When I started writing for Stratejoy almost five months ago, I was pretty confident and comfortable with my career as a counselor. So, of course now that this journey as a season 5 blogger is quickly coming to a close, I’m beginning to second guess myself and wonder what else might be out there. Of course.
Lately I’ve been asking myself if I really want to be a counselor forever.
It’s a question I asked myself many times in 2006 and 2007. I had just graduated from college with a dual Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies and French. I made the commitment to spend seven months in France teaching English, but after that? I thought I might go to graduate school for counseling, but I wasn’t sure if that was my calling.
I knew I wanted to work in a “helping profession”. I knew I wanted to work with people. And when I envisioned my dream job, I was listening to people tell me their stories. I was running my own private practice as a counselor, spending my days helping others find their way, finding a nugget of happiness in a cloudy world. It’s what I wanted and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. This was it.
With my mind set on this goal, I applied for graduate school, was accepted, and spent the next two years living off of student loans and earning my Master’s degree in Psychological Counseling.
It’s been 2.5 years since I graduated. I’m working at a non-profit counseling agency where I provide individual and group counseling to children in an emergency shelter setting. It’s tough work. The stories are tragic and there have been days where I go home and cry. But then there are days that light my heart on fire. There are days that soar and feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. But the tides are turning and the balances are shifting. I’m growing thin. I’m not excited to go to work ever day like I used to be and that makes me sad.
I thought I could handle it. I thought that I loved it. I did love it, but now I’m not so sure anymore.
By this fall I’ll have earned my LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) which means that I can open my own private practice in Texas. If I decide to move out of state, like to Canada, I’ll have to begin the two year licensing process again. Talk about frustrating.
That’s one reason I’m considering my options. If this job isn’t what I love anymore, maybe I should start exploring and see what else is out there? If this isn’t the career I want, why should I spend more time working toward a license that I ultimately won’t use? Or maybe I will, one day. I don’t know.
There is also this other part of me that feels guilty for even considering changing careers. I have a Master’s degree and I’ll be paying off my loans until I’m 60, so I feel like I should use that degree. Sigh. My pride is talking to me loud and clear.
Maybe if I move to Canada and begin the process again in another organization, I’ll be happier? Maybe if I open up a private practice one day, the ultimate goal all along, then I’ll feel at peace?
How do you know if it’s the job you don’t like or the career?