I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job.
Did you cringe when you read that?
Did your heart sink a little because deep down inside, you know you’re in the same boat?
If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking “this job is killing me” then let’s be honest… lots of people our age chose the “wrong” career… or just chose whatever because they didn’t (and STILL don’t) know what they would like to do.
Unfortunately, even when you’re on a pretty solid path, your needs and desires can change in a direction that may not be the “safest” route. At this point, I would challenge you to face your fears and explore those new ideas. You owe yourself long-term happiness!
Table of Contents
Choosing a Path in College
Trust me, I can relate. My career path even as an adult has been full of uncertainty and regret. I started off college on the Pre-Med track. Due to the pressures of the track, I developed an anxiety disorder and broke down, eventually switching to Psychology (more on my story here).
I was inspired by one professor who juggled a private practice, consulting at a local prison, and teaching. It seemed like all these different jobs would successfully meet my needs, since I enjoy teaching and the college environment, but I also wanted to do something really “out there” like work in a prison.
Here’s where all the problems start, however.
This is because, since I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted my work life to be like, I fell victim to “good” or “safe” ideas rather than pursuing what I truly wanted for myself. I took a class in behavior analysis and the professor totally had me sold on how ABA could be a great career. Once I started interning in the field, the internship program was structured towards helping interns earn their credential.
It was just so easy to go with the flow and pursue my BCaBA, so I did.
Choosing a Path in Grad School
But I knew that ABA wasn’t what I wanted.
I found myself thinking, “I hate my job” almost daily, given that I had a 4-year-old client who bit me and covered me in snot to get out of tasks.
And besides, I had already fallen in love.
I had fallen in love with forensic psychology through my fascination with severe mental disorders and a tour I took of the forensics lab at the Chicago campus of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
At the time, however, the company I was working at was developing a partnership with a nearby university to help students earn the next level of their credential: the BCBA. So I was talked into earning my BCBA before pursuing the forensic psychology path I really wanted. After all, it was definitely the safe route. And like before, it was easy to stay on this track, so I did.
My plan then became to get my MA in ABA and then move to Chicago for forensic psychology, that way I’d have a career to pay for a Chicago lifestyle. But before I could graduate and pursue this plan, I met and fell in love with the man who is now my fiancé. He lived in LA at the time and his boss offered me a job in ABA. I would have not only my boyfriend but also a job upon arrival.
It seemed stupid to move out to Chicago, so I didn’t.
Choosing a Path in the Workforce
I’ve been working for a few years at this job, and I’m still there.
And guess what?
I hate my job.
I still do.
It turns out that what I disliked about the field of ABA while working in Miami just followed me out to LA. Not to mention the nightmare that my migraines have become.
So as you might imagine, I once again find myself thinking “I hate my job” and also thinking about going back to school and changing careers. I’m plagued by all the options and end up too scared to pursue anything at all.
I’m already on a psych track, should I get a PhD in a similar discipline to get me out of ABA?
I’ve always loved art and never been able to pursue it. How about a degree in digital media?
A programming job would offer some work-from-home flexibility which I desperately need due to my migraines.
I love math, maybe I should go back to school and study math to get out of the high-burnout service industry?
What if my health get worse and I can’t juggle work, migraines, and school? I’d have to drop out of the program!
As a result of this fear, I’ve submitted and subsequently withdrawn applications from nearly everything ranging from coding boot camps to MA degrees and even multiple PhDs.
Where am I now?
Nowadays… I’ve decided to pursue a more technical path through a degree in technology and self-learning computer code on the side.
Why did I choose technology and code?
- Computing is a constantly growing and evolving field that is becoming more and more relevant in our everyday lives.
- Because it’s a higher paying field than ABA and let’s be honest… LA is expensive!
- Due to my migraines, I need a quiet work environment with regular schedules and temperature control, none of which I can get in ABA, and all of which I can have in a government job.
- I want to have a family at some point and my current job doesn’t have a structure that would be able to give me health benefits, or enough in savings to be able to afford a child.
But at the end of the day, I chose the technology field because I love it.
TL;DR – Conclusion
I hope my story:
- not only inspires you to take the plunge and switch careers if you’re thinking “this job is killing me”,
- but also serves as a reminder to myself of my goals and needs when the times get tough as I pursue going back to school.
With all my love,