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NWR: Why didn't I figure this out sooner?

edited February 2015 in Chit Chat
Today, as I'm bogged down in paperwork and checking charts to make sure they meet state standards and writing notes to document what little progress I make with clients, I got really, really depressed. I don't think I want to be a therapist anymore. I'm 85% sure of this. But now what the hell do I do?

I have a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marriage and family therapy. Could it get ANY more specialized?

I'm seriously lost and feeling crappy right now. I don't make a lot of money so it's not like I would be taking a pay cut if I changed careers, but I just don't know what I can do. And I don't know why I didn't decide this sooner, like before I spent tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. 

I've been feeling this way for a little while, and FI thinks it's just because most days I'm not doing actual therapy, instead I'm acting as a social worker and trying to get families to utilize resources that they refuse to use, and it's so draining, but even for the people I feel like I do therapy with, my heart just isn't in it. 

I'm not sure what I'm looking for here. How do I know where to go next? I can't afford to go back to school and I refuse to take out more student loans. I feel like I'm going to be stuck in this miserable job at this miserable agency forever. 

Also, why can't we have wine at work?
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Re: NWR: Why didn't I figure this out sooner?

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    KahlylaKahlyla member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment Name Dropper
    edited February 2015
    That is a pretty specialized degree. But if you're serious about moving on, I'd bet you have a lot of skills that would be transferable to another field. Just off the top of my head, I'm thinking of facilitating things like strategic planning, SWOT analyses, or development-oriented retreats for businesses or non-profit organizations. You could give yourself a bit of a course on strategic planning and then use your niche interpersonal skills to guide others through it. Or perhaps working in mediation or conflict resolution in the corporate sector?

    In the meantime, yes, ALL the wine. :)
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    That's exactly what I came to say! My company currently has three "change management" consultants on payroll, and what they do would be a great fit for your skills in the corporate world. It's much less high stakes in that, while the success of businesses is on the line, it's not people's personal health and happiness so much so it's less emotionally taxing.

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    Both of you guys mentioned things I had never thought about before, so THANK YOU!

    The next may seem like a stupid question, but can I just send my resume out to companies in hopes that they're looking for something like this? Or should I just research jobs available in these kinds of fields? I feel really stupid asking that, but this is the first time I haven't known exactly what kind of job I was looking for/qualified for. 
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    I can definitely sympathize with that feeling, but I got stuck because I thought my degrees were useless. My undergrad degrees are in psych, English literature, and writing. What the hell job do I get with that? After college I worked in retail, customer service, waitressed, bar-tended, did free-lance writing, got commissioned for paintings, the most random stuff, none of which was a career for me because I didn't feel like I was good at any of it or going anywhere. 

    But I thought I didn't have many options because of my majors. I went to a recruiter, who got me into a huge international company in an industry I didn't even really know about, and I actually got hired in clinical research. I had 0 experience with that. But because I had majored in writing, the department head was interested in me for my ability to compile reports in a readable way. The rest, I learned on the job. 

    I get the frustration, and I get that it can be really depressing and scary to feel like you don't know where you're going, but that doesn't mean that you have nowhere to go. 

    There could be jobs that are somewhat related to what you're doing now, that you would like way more. There could be jobs that aren't very related but the company is willing to teach you. The opportunity is definitely out there. If you feel really stuck, maybe consider talking to some head hunters. 
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    We hired ours on contract and they work for two different small consulting companies. That's probably where I'd start researching, rather than starting your own business from scratch with no real HR/change/strategic planning background. I know one of the consultants we have was hired from a background in fashion of all things - she was doing, like, "image" consulting and personal shopping - but this other guy, the entrepreneur who started his own consulting firm was ready to expand and thought she could be trained on the business end of things and now they're a small company with a few employees. I don't know a lot about this, obviously, but hopefully that's a small help.

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    maybe look into things in HR, with either recruiting or personnel development
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    Another fellow psych degree here! I went into HR/Recruiting.  Something in learning/development could be interesting where you're doing coaching and working with employees on their development.

    Another area, which you'd probably have to start out more entry level would be employee/associate relations.  Involves a lot of conflict mediation, investigations, interviewing, coaching and working with leaders.
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    I definitely recommend reaching out to a recruiter (if you know someone who has used one, this is the best way to connect, I think). I got my current position using a recruiting firm, and it was incredible to watch them work--they would talk to you, look at your resume, and then rattle of 16 things you have skills and experience in that you had NO IDEA you were good at. They know the vocabulary, and they know what companies are actually looking for (vs. what they put in their terrible job descriptions online. My god, everyone who has a job MUST be a detail-oriented multitasking self-starter!).

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    This baby knows exactly how I feel
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    I understand how you feel - I always thought I basically needed to design my own degree and it was by chance that I stumbled on exactly what I was looking for, and the entire program really opened my eyes to a lot of career options I'd never thought of before. My degree is in Community Economic and Social Development, by the way. <--- Clicky So at first people are like... eh? But it can lead to careers like:
    • Program Officer
    • Community Development Officer
    • Research Assistant
    • Volunteer Coordinator
    • Consultant
    • Youth Coordinator
    • Social Entrepreneur
    • Community Researcher/Facilitator
    • Employment Counsellor
    • Housing Development Officer
    • Community Organizer
    • Social Services Administrator
    • Legal Advocacy Worker
    • Job Developer
    • Case Worker
    • Foundation Manager
    • Public Relations and Communications Officer
    • Environmental Stewardship Coordinator
    • Green Energy Consultant
    • Policy Analyst
    I realize your field is different but I think there was some overlap in my undergrad and a lot of my classmates were in the Social Work sphere, so I just wanted to give you an idea of the kind of scope there might be.

    So that program offers a certificate (in addition to degrees) as well as something called the Spring Institute, which is literally just one course taught in an intensive way over the course of a week designed for professional development. I'm just thinking that other schools may offer similar programs in any number of fields, whereby you could take a week and build up a specific skill set and then be able to put it on a resume. Perhaps looking into "Professional Development Intensives" or similar would lead you to something. :)
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    Don't feel stuck- there are so many options for you. My ex's sister majored in dance with a minor in archeology. We were all like wtf are you going to do with that? And you know what- she makes a shit load doing recruiting for a big college. They said she had an amazing, bubbly personality and that makes her ideal for talking to prospective students all day. She loves it.

    One of my best friend's majored in psych. She's now an executive assistant at a law firm scheduling all the meetings and travel, and she makes a shit load too. Plenty of options besides the great ones PP have given.

                                                                     

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    edited February 2015
    All of this sounds really great. I definitely need a change! I feel like the past 5 years have been nothing but get through school, finish your degrees, get a job, get your hours, get licensed, and now it's done and that feeling that's always been slowly 'brewing' deep down is that I really don't want to do this. Sure, there are days where my job is rewarding and I like that I helped someone see things in a new light, but overall I feel like this job is draining my soul, and I'm gonna go broke buying wine if I don't figure something else out. I'm definitely going to research recruiters (is that like a staffing agency? There's tons of those where I live but I'm not 100% sure how they work) and consulting agencies. I'm willing to take something entry level as long as I don't take a cut in pay, which shouldn't be an issue since I already make so little. 

    You guys have been amazing! If anyone else has any thoughts of ideas I'm open to more!
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    KatieinBklnKatieinBkln member
    First Answer First Comment First Anniversary 5 Love Its
    edited February 2015
    All of this sounds really great. I definitely need a change! I feel like the past 5 years have been nothing but get through school, finish your degrees, get a job, get your hours, get licensed, and now it's done and that feeling that's always been slowly 'brewing' deep down is that I really don't want to do this. Sure, there are days where my job is rewarding and I like that I helped someone see things in a new light, but overall I feel like this job is draining my soul, and I'm gonna go broke buying wine if I don't figure something else out. I'm definitely going to research recruiters (is that like a staffing agency? There's tons of those where I live but I'm not 100% sure how they work) and consulting agencies. I'm willing to take something entry level as long as I don't take a cut in pay, which shouldn't be an issue since I already make so little. 

    You guys have been amazing! If anyone else has any thoughts of ideas I'm open to more!
    This is a good attitude to have, but not necessarily one you want to say out loud. You'd be surprised what "level" you can be placed at by simply asking for it. A company won't hesitate to tell you you have to start at the bottom, but they may put you somewhere closer to where you would belong in terms of experience if you don't sell yourself short.
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    This baby knows exactly how I feel
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    I feel the same way as you seem to, OP. It just keeps getting worse and I feel more and more stuck as time goes by, but I really don't know what else I can do with my degrees. This is an inspiring thread. Perhaps there are more options for both of us! Good luck!
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    I should also mention that I have a modern languages and literature degree, Spanish and French (and didn't even finish the requirements for my translation certificate...) and I am working as an executive assistant for a company with zero international involvement and no need for anyone trilingual. Granted, I only have a bachelor's, but a good EA can make pretty good money, right up into six figures, with the right company/executives, and all they generally want is excellent oral and written communication skills (which is how I sold my degree in my interview), attention to detail (trite as that is), and better-than-average organizational abilities. My job asked for a bachelor's degree and a few years of office experience in any capacity. Maybe it's something to think about too?

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    Pps have given a lot of great advice.  I just wanted to say good luck and don't be afraid to pursue something different! 


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    As someone with a master's in counseling who realized during my internship that I didn't like sitting in an office all day doing therapy, I feel you. The PPs have given some good suggestions (some that I might steal for myself!), but I wanted to give a couple more if you want to stay in a similar area. Acaemic advising and career/vocational counseling at some larger universities are potential paths. I work at a private therapeutic day school as part of their clinical staff and since it is a private school, I don't have to have a specific school counseling certification...I'm really in a made up position where I work with kids and parents, but I also work a lot with teachers helping them understand and work with the various diagnoses of the students. That job I found through a child welfare agency so you just never know what's out there! 

    Good luck! 
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    As someone with a master's in counseling who realized during my internship that I didn't like sitting in an office all day doing therapy, I feel you. The PPs have given some good suggestions (some that I might steal for myself!), but I wanted to give a couple more if you want to stay in a similar area. Acaemic advising and career/vocational counseling at some larger universities are potential paths. I work at a private therapeutic day school as part of their clinical staff and since it is a private school, I don't have to have a specific school counseling certification...I'm really in a made up position where I work with kids and parents, but I also work a lot with teachers helping them understand and work with the various diagnoses of the students. That job I found through a child welfare agency so you just never know what's out there! 

    Good luck! 
    To the bolded: Girrrl, I've applied for like 5 different positions doing this at the local university (where I got my BA) and I can't even get an interview!! My feelings are really hurt by this lol 
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    Check out online Universities.  A former teammate has the same 2 degrees you have and she facilitates online undergrads classes for our Province's online University.  I believe she's technically called a tutor as she doesn't have a Phd, but she acts as Professor for the classes.  She works from home too, so there is some flexibility to her position.  But it's just a suggestion based on what someone I know does.  

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    larrygagalarrygaga member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited February 2015
    OKAY I'm an MSW working on the L and I hear you on the burnout. I am a geriatric therapist with some grief counseling but most of the time I'm breaking up fights between our schizophrenics and making sure our horrible doctors don't fuck up the anti-psychotics. They like to play with the dosages.

    I print out the resources in loads and pass them over, and then say look at this later lets talk now. It's worth it to put them all in an organized word document and have them printed at the ready. You gotta get good at cutting people off their train of thought (politely) and redirecting them. I'm burnt out because the state is constantly in our facility (we often get the lowest of the low nurses because of what we pay) and my charting got really shitty in January, so now I'm going to get questioned on everything I wrote. I get so worried that I'm going to get laid off that I get frustrated and it shows in my work. 

    It's a thankless career full of ungrateful buttheads that you love anyway. I feel u, lets therpize each other. Maybe it's time for some self-care and a change of scenery? 
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    larrygaga said:
    OKAY I'm an MSW working on the L and I hear you on the burnout. I am a geriatric therapist with some grief counseling but most of the time I'm breaking up fights between our schizophrenics and making sure our horrible doctors don't fuck up the anti-psychotics. They like to play with the dosages.

    I print out the resources in loads and pass them over, and then say look at this later lets talk now. It's worth it to put them all in an organized word document and have them printed at the ready. You gotta get good at cutting people off their train of thought (politely) and redirecting them. I'm burnt out because the state is constantly in our facility (we often get the lowest of the low nurses because of what we pay) and my charting got really shitty in January, so now I'm going to get questioned on everything I wrote. I get so worried that I'm going to get laid off that I get frustrated and it shows in my work. 

    It's a thankless career full of ungrateful buttheads that you love anyway. I feel u, lets therpize each other. Maybe it's time for some self-care and a change of scenery? 
    It's definitely time for this. Now I'm kicking myself for agreeing to go to a work conference this weekend out of town, when all I want to do is just veg on my couch and potentially look for other jobs.
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    STARMOON44STARMOON44 member
    First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited February 2015
    What about therapy in a different setting? It sounds like a big part of the struggle is lack of resources/your client base. Would your qualifications let you work as a therapist in private practice, in a school, as a social worker in a hospital, nursing home, etc.?

    A work conference might have some good networking opportunities?
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    What about therapy in a different setting? It sounds like a big part of the struggle is lack of resources/your client base. Would your qualifications let you work as a therapist in private practice, in a school, as a social worker in a hospital, nursing home, etc.? A work conference might have some good networking opportunities?
    The bolded is what I'm hoping for, so that this conference isn't a giant waste of time for me. With my license I can work in any setting, sometimes even as a social worker as long as the people hiring aren't ignorant to the fact that I'm trained and qualified to do the exact same thing as a social worker. Some places are like NO YOU MUST HAVE A DEGREE IN SOCIAL WORK!!!! But that is still an option at other places. 
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