right to follow your heart and your dreams! I was all signed up to do science at uni - then took a year off and went back and within a week knew it wasn't for me - so I changed from one of the best unis to one of the lowest ranked, but found people who understood and let me change subjects completely - to studying languages and arts subject! They didn't try and push me into anything and I have never looked back. That leap gave me the confidence to go for whatever I wanted! I've taken many since and I'm sure I'll take more in the future! Go and live your life the way YOU want to!

    Good for you taking your acting class - maybe one day we'll see you on the big screen!

    Thanks for linking to the Creating Success Worldwide blog hop!! Hope you'll come back again next week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  5. Sounds like an idea. I've always tried taking the safe road - I am working hard towards being a successfully published writer (have dreamed of being a writer since I was four and started making up my own stories). But at the same time, like all the other people, I have to have a "real" job until I am the new J.K. Rowling. So I became a translator, and it is a job I love really much. I like working with languages, I love the challenge of understanding what the writer of the original text thought they were writing and putting it in new words for people from a completely different background to understand. And since I am working at a medical office and can spend all my day researching strange medical conditions (which will be great for my writing), I am practically in heaven. Plus I only work 7 hours per day (5 at the moment, it's Ramadan) and then can go home and continue writing. Taking the save road and still pursuing my dreams. ^^

  6. What a great post, and good for you! I meant to write this comment on your post re:fired but it fits in here.

    I used to be a music teacher. My first year of public teaching went pretty well, nothing special. But I knew that the principal was gunning for me to be let go. The second here was awful. I was basically treated by my co-workers like I had the plague. So I left teaching after my 2nd year. And I never went back.

    Part of me is guilty because I spent a crazy amount of money for a degree I'm not using. And I was a good teacher, and I liked the kids. But teaching wasn't a good fit for me.

    At any rate, I'm working in finance now. It's not my dream job, but it's a holding place for now. I've got dreams and I'm working towards figuring out how to make them happen.

    I hope your acting class is everything you want it to be! Good luck! :)

    -Mysterious M

  7. Get it, girl!!
    And hey, even if you find that you do hate acting, there are a lot of other things you can do to be a part of the magic of storytelling onstage--scenic or costume design, directing, dramaturgy, etc. Still forever changing with amazing opportunities to share meaningful stories. :) I thought about acting myself, but realized that teaching and directing theatre was a better fit for me. I'm so excited to see how it works out for you! Break legs :)

  8. I'm older than you and the best free advice I can give you is to be yourself and not worry about what anyone else thinks. It's the only way to be happy.

    Bella Vida by Letty
    Best of luck to you.

  9. That's a great post. I wish you all the luck in finding yourself as they all say. Have a great week. http://grandmabonniescloset.blogspot.com/

  10. I say go for it! That is amazing. Most people dont like change because that is what they are comfortable with and that is all they know! I once just picke dup and moved without a job or anything right after university. It was scary but exciting at the same time!

  11. Brilliant post. Yes I've taken a few and had mixed outcomes. Thing is, if you don't do it, you won't know. Fearing a negative shouldn't be the reason for missing out (unless there are clear and present dangers!) Best of luck to you! Here from the hop! Shah. X


  12. I have enjoyed reading your blog and have awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award. I hope you stop by and accept this award and pass it along.

  13. I think there's a way to take a chance but use the stills you have been acquiring with your classes. Take it one step sideways so you can have that comfort level while you reach for something new.

    Jessica @FoundtheMarbles

  14. What a brave young person you are! Your honesty and strength ring true. Since I am old enough to be your mother, I would agree- finish your course work. There is nothing wrong with using counseling as a stepping stone. My son is studying acting at NYU, and that is a HARD ROAD. Don't forget, acting can be a hobby, a means to socialize, or even a way to counsel others... Go for it all!

  15. Great story, I am torn too, career vs motherhood!
    check me out on FB and Twitter too!!

  16. and that is why it is called a Leap of faith ... and i have made many!
    So go for it, take control, take charge, do what makes you happy, because you never want to look back and say you wish your life had been different when you have time on your side ... right now ;)

  17. I think that is one of the most courageous posts I've read! Good for you to challenge your own way of thinking. And even better, for being honest with yourself. I did jobs I HAD to do for a long time, and now I am doing what I LOVE. I can honestly say that I've never been happier! You'll find your niche, try everything until you do :)

    I found you via Boost my Blog and I am happy to be a new follower :)

  18. You are such a good writer! I've only read this post and the wedding reception one and am so glad we have found each other's blogs. I'm a new fan for sure! Looking forward to reading more. :) have a great week!


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