I’ve been a quiet on the blogging front recently, as well as doing very little crafting. I’ve been preoccupied, and there is only so much room in my head. But after posting my latest post I felt a bit of an uplift and I remembered how good blogging makes me feel. So I thought I would use my blog as a way of thinking out my preoccupation. One aspect common to people who are extroverts is that they tend to think out loud. Whereas introverts think inside their heads and carefully weigh up what they want to say, extroverts just blurt out what comes into their heads and think it through as it comes out. This is why some extroverts (myself included) can sound a bit chaotic in their speech, going off on tangents and forgetting their initial points. This is also why extroverts often dominate discussions and conversations, not because they like the sounds of their own voices as some might think, but because they just can’t help themselves, it’s their way of thinking things through.

Anyway, I think this blog post might be a way for me to think out loud. It may not be of interest to you; I have tried to protect my readers from the boring minutiae of my life until now. But as well as helping me thinks things through, it may be that some of you have just the advice I need. So here goes:

I have not really enjoyed my job for a while now. I don’t want to go into details, suffice to say its a respectable job, requiring degree level education, medium well paid, but it just hasn’t been the job I thought I was signing up for. When on the odd occasion I did some sort of personal effectiveness course, like the MBTI type thing, I really enjoyed it. I would read the course material and think “I get this. I feel at home with this” and it wasn’t that I knew the stuff already, but I had the foundations with which to assimilate this information. It was so refreshing to be in a course and actually understand what was being said.

What this made me realise was how much I missed psychology. Now, I left University with a Masters degree swearing that I was never going to be a psychologist or work in a University again. I was fed up with the low priority that teaching and education had compared to the research side, which was, as far as I could see, a bunch of emotionally deficient academics fannying around in labs spending a lot of money doing research that appeared to have very little practical application. Whether or not that was the reality, I stopped all links with academia and psychology when I started my new job.

Now I have conceded that perhaps I might actually like to be psychologist. But what sort? Well, definitely not a Clinical Psychologist, I don’t want to work with clinical groups, it’s not my bag. In the same vein I don’t really want to be an Educational or Child Psychologist, given that I’m not a massive fan of OPC (other people’s children). I’m not sure I’d make a very good counsellor or psychotherapist, I’m not great at listening and not talking (see above).I’ve tried to think about what I like to do and what I like about psychology. I like problem solving; I like trying to come up with ideas; I like trying to help people, but not people with really serious problems; I like the psychology of what motivates people and what makes them happy. So, I have been toying with the idea of Occupational Psychology. There are two main roadblocks in this idea however. The first is I’m not really sure about the reality of Occ Psych as a career. I’ve tried to explore this by sending my CV to a couple of Occ Psych companies offering some admin services in return for some shadowing but had no reply. The second problem, and this is the big one, the training. I’d have to do an MSc in Occupational Psychology, which I’m not adverse to in theory.

I can do the course part-time and distance learning. But there are risks, and I’m not good at risk taking. The risks are:
– money, it will cost between 5 and 10k to do the course. I’d have to get a Career Development Loan, assuming I’d be able to get one and not laughed out of the bank
– time, it is going to take up all my spare time. They estimate around 10-12 hours a week which doesn’t sound much, except I have a job, a house, two young children, a blog and various other hobbies. The hobbies would take a hit. Very little blogging and crochet. There will be an impact on my family life too, DH would have to do more, I would have to sleep less!
– what if I don’t like it? I’ve been dipping into a few books on the subject and they are a little bit dry. Is that a sign that I won’t like it, or is it simply that text books read out of the academic context and without a clear goal just are a little dry?
– what if there is no job at the end of it? The main idea is to move on in my career. Sure a degree is a nice thing to do for fun, but it is costly fun.

So there is my dilemma. I’ve tried thinking of alternatives. One alternative is do nothing, stay in my job and crawl the slippery slope of middle management. Except the thought of doing that for the next 35 years makes me want to shoot myself a little bit. Doing this course would feel like an exit plan, and it might help me enjoy my job more without the crashing feeling that This Is It. I’ve tried thinking of other viable careers. I thought maybe FE teaching in Psychology, but again, it’s more training and I think the jobs and hard to come by. I thought about coaching. Now that really does interest me, but the course and training levy would be similar and then I’d have to try and set up my own business. That’s too scary for me right now, as the main breadwinner with 2 little ones. I’m not sure I could actually do it at this stage in life. The one thing I need is security, which is the main thing that keeps me in my current role.

I’m this close *holds up a finger and thumb* to making a decision. But I want answers, answers that I am realistically never going to get, will I like it, will it overwhelm me, will I be able to afford it, will I get a job at the end, will it be worth the money? You might remember a post I wrote on decision making. The book I was reading said that change is hard and is is normal to feel ambivalent about it. It said you only need to be 51% sure about your decision, i.e. it is just a little bit more right than wrong. I’d say I’m at about 49%. But I’m working on the last 2%.

Stay tuned for part two of the dilemma which is “which course should I take?” I bet you’re eagerly awaiting that one!

2 thoughts on “Stepping into the unknown

  1. You have a lot to think about. The main thing that stuck out for me is that you do not know that there would be a job at the end of it.

    Maybe it would help to visualise your ideal job then work backwards to see what training/experience etc you would need to be able to apply for it?

    On the other hand, you will never know unless you try.

  2. Oof, life decisions. Not easy to make but I can really see why being an Occ Psych would be immensely rewarding. I wouldn’t worry too much about the books being dry. I know nothing about the training, but I guess you’d be doing a lot of practical stuff alongside them and the practical stuff might help the books / theory come to life a bit. Re the MSc: Could you maybe call up / email one of the places offering a course and have a look round / see if you can chat to someone about what’s involved? At least then you’d know more about what you’re letting yourself in for…

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