Stepping into the unknown

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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!

Psychocraft. Or something.

Recently I have been having somewhat of a career crisis. My job is fairly respectable, but I just don’t love it. I like the idea of it more than I like doing it. It is actually the job I wanted to do before I left university, but the reality wasn’t quite all it is cracked up to be. I was always very career oriented and felt like I was destined for big things. Having children tempered that somewhat, but the biggest factor has been a loss of confidence in my abilities. I did really well at school and university. I’ve got a Masters degree you know, and I got a distinction. I don’t get to say that very often, much though I often want to when at work I am having to grapple with a task like trying to get 10 people in a meeting together.

 

I studied psychology at university, but by the end decided I didn’t want to be a psychologist. After 5 years I didn’t to want to spend any longer at university or in training, I wanted to be getting on with my career. Hmmm. That worked well didn’t it? It turns out actually maybe I do want to be a psychologist. Or a writer. Or a professional crafter. Therein lies my problem. I want to do so many things, I’m afraid to commit.

A few years ago I found a fantastic book in a charity shop. It was pure fate that I found this book, someone had obviously given it away because they didn’t rate it but for me it was like a window into my soul. One man’s trash and all that. The book was What Do I Do When I Want to Do Everything? The basic premise of the book is that some people just flit from one activity to another, never sticking long enough to go deep; never really feeling like they have achieved anything. The author, Barbara Sher, calls these people ‘scanners’, and lists several different reasons why these people behave like this such as fear of commitment, looking for their niche, or simply just a need for novelty. Scanners are sometimes derided as dilettantes (hello, have you seen the name of my blog?) but often they are their own harshest critics, feeling like they are failing or not achieving anything. To read this was amazing, the book described me to a tee and Barbara goes to great lengths to reassure scanners that they way they are is perfectly normal, and can be harnessed. One of the suggestions is to try and combine your passions which is what I have attempted to do.

 

I mentioned that I might actually want to be a psychologist. Well I am considering doing another MSc, this time in Occupational Psychology. I could do it part time and through distance learning, but even so, with two young children and a job I couldn’t do it for at least another year. I also want to give myself time to figure out whether it is what I really want to do.

 

In the meantime I am spending my time crafting (God, that is such a wanky word, I cringe every time I use it!). But much as I love making stuff, I don’t find it intellectually stimulating. Now before all you other crafters lynch me, I’m not saying its not difficult, there are some amazingly talented people out there. Crafting can be technically and physically challenging, but trying to understand a pattern isn’t the same as trying to understand why someone behaves in a certain way. So I’ve tried to put some psychology into my crafting, I’m combining my passions to create Psychraftology. Craftology. Psychcraftisvism. Psychocraft. I can work on the name.

 

I have three items to showcase for you as part of my new genre. The first is based on the Myers-Briggs Trait Inventory, or the MBTI. You may have heard or it and even taken it. The results come in the format of 4 letters, E or I, N or S, T or F, and J or P. If want more info about what these letters mean check out this website. The MBTI is a licensed test which can only be administered by licensed practitioners, but this website has an example if you want to find out you personality type. For the even keener reader I recommend the book Please Understand Me II, which is slightly different from the MBTI but maps directly onto it. For the record I am an ENFP, which incidentally is quite commons for scanners.

What's your type?

These are going to be badges, but for now they are just buttons. They are cross stitched MBTI types so you can wear your type with pride! The are cross stitched on 22 count aida which is used to cover self-cover buttons. You can remove the button bit, which I have done, and super glue a badge backing onto the button, which I haven’t done yet.

 

Exhibit number two my cross stitched interpretation of a Rorschach ink blot. “Why?” you might ask. Well, why the hell not.

Tell me what you see...

The Rorschach ink blot is traditional projection test used to assess personality characteristics and emotional function. Tell me what you see in mine and I will tell you if you are crazy or not.

 

The piece de resistance in my show and tell today is an embroidered diagram of the brain, showing labelled lobes and some well known areas of the brain. Broca’s area is involved in the production of speech, and Wenicke’s area in the understanding of it. The visual cortex is where we start to process the images that come from our retinas. They travel along the optic nerves to the back of our brain, the parietal lobe. The brain is a marvellous thing, and we should nurture it, look after it, and not take it for granted. There is an excellent documentary on BBC iPlayer about the brain. It’s available for about another week so watch it while you can.

My brain is pretty and full of flowers and lace.

For me, this embroidery is about using a craft that is more often used to depict twee little birds and flowers and fluffy things, and creating something with a little more depth. If you like this you might also like a brain colouring book. It certainly helped while away those hours studying neuropsychology at university.

 

So, these are the projects that I have been working on for the past couple of months. I’d really appreciate any comments you have. You are probably going to see more and more psychology related stuff, not just crafting, on here. Does that put you off? The main thrust of this blog has been crafting, and it is certainly easier to market a niche blog. I’m debating whether I should branch out into a new blog, but as someone pointed out, the USP for my blog has always been about doing lots of different things. Any comments will be welcomed.