Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Time Out: Career Path

I wanted to take a little break to discuss something that I think/worry about A LOT. Now that I'm progressing deeper into my late twenties, the fact that I still don't have a solid career path bothers me very, very much.

To give a bit of school/work background, I graduated from the University of Hawaii in 2007 with a BA in Psychology. During my time at school I worked for almost 6 years as a manager at a Van's Shoes. I loved it there and stayed longer than I probably should have. After Vans, I worked for a year doing administrative duties at a local Hospice organization in Hawaii. I was very thankful for the opportunity to work in a social work setting as social services is a possible path I'd like to pursue. After my year at Hospice Hawaii I decided to take a chance and move to Seattle to be with my boyfriend and experience life outside of my small island home. It took about 9 months for me to find work out here, but finally landed an office manager position at a small Seattle software company. I've been at this present company for over a year now and have learned tons of new skills in the computer world. And although these skills will be beneficial in finding other positions, technology isn't really the field I see myself in.

Due to some family circumstances, my boyfriend and I will be moving back to Hawaii in the next few months and I will find myself searching for a new job back home. And while the prospects for finding work in Hawaii are not too promising, that isn't really the issue I'm worried about.

For me, the issue lies in finding my passion. At 27 years old, I figured I would have my act together by now. There are things that interest me, such as, social services, crafting, teaching, baking, but these topics are kind of all over the place and none of them present a real "oomph" when I think about them. To me social work seems like the clearest path, but then doubts of my ability and drive start creeping in. How will I know I'm capable? What if I find that it's not really what I want? I don't have much experience, why would a Master's program even accept me? All of these questions give me great anxiety.

My plan at the moment is to try and find an entry level job in the social services field to see if it's something that I could/should or even want to do before applying to graduate school. This will help me gain insight into the field, as well as much needed experience.

I just get so scared that I'll never find my place. Sometimes I feel like the only 27 year old that has no clue what they're doing. I have to keep telling myself that everyone has a different experience in searching for that path. I have to stop comparing myself to the accomplishments of my peers (who in my opinion are way ahead of me) and that things happen when they're supposed to happen and that helps to calm the fears.

How do you find your passion? If anyone has any advice, I would love to hear it.
Gas Works Park Path - courtesy of Kevin


Loud n Brown said...

first off . . .

okay - second, we need to have palaver on this subject. Ho'oponopono . . . real-talk. I mean, you know Phil has gone through this . . . what, 3 times? It's an epidemic, but a GOOD one. the fact of the matter is that the current world is VERY BROAD with sooo much opportunity. you are smart young woman with SOOO many options, and THAT is the only reason it seems to daunting. I go through that as well-
as far as the ARTS. I am (obviously) a firm supporter of the creative field, but no one should go though the financial dismay that ensues, the path that Rob and Jen are taking are the PERFECT route! make money doing something so it can FUND your other endeavors till THAT takes over .

well talk more about this over coffee - and i'm sure big sis can phrase this much better than I


Shianhan said...

I am feeling the exact same way. After finishing law school, I realized that law is not really the career for me.

On the plus side, I do have an idea that may fit all of your interests.

I'll be in Seattle all summer so we should definitely get together sometime.

Tommy said...

I think Derrick put a really insightful post. It is totally true. Jenine and I talk about this all the time, do you work to live or live to work?

Crindy said...

I have to agree with everything BSJ said... very well put. and yes, tommy and I do talk about this a lot - the idea of finding some "passion" in your career or a calling of sorts, and whether that should define who we are (which we often feel does). I think the conclusion we both came to is that work is work, and life is life, and while yes they are intertwined, they are not one in the same (for normal people). you don't want them to be one in the same. but we get so caught up in the idea that we are supposed to "be something" in order to look or feel successful or "where we should be" at some given age. I think what's more important than work is to look at everything you have or have done in life and ask yourself what else you want or want to do, and then figure out how to do it. career will come. you are among MANY who feel this way!! as you may recall, I REALLY toiled with this too, and I think everyone does at some point. even now I still think about other things I want to do, but like derrick says, there's the practical that should support the ideal. and practical skills are definitely something you have. the experience you have gained while working at your current job are going to land you the next job that will support you and the life you want to live. and that’s just it – work should support the life you want to live, not be your life. what kind of job will enable you to live the life you want? that’s how you should think about it… in my opinion.

aside from that, you also need to remind yourself of everything you HAVE accomplished in your short little life (I know we’re all feeling the big 3-0 coming up, but come on, we’re not old). you graduated from college, you moved away from home and lived in a new city, you have worked for an awesome company that LOVES you, you've had time to cultivate hobbies and dabble in the things you love... you've had fun outings with friends in new places that you've never been before, you have a super cute apartment, you have an amazing boyfriend, friends and family who adore you, and you are japanese. you'll go back to hawaii with so much life experience under your belt, and the only thing you will have to do is figure out what you want to do next. as for some "calling" or sense of direction, it will definitely come to you, so in the meantime just enjoy the ride.

this is a very long post but I'll end by saying that I've been stalking a bunch of my future classmates and have been absolutely fascinated with the circuitous routes all of them have taken to find themselves at this place we’re all now at. one woman (my favorite) was previously an archaeologist/medical anthropologist and now wants to be a nurse practitioner with a focus in community health. she never saw that coming at the time, and often wondered “why the f$#& am I an archaeologist” as I imagine it isn’t easy to find work in that field, but now she found a new way to use that life experience. I have already messaged her to tell her that I can't wait to hear more stories about shit she has dug up in other countries. how freaking cool is that?? other people were pastry chefs, others software people, the list goes on. there is no clear cut path, and there shouldn’t be, because that would make life very boring.

bottom line, you are capable of anything and everything, so instead of feeling anxiety about the future, just try to enjoy the present and give yourself credit for everything you have already accomplished (which is a lot). and look at the future as a fun trip you want to take. some things will obviously require a little planning, but you can't plan everything (and it's less fun that way anyway). you will figure it all out when it comes.