23 January 2010

Fear of the future.

Sigh. I am sitting here at my computer after a half hour of job/career hunting. I'm left feeling like I need another cup of coffee with some whiskey in it, a hug from Swiss and a pep talk from Beth. Deflated, defeated and hopeless. Dude, what a downer on a Saturday morning, right?

I guess I just feel like I'm at a really strange place as far as starting over goes. I have a four-year degree. I have a certificate degree in my 'speciality'. But I am 31 and don't know what to do with myself. Do I go back to school? Do I suck it up and keep on track with a career I've sort of fallen out of love with (but don't hate). Do I try to re-enter the job market back at entry levels? Can we handle that financially? Sigh, what is a girl to do???

I don't mind the idea of going back to school in theory. I LOATHE the idea of having to take (re-take) the GRE and I don't like the idea of having to spend money on school to make money... that just leaves me out of the working pool for another 2 years. Blech. And honestly, I feel like if I am going to go back to school and do all that work- it better be for something I REALY love. I don't think I can say that about any of the programs (save maybe art school) Ive looked into.

My degree is in environmental biology. My job experience is medical. There are a few careers out there that I think would let me meld those two together, but most want a otherwise useless Master's in Biology to even apply. Seriously, a MS in Biology is as good as Monopoly money. I won't waste the time, money or energy to get one.

And Swiss always asks me what my dream job is. This usually makes me sad because I don't think I have one anymore... maybe independently wealthy traveler/artist/photographer? But that would require winning the lottery. I used to want to be a Veterinarian... but even that doesn't make sense at this juncture in my life. I don't want to teach. I don't want to be a field biologist. I would love to work at a NFP environmental organization, but I don't see how we can afford to do the things we want on those types of low salaries. I would love to advise students about biology careers, but those are the jobs that want the useless MS in Biology. I could try to hack it as a freelance photographer & artist, but I'd feel guilty if Swiss was the only one really contributing to the household income.

If I'm lucky, I might be able to swing a government job in biology, or at least relating to it. And worst case scenario, I stick with my former career track because I'm already well qualified and trained and *should* be able to land a job (providing there is one near us) without too much difficulty. But it just feels weird to be lost in the sea of "What do I want to be when I grow up" again at 31. I did this a couple of times already and, yes, it does suck as much as I remember. Ha!

Anyway, I am sure things will fall into place the closer we get and once we know where Swiss can get good offers. I am sure that there will be better opportunities when I can hone in on a geographical area, and I'm sure that whatever it is I end up doing, it will be okay. I sort of feel like this should be a liberating experience, like pressing the refresh button on your career, but when you don't have direction or deep seated career desires, it really leaves you feeling more listless and angsty. I'm guessing this is the feeling Swiss has told me about when he talks about leaving the Army...


EngineerChica said...

The best advice I have been given is to volunteer related to something you want to do. That way, you'll get some 'experience' and you'll meet people who may be able to connect you or advise you or even hire you. I had a hard time following it because I was so in-limbo and lazy, but I think I would have been much happier and potentially better connected had I done this last year.

Also, while I don't have a biology degree, I've found that no engineering job/position/task has turned out to be exactly what I've thought, and that I've ended up really liking some things I didn't think I would, and not liking some things I thought I would. So, with that said, I'm all for jumping in head-first and trying to get as much out of something as I can, without worrying too much about the long-term implications. You aren't stuck in whatever you decide to do now for any longer than you want to be!

Otherwise, keep your head up. No one really has everything figured out, even if it appears that way. I know you can do it!

silver star said...

If you are stationed near a CDTF, see about working there, they do have civilian contractors working inside them, and one of the things that chemical soldiers have to learn in AIT is biological warfare. Some even work around animals.

I also understand your frustrations on school, I have a degree that I've never been able to use, and I fear that if I go back to study something else, the same thing will happen. It doesn't help that I know high school drop-outs with better jobs than I have. I hope this is not the case for you, you seem very smart and creative, so you should be able to do whatever you want.

Good luck, and remember things will be better in about 3 weeks!

Brittany said...

i know I have never met Swiss in person (yet!) but I've heard enough about him through conversations with you to know that he will support anything that you want to do.

EngineerChica is right -- do some volunteer work for a little while. See if you like it. If you don't? Then you know. If you do? Then hooray! You found something to work towards.

Either way, I can totally understand the position that you are in. You will figure something out eventually! :) LOVE YOU!

tehlia said...

It seems to be the time of change, well at least among 30somethings. I am 31 and have decided on a career change as well, complete career change. And after talking out loud about many of my thoughts and fears, to my delight, many friends have admitted the same thing to me. I am excited, nervous and doubtful. But I know it will all work out.

I don't have any advice to give, just a common goal and looking forward to the future.