If you could start a new career, would you? What would you do if you could shift gears, do something you’ve always wanted?
I’m just day dreaming now, but honestly, I’m burned out from shopping and thinking about shopping ATM. I always get this way at the end of the summer because I’m just SO TIRED of being hot all the time and I want to get back into sweaters and jeans and closed toe shoes. All the good sweaters start popping up right about now, and I just cannot resist (ahem…Elizabeth Suzann – yes, I bought a Rebekka kimono….), so I go into shopping and collecting overdrive, and then end up with a hangover.
Marketing. It’s all marketing. It’s so appealing though, isn’t it? Thinking about cooler weather in the dead of summer. We dream of crisp fall days and cozy sweaters, and buy in anticipation of finally being able to wear them.
I am not immune to marketing pressures, and indeed, I AM that pressure for you, my readers.
I aim to encourage conscious shopping, more mindful consumption, but it’s shopping/consumption either way. I know I’m not responsible for anyone else’s decisions, and I don’t feel guilty for that, but at the same time, I understand if you might want to take a break. I want to take a break.
So, let’s do that. Let’s not talk about shopping for a little while.
Back to my question. And my answer. If I could shift careers completely (again – I did it once before, when I started Grechen’s Closet in 2004), I would go into a field related to nutrition. Ideally, I’d become a medical doctor with a focus on integrative medicine, something combining both eastern and western principles of care and therapies along with a deep focus on nutritional healing.
I actually did a lot of research on this a couple years ago (before I started slowre) and almost got to the application stage, but then quit. I think I got scared. And worried about money – how could I afford to go back to school and spend so much time learning and not working? I’m no spring chicken either…
Anyway, I still think about it, and I might still work on figuring out a way to do it. I have a great passion for nutrition and holistic health and would find that work very rewarding. Almost as rewarding as doing this 🙂 and this is deeply, deeply rewarding.
Your turn. How would you shift gears in your career if you could? Have you done it already? How did you do it?
Botanist. That is a field I knew about before choosing the field I am in (law). I might also choose hydrologist which is not a field I knew about before my legal career but because I have done water rights work, I learned a lot about it. I am fortunate that my legal career is very fulfilling and I have had the chance to work with so many other professionals (hydrologists, fish biologists, historians lots of historians, economists, doctors and other medical professionals, engineers lots of engineers) and I think I am not changing careers now. But I loved studying botany and also other field sciences. Met a professor who specialized in shells and spent a lot of time at beaches….fieldwork.
Hey Grechen! Your question is a timely one for me. For the past 24 years I’ve been a clinical pharmacist. My dad was a pharmacist and I followed into his footsteps. I’ve worked pretty much in the same outpatient clinic for 22 years now and I hope to retire in another 8 years (or less preferably!) But I got the itch to do something else recently and that something else was to buy a pet sitting and dog walking business. So that’s what I did! My bf and I are partners in this new endeavor. I’ve been a client of this pet sitting business since 2011 and the owner was wanting to sell her franchise so here we are! I have NO BUSINESS experience at all and neither does my bf but we are so eager to learn and it’s super exciting for us. Plus, it’s a locally owned franchise so we have a lot of support and training from the corporate end of it. I just turned 50yo and my bf Tom is 56yo so we are no spring chicks either. Animals are our passion so this new career is a bit of a dream for both of us.
I left a PhD program after a lot of investment (I had finished coursework, written comps, and was at the dissertation proposal defense stage) It was the best decision for me – though it took too long to make – because the program wasn’t a good fit for me. If I could go back and choose a different program, I feel I could be a PhD today. But right now I’m happy as I am. One of the deciding factors in leaving the program was that I liked the job I had and saw a new path in my field I could enjoy without the degree, and that has continued to this day.
I still fantasize about a “retirement” PhD though. Right now I’m leaning toward architectural history, at Oxford. 🙂 (my actual career is global health – I have a masters in public health – so arch history would be VERY DIFFERENT.) I started looking for online courses I can do for fun – last spring, I did gastronomy on Coursera. They have a forensics class I’d like to do (I loved watching CSI and I love reading forensic mysteries).
I don’t really feel like I’ve started a career, though I’ve been in my nonprofit management job for over 3 years now. I am in discernment to become an Episcopal priest. My plan would be to work at a church and focus on pastoral counseling/writing on ethics issues.
I’m currently a therapist after a short stint (~2 years) as a data analyst. Being a therapist is the type of work that I was always meant to have, I think… along with having all the qualities therapists are “supposed” to have (being a good listener, wanting to help people when they are struggling, etc. etc.) the fact is that my brain is analytical and I need to have direct contact with the impact I’m having, otherwise I lose interest in the work…. so even the job structure of being a therapist is perfect for me.
If I ever went back to school (and didn’t have to worry about making money), I’d probably get into Comparative Literature — or something that centers around analyzing how the art, literature and film our culture creates mirrors and also affects our personal and interpersonal well-being. Or Art History, which is something I have always loved, but never quite figured out how to have a solid career in. Those were fields I seriously considered when I was younger, but for now I’m glad with the direction I’ve headed in…
One of my clients is an integrative doctor, and he is AMAZING. I think you would be totally great at that!
I think a lot about shifting careers lately. I’ve been working in social media for a while now, but I find that, in order to keep up with changing times, I have to get more into data analysis, which isn’t really my favorite thing. If I could, I would love to be full-time blogger. But I still don’t know what exactly that would look like for me. Only time will tell….
Rather than becoming an adult services public librarian, I would have liked to become a professional dancer. From the moment I saw the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall as a child, I have always loved choreographed dance. I don’t know if I have/had any of the actual talent and abilities required but that is the one thing I would have like to have pursued. I too considered nutrition as a field, when I was younger. Instead, having worked in libraries and library related jobs after college, I eventually went back to get my masters degree and became a librarian. That was a good choice too but I wish I had more seriously pursued dance.
I’ve got a PhD in art history, but kind of wish I could chuck it and be a travel agent, but that’s probably even less practical than my current field. I’ve also been seguing more towards another area of cultural history and away from proper art history, but I don’t see how I can turn that into a proper paying position at this point.
And, I recently returned from a trip to Shetland and wish I could leave city life (and the US) behind, but I’m not suited to any of the career possibilities there. I definitely don’t have it in me to be a profitable sheep farmer!
Grechen Reiter says
oh, nice! yes…fieldwork !
your work sounds fascinating!
Grechen Reiter says
i remember your talking about that before! that’s so wonderful for you 🙂
Grechen Reiter says
i left a masters program too – to work in a field i was very interested in. and also to start grechen’s closet…i always wanted to get my phd and teach, and was heading that direction, but life happened LOL
i’ve thought about taking courses online also, for fun. forensics sounds cool! i’m also fascinated by that…
Grechen Reiter says
leah, i have to just say that your writing is superb, and i can’t wait to read more of it. so thoughtful and important. you would make a wonderful priest. not that i know much about that LOL, but from what i know of you, i think you would be an amazing spiritual teacher.
Grechen Reiter says
oh, that’s a very good point about needing to have direct contact with the impact you’re having…and getting that as a therapist.
i think that might be part of what i struggle with in my “career” right now. I know i have an impact, but it’s all so distant, and “electronic” lol – until i meet someone in person.
Grechen Reiter says
oh yeah, ewww data analytics LOL
sometimes you also just have to let things take their course, and see what happens. full-time blogger looks different for everyone…you’d just have to determine what you want it to mean for YOU
Grechen Reiter says
maybe dance is something you can do now, anyway, just as a hobby? or maybe you do it already? that would be an excellent way to scratch the itch, as it were, without totally changing careers.
i think being a librarian sounds so interesting. my dream job when i was in high school/college was to work for the big independent bookstore in atlanta. it was where i would go on the weekends to hang out when everyone else would go to the mall or whatever LOL – sounds weird to say that!
Grechen Reiter says
are there such things as travel agents anymore? LOL – yes, i know there are…i think that would be fun, or at least the advising people part, or even being a tour guide or something. when we were in costa rica on the birding tour i thought i could give everything up, move there, and walk around and show people birds for the rest of my life. then i came to my senses…haha…maybe one day!
My blog hasn’t been updated for several years as I grew tired of thinking and writing about “stuff”. I’m ready to return now but with a different concept/name.
To answer your question I’d love to write and photograph. (I’m currently a Director of Finance for a museum now which is a wonderful place to be in my current career path.)
Grechen, you know there’s a school for Chinese Medicine in Austin, right? 😉 I go to a hair salon in Pflugerville that’s been owned by the same woman for 20 years. She started it in her 20s and now has a staff of stylists so she doesn’t come in every day. She recently started an apprenticeship with a doctor who works in integrative medicine, and she’s learning all sorts of interesting things that have made their way into her salon. Something like that might be an option for you.
I have a master’s degree in Literature, and I taught for about 8 years before having kids. I let my Texas teaching certificate lapse, but I sometimes think about re-entering the teaching profession. It’s so exhausting, though, and I don’t think I’d have enough energy for my own kids at the end of the day. I also think it would incredibly fun to become a makeup artist. 🙂
Reading all the comments, I’m awed by what a strong, intelligent, diverse group of women you have attracted in your readership. I think it truly speaks to what a remarkable blog you have and the energy and honesty you have invested in it.
I’ve worked in government mission abroad (Canada) all my life but about 8 years ago, I made a drastic shift from foreign policy and international relations to border security/enforcement. It was a lifestyle choice, partly bc it was a rare job-share position that allowed me to spend more time with family and partly from burn-out from doing the same work for a decade. I still feel challenged by what I’m doing now but if I were offered a career change, I would love to learn more about child behavioural therapy.
Oh, everything I dreamed of when I was eight would probably still apply. Where’s that magic wand again?
My field is Indian law, representing tribes and tribal entities. I am very fortunate.
I have a PhD in biological chemistry and I currently work as a soil scientist for a crown research institute (i.e. the government). This is what I’ve most recently been involved with:
I’m pretty proud of my work in this space (I truly believe in it – that’s not always the case for some of the projects I’ve been involved in!) and I’ve been able to marry my work in the soil science space (which I don’t really enjoy) with analytical chemistry (which is my true love). So just right now, I love my job and can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing (and every single career quiz I take tells me my ideal job is “scientist” so here I stay!)
My manager and I often joke that we should have become plumbers or electricians. There really are limited jobs (in NZ – we’ve both done post-docs overseas) and you certainly don’t become a scientist for the money (despite the fact that we’re apparently in the pockets of Big Pharma/Big Agri etc 😉 ).
Would I do a PhD if I had my time again? Probably not. I think I would have gone into medicine or pharmacy or veterinary medicine instead.
In terms of thinking about a completely different career to science? Well, I actually took a sabbatical after my first post-doc to ride racehorses full-time and pursue a career as a jumps jockey. Sadly, it was short-lived and ended abruptly when a horse decided to use me as a cushion and busted my pelvis. I would love to have given it a good shot and if I had my time again?……
I agree with Edie- what a talented group of women are reading your page-because of you.
I’ve been an elementary school teacher for 18 years and have 4 more to go . I have been thinking about what is next as well. While I was in college I was trained by Estee Lauder and Lancome as a make-up artist. I still do friends and family. I’m thinking of fund raising for AIDS (I used to work for a day treatment program) and doing make- up. Sounds good to me!
What a bunch of amazing women! Including you, G!
You would be a fabulous health coach. I believe an option to explore is Integrative School
http://www.integrativenutrition.com/ — I have no affiliation with them but it is well established. Check into possibility of distance learning .
As for Costa Rica, having moved there and then extricated myself four years later, think twice. If you are ever serious, reach out to me.
Grechen Reiter says
thanks christina! 🙂
Such a great idea to use your talents as an MUA to fund raise for AIDS patients! I would do that with you in a heartbeat!
Congratulations on switching careers to start your blog. I really enjoy it. I’ve done a few big career shifts and I’m starting to contemplate another one. I was a SAHM/aspiring writer for years, then made an impulsive decision to go to nursing school, once all my kids were in school. I worked as an ortho/trauma nurse for two years and was absolutely miserable so I impulsively (again) applied for a job in IT at my hospital and was hired and I’ve been working in the field of healthcare IT/informatics for six years. I’m specifically responsible for regulatory stuff and quality reporting and I’m feeling dissatisfied lately. I would love to do something more creative. My no-holds barred, absolute fantasy career would be in historic costume making.