When kids in high school or early college say "I am not sure what I want to do when I get out of school", I laugh, because I am 33 years old and I still can't wan't answer that questions. This particular topic has been messing with my mind on and off over the past 2.5 years (since Patrick was born) but has been overwhelming me recently.
Recently we have been having a lot of debate and discussion about moving to North Carolina (that is the next post), but it seems like we will be staying in put in New Jersey. Along with this decision is the decision that I really need to continue to work, being a stay at home mom is really not an option. The cost of living in New Jersey is high, the taxes are high, the amount of projects we have for our house is high... bottom line is that if we are living in New Jersey, we need to be a two income family. I am okay with this decision, I really know its best, but it leads me to question my current career.
You see, if I am going to work, I want it to be worth it. I want to make enough money that it is worth leaving my kids with a babysitter. I want to be motivated and feel like I am doing something that matters. I want to feel like I can grow and develop in a career. And if I am being honest, that is not how I feel right now. I feel over qualified in an under paid job. If I have to pay for a babysitter, I basically work for free. And I feel stuck in a rut, its the same thing over and over for the past 5 years.
When I first started working in the Chiropractic office, it was the perfect transition for me. Ryan was just about 7 months old, we had decided going back to teaching full time wasn't the best plan for our family, and I had my inlaws and parents to babysit regularly so I wasn't paying babysitting (which meant my low pay was okay). And it was new and exciting! I loved the people I worked with (I still do!) and it was a new position that I had to learn, and I loved being in the health and wellness word. Over the past years I have learned soooooooo much and made so many great connections. But now five years later, I am bored. I dread going to work every day, my pay checks are so low that I feel like I am going to work for nothing. I don't have my inlaws and my mom to babysit as consistently as I did before, so I have to pay for a lot of child care. It is just not working the same as it was when I started.
So I am back to the drawing bored, and it's stressing me out!
Do I stay at the chiropractic office because it is comfortable and flexible and routine right now, and stop worrying about my qualification and lack of pay increase? Or do I start to search for a new, better option. I think the stressful part is, I am not exactly sure what the next job would be.
I am lucky in the sense that I have a lot of qualifications. I have a business marketing and management degree, I have my license as a hairstylist, and I am a certified English and Business teacher. I have work experience in offices, fundraising, event planning, hair salons and bridal hair, teaching, assistant teaching, sales, childcare, and I can keep going. I have had a million jobs since I started working at 16 years old! I truly believe I could be good at whatever I decide to do. I am super hard working, motivated, determined, and stubborn (haha I won't let myself suck). But none of this helps me make a decision on what the next step is.
I have been trying to think logically- what are the most important aspects of a job that I am looking for-
1. Flexible schedule!!! Absolutely first thing. I still want to be mom first. So a job that allows me to go to school shows and take the kids to doctors appointments and put my kids priorities first is the most important factor.
2. Good pay. Like I said before, I have a lot of qualifications and skills. If I am going to leave my family to work, the pay needs to be worth the time away. We are blessed enough to not be scraping by, but my income allows the opportunity to do the things we want to do.
3. Something I enjoy doing. I don't really want to sit behind a desk doing paper work or answering phone calls. I want to be motivated, achieving goals, interacting with people. I want to be proud of what I do.
My husband's input is this- I have changed jobs a lot (its true, I can't be mad at him for pointing this out) so he wants me to try to find something that I am happy enough doing that I won't be having this same conversation in about 5 years. And I do agree with him, that will be ideal. But I don't think its a deal breaker. I personally don't really think its a "bad" thing that I have changed jobs a lot, or that I look for change every 5 years or so. Every time I have made a change it has been for the better, each new job has given me new motivations. Also each job has been perfectly suited for our family situation at that given time. I am not a career woman, trying to climb a corporate latter and making big raises by staying at a company for the long term. I think it is okay to seek change everyone once in a while as our family dynamic changes. And it might mean that by time I retire I will have had 20 jobs, but is that really an awful thing? I don't think so, but maybe I am missing something?
So that leads to my husbands next question- what is your passion? Find something you are passionate about and do it! Much easier said then done. I have tons of passions-
1. Healthy and wellness- especially with raising kids. Educating kids and families on real wellness.
2. Research junky on the nutrition (gut), brain, nervous system connection for kids with special needs, and also anything health related- clean water, removing toxins for homes, getting our bodies back to the way nature intended it to be.
3. Organizing. I know, weird, but I LOVE organizing.
4. Planning. I love planning parties and events and schedules. Goes along with my love for organizing.
5. The beach (can I make a career of going to the beach?)
6. Travel- I love to travel the world, and I love to plan and research travel.
7. Management- One of my favorite parts of my current job is the management aspect. Coordinating people and appointments and tasks and making sure everyone is doing what they are suppose to be doing.
8. Kids- I love being around them, teaching them, motivating them... I love working with kids.
9. Being in charge. Its part of my personality and something it is a negative trait, but I love being in control and making decision. Total type A personality.
10. In general I just like working with people. Helping them, communicating with them, working together.
I am sure there are plenty of other passions I have, but these are the ones that come to mind. Now is the hard part. I need to take the "must haves" list for a new job and combine it with some of these "passions" and hopefully find a great new career option. And to make it even better, hopefully I already have the schooling for whatever I want to do so it does not mean going back for another degree or certification.
In the past few months I have been tossing around a few ideas, some more attainable than others. But I haven't put my finger on a plan yet.
- Travel agent- I love everything about this, except for the inconsistent pay. I love travel, research, working with people.... but I don't know if I can give up my steady pay check for the irregular income of a travel agent.
-Building my Bridal Hair business enough that I can do only that. This is a great plan, and I love doing it. But I can't see myself committing to working every Saturday and most Sundays from March-October. That is our only family time. What happens when the kids are older and have weekends loaded with sports and activities. I love doing weddings, but I don't want to miss every single weekend for months at a time.
-Real estate agent- this option is a front runner right now. It is flexible, I can do as much or as little as I want with it. It's more money then travel agent. And it also ties in with one of our family goals to continue to invest in income properties and possibly flip homes. Yes I need to take the course and it will take some time to build up business (agents are a dime a dozen) but I think its an accomplishable goal.
- Occupational therapist- This is a dream job at this point, but also the most far fetched. I am attracted to it because its a true career that I can work part time. It involves working with kids. There are many career options within the field. I can use my health and wellness and passions for helping kids. But its a LOT of school. I would need to do a semester of pre-reqs and then apply and pray to get in, and then two years of full time school. That would be a stretch financially and logistically for our family.
-Some kind of social worker/therapist. This is very vague. But one of my favorite parts about my current job is working with the moms who come in and are lost and looking for help. Guiding them through health and wellness, giving recommendations for their kids, connecting through my past experiences... I just love being able to talk to other families help them the best I can. Maybe working with postpartum moms, or families going through the special needs process with their children. I really don't know.
- Or of course, stay where I am. It's comfortable, and flexible, and I can suck it up and just be happy there.
Okay longest, rambly blog post ever. I am done for now. Ahhhh I feel better just getting it all out of my head and onto paper. I think I will just pray a lot, see what happens with Mike's career in the immediate future, and hope that the answer just comes to me. I'll keep you posted!