It’s no secret that I’m not thrilled with my “career,” if you can call it that. I graduated with an arguably archaic degree (English/Publishing Studies) in a bad economic time in the American job market (2010). Since that time, I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly it is that I want to do with my life and where I want to end up. The Chicago suburbs aren’t doing it for me. I envy people that have the money and skillset to uproot their lives to live in more desirable locations. Doctors, lawyers, and professors–and anyone with similarly competitive careers–have little comparative difficulty relocating if they so desire. Me? I work in advertising sales support. Previously, I worked as a writer/editor for a publishing company that was, and still is, teetering on inevitable closure. I don’t have a large, nor desirable, skillset, which makes job-hunting exceptionally difficult. I don’t want to be doing what I’m doing…but what is it that I want to do?
If I find something related to my current job, I can take advantage of a $4,000-per-year tuition reimbursement. For this reason, I humored the idea of obtaining an MBA for a while. I did some research and looked into a few programs. It seemed like the next logical step, but my heart’s not in it. I don’t aspire to be somebody’s business manager. Financially speaking, if I opted for that route, I could eventually climb the corporate ladder, but my boss’s job isn’t the job I see myself with. If that’s not my eventual goal, then I’ve decided I must be wasting my time. Working for a healthcare company has gotten me interested in the field, though. Not doing what I’m doing now, of course, but the healthcare field is burgeoning. It’s a good, safe place to be. Of course, I’m not going to be a doctor. I faint at the slightest sight of blood. But with healthcare career options bouncing around in my head, and my recent lifestyle change to a vegan diet, I’ve been led down a path that sounds interesting, fulfilling, and promising–and very, very challenging: nutrition.
I’m currently looking at an MS program in nutrition. It’s an online degree at a state school. It seemed feasible until I saw the pre-reqs: organic chemistry, calculus, microbiology, and more. Shit. My math/science requirements for my BA looked like this: basic biology, basic physics, basic math, fin. In order to even qualify for a degree in nutrition, I’d have to first satisfy the prerequisite courses. This not only means time, but it also means money. Besides which, it means a complete assault on the brain. I know very little about math and science, and I have no doubt that if I were truly committed, that I could surely learn–but while holding down a full-time job which requires an hour commute in each direction each day, could I possibly find the time to stay on top of my schoolwork, my job, and not completely upset my natural rhythm of life? I don’t know. And it’s discouraging, because I think I might have found something I could really enjoy.
One school nearby (private=big bucks) offers a Master’s in Public Health with an emphasis in nutrition. This sounds even more ideal, but again, the time and cost outweigh my desire to embark on the change. The amount of student loans I’d have to take out…and the complete uncertainty of whether or not I’d a) finish the degree or b) find meaningful work in the field completely frightens me away from even trying.
I daydream sometimes of quitting my job, packing up, and just driving. Figuring it out when I get there. This is a fantasy that has no roots in reality. I couldn’t possibly do that. I don’t have the funds saved. I don’t have the wherewithal.
I guess what I’m asking is: how did you happen upon your choice of career, the place you decided to settle? Was it an easy decision or a decision rife with strife? These are big-girl decisions I have to make on my own, and it’s terrifying. I don’t want to wake up in 20 years still here, still with this job, wondering “what if?”