People struggle with this issue all the time. Some people work in a chosen job/field all their lives while others may change jobs once or twice or more during their lifetime.
I manage the process of reviewing and disseminating reports produced by my agency and shared with external stakeholders, and I generate metrics of those reports including impact and usefulness as determined by a review of feedback data provided by recipients of those reports. That’s the 12 second elevator pitch of what I do. Phew! I finally perfected it. Basically, that’s my job. I have thought about doing something different at times. But what would that be? I’ve taken assessments through the years – some via a formal job coach or counselor and other via those silly little Facebook quizzes that pop into my timeline. One job that often shows up for me, and something I thoroughly enjoy doing, is writer. I take great pleasure with writing. I enjoy writing fiction, a favorite pastime. By the way, I even wrote a novel, A Shattered Heart, which you can get from any book vendor or download to your e-reader such as Nook or Kindle. If you want an autographed copy, let me know and I will send you a complimentary copy. I had to get in a plug. Some people still like the feel of an actual book over an e-book. I also enjoy non-fiction as well, such as the writing I do in this blog.
But the point of this post is, I sometimes think my calling is to be some kind of counselor or therapist, maybe. In the last several weeks, four people have pour their hearts out to me about problems they were facing. I starting writing this up while at work while having my lunch and oddly enough, someone came up to my desk to vent about some feelings of distress he was experiencing over a work project. A week ago, a woman stopped by my desk upset about a general home contractor and a problem she had with the remodeling of her kitchen. She was quite distressed, going on and on about the ordeal that stressed her out quite a bit. People are often stopping by for one thing or another. I even have had random strangers talk to me. The last person was a woman on the Metro in DC talk to me about the passing of her dad. I talked with and prayed for her. Then there was a woman in the supermarket who was missing her husband and was feeling sad and down about that. It could be I have a kind face. Maybe the spirits are trying to tell me something.
I also get many people who take to me about health, fitness, and nutrition matters as well as tips on how to cook things in a more healthy manner. I love writing and talking about that. I even blog about it. Search the archives if you’re interested in that topic. There are plenty of things I have written about it.
The most frequent counseling requests I get are regarding the job application process, how to interview, and how to make themselves a more viable candidate for a new job. Many of them are not even from people I supervise; I wonder why they don’t go and ask their own supervisors for that. I asked one woman that question (not to be rude but I didn’t want her boss to get mad at me for doing something that she should have been doing. The woman said her boss wasn’t helpful about things like that and that I was much more empathic. I don’t know if she was trying to just make me feel better or if she was being genuine. But she wasn’t the first person to tell me that. I tend to do that well: be empathic.
To be a writer or a counselor? If I had to choose, I’d prefer to be a writer. I do not think I have the intestinal fortitude to help vet people’s problems all day, particularly those in distress. I think it is a mentally arduous, draining profession. As an aside, I read a report funded and published by the National Institutes of Health indicating the high incidence of suicidality among mental health practitioners. (1) Persons working in this field need to pay extra attentive to their mental health. That is particularly true for me. I tend to get so encapsulated into the problems of others that I am just the type of person to neglect my own emotional needs.
I just had a thought: I could write about any and all of the above. Self-help books are a big hit. I could do that, or I could do more fiction. Of course, I’m just babbling. I probably won’t make any changes unless I quit my job and invest in a franchise.
There are two franchises that interest me. One is Hunting Learning Centers. That is tops on my list. It’s an academic enrichment program to assist grade school students with mathematics, English language and grammar development, phonemic awareness, and language arts. A companion program of interest to me is Blocks 4 Kidz, which focuses on academic development for kids with STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). I like these because I know many kids need help in these areas to supplement what they learn in their classes. I have a good foundational understanding of some of the principles of education and learning to managing such centers, and if I hire some good teachers and administrators, I can certainly expect success.
One of the things that prompted me to consider these things is the idea of long distance dating. If I should happen to meet someone who lives in another city and we hit it off, I would be very open to quit my job, sell my condo, withdraw from my retirement, invest in one/both of these program move to the city where me new suitor lives. So, even if things end up not working out, all won’t be lost. I’ll be making a new niche for myself professionally in the new spot.
But for now, it’s just thinking and talking. It’s good to have options so when if I do need to quickly make a change, I’ll have my ammunition.
(1) Psychologist suicide: Incidence, impact, and suggestions for prevention, intervention, and postvention http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3124780/