Feeling overwhelmed with career change options
April 17, 2010 2:46 PM Subscribe
Training? Tech writing? Career counseling? Occupational therapy? Help!
After extensive research and career skills and interest inventories over a period of months, I've narrowed my search down for a job that fits the following criteria:
1. It fits my skills.
2. It won't bore me to tears.
3. It pays enough.
4. It doesn't require me to work long hours.
So, I have four candidates. In addition to the preceding four qualities, I'm looking for something I can do for an employer. I don't want to be self-employed. I've done that, and it's too stressful and time-consuming hunting for clients. I also need structure and I'm not so great at imposing that on myself.
I'm willing to go back to school if that's what it takes -- which it would for the last two. I already have teaching and training experience (though these are transferable skills from teaching intro English classes as a grad student, and my current job, which involves training census takers).
I have limited tech writing experience. One of the classes I taught in grad school was business/tech writing (two semesters of it). I also wrote classroom manuals for carpentry apprentices for two years as a contractor, interviewing subject matter experts and researching online and with books. My boss said I was one of his best writers. In addition, I edited self-study manuals for real estate licensees. However, I'm not a techie and I don't know how to write software manuals. I don't even know what FrameMaker and Visio are, except that they are programs that I understand most tech writers should know. I'm certainly willing to learn them and I expect most community colleges would offer them.
I have a friend trying to break into the training field too. She is a member of ASTD and is going to take me to their next meeting. She says there is a test that people can take to certify them for training.
There is no local chapter of STC in my community that I can find. I've heard it's not worth it anyway.
As far as being a career counselor or occupational therapist, these are the two things that keep coming up for me because of my interest in helping others. Social work also comes up but I have been warned away from that because of the stress level.
All these careers have good occupational outlooks. I have checked the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Right now it is daunting not knowing how to break into any of these fields, and tempting to just go back to school (yet again!) and get an internship and be placed into a job, if possible.
I feel overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated. I just don't want to be a bag person, and I have focused on pursuing artistic dreams and not building a lucrative career in one field. It's time to start that, and I am very late in life to be doing this. I just want a secure, long-term day job I don't hate that pays enough to live on and allows me to continue to pursue my arts in my spare time. I've had some really cool jobs, but they're always contract positions. I get the impression that my humanities-oriented skill set just isn't desirable in the capitalist marketplace and that I'm never going to be financially secure.
I'm also a "highly sensitive person" who is easily overwhelmed by external stimuli, especially when I am forced by society's expectations to be overly busy and to be more of a people person than I am. That was why I thought maybe I should become a counselor, because then I would only be dealing with one person at a time. However, I was told that even this would be too overwhelming for an artistic, introverted HSP.
Right now I feel like there is no place for me in this world and I'm going to die in poverty because I can't be a peppy little people person who can multitask. I don't think my culture values who I am or what I have to offer. It's hard to keep a positive attitude in the face of so much frustration, especially in the current economy.