Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shouldn't I know this by now?

This is a bit embarrassing to admit... but I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I mean, I have an idea of what I'm good at so far, and what I absolutely hate / suck at... but I can't commit to a career in any one area.

This oversight has become a glaring problem because some events at work have made me realize that I need to take more control over the trajectory of my career. Frankly, that whole thought spiral made me break out into a cold sweat. Seriously, I was balled up on the couch, head in the girlfriend's lap, staring into space for a good 30 minutes. It goes something like this:

My boss overlooked me for a project that would have given me more exposure to upper management > My boss has done this a number of times, and it makes me feel like he doesn't respect me > He only thinks I can do this one thing > What if I can only do this one thing? > Bullshit, your reviews are great, and the compliments from clients are pretty steady > Yeah, but you don't have a degree and CB does (story for another time), and even though she hasn't contributed nearly as much, he still thinks that her degree makes her more qualified > So I should look into getting a degree > What degree should I get?> This isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life > But what do I want to do for the rest of my life?>I want to go to school full time > But I can't afford that. > But I want to try out a bunch of different things > But you don't have the luxury > OK, but if I'm going to pay for college, it should be something good, right? > Wait, what if I pay for college and end up with a worthless degree in an area I find completely boring in 4 years? > What is it I want again? >What if I'm stuck in a career I hate + have $30,000 in debt to show for it? > Well shit, if you don't get a move on it, that college degree is going to cost $50AHHHHHH.

Pretty impressive, huh?

Well, it's more exhausting than impressive, really. SO. What to do. I know! I'll make a list. I'll list the things I like, the things I know I'm good at, the things I'd like to be good at, and go from there.

Things I'm good at / like doing:
  • Public speaking
  • Explaining things in a way that make sense
  • Empathizing
  • Problem-solving
  • Motivating people
  • Finding the good in people
  • Being funny / witty
  • Engaging people
  • Teaching
  • Listening
  • Supporting people
  • Figuring out the right combination of colors to dye my own hair
  • Following recipes / cooking
  • Learning languages (though it's been a while)
  • Making friends
  • Accepting myself / my body / my past / my responsibilities / other people as they are
  • Being honest about what I want
  • Reading people
  • Traveling / exploring new towns
  • Figuring out the root cause of problems (even if this knowledge is wholly unhelpful)
  • Girl sex (A made me add this one, but it's totes true)
Things I'm bad at / hate doing
  • Pretending to care when I really don't
  • Numbers - putting them together, making them make sense in my head
  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Money management
  • Motivating myself to do the mundane aspects of the job
  • Traveling in the small airline seats
  • Sleeping in hotel beds
  • Anything requiring physical coordination
  • Dieting
  • Data entry (esp. numbers)
  • Repetitive tasks
  • Being a serious adult
Things I'd like to explore / get good at:
  • Organizing
  • Time and money management
  • People management
  • Psychology
  • Nutrition
  • Fitness while Fat
  • Helping others with acceptance issues
  • College professor (what subject???) (A - " NOT math! ") History, psychology, business, presentation skills.
  • Writing
  • Acting (local stage plays, maybe a one-woman show)
  • Something that allows for me to have a life outside of my career.
I'm sort of giving college professor the hairy eyeball right now. In fact, I've been told a couple of times that I'd be good at this. The amount of schooling to get to that point seems a little daunting, but the best way I've heard it put is this: If it takes 6 years to get both a degree and an advanced degree, those 6 years are going to pass regardless, and you might as well have a degree at the end of that time, rather than more regrets for not doing it.

So... what do y'all think? Anything that I've left off? What do you think I'd be good at? Suggestions as to how to go about it / what pitfalls to avoid?


  1. Um, I am totally trying to figure out the same thing. I already have two undergrad degrees but I would love to get a grad degree. Problem is I'd love to get my Masters or PhD in English & a BA in English is already useless enough what am I going to do with an advanced degree? I don't think I want to be a teacher/professor either but maybe... *Sigh*

  2. K, what about becoming a Counselor? I know there are a few different classifcations like Licensed Professional, Social Worker, Master Level Counselor. I think you'd be great at psycology especially with a lot of the things on your list (positive body image, GLBT, motivating people, empathy, etc...)

  3. Thanks, JB - much appreciated! I do really gravitate towards counseling, though I'm worried about not making enough to justify the cost of the advanced degree... but I also may not care about the money as much as feeling like I'm doing something worthwhile.