Lustrous Careers with Big Downsides!
Loaded With Self Confidence But Less Reflection
When I was working with paralegals, one quarter of whom would go on to law school, I heard from a lawyer friend over lunch --- she looked straight into my eyes with complete sincerity: "I didn't know I would hate BEING a lawyer!
When people choose careers, they tend to choose them at the same time they are making head long leaps into romance. In Youth, we tend to be optimistic and full of ourselves. That is good and only natural. Our species survives because of the power of impulsive youth. The benefits are that youth gives us momentum to burst through the paralyzing "Bambi in the headlights" feeling that facing life can give you. And there are great benefits that come from being young, full of energy and loaded with self confidence. However, there are also warnings too.
"Blinders" Can Come From Falling In Love with a Person or a Career
Nature brings along with our Species the wonderful power to adapt. Adapting, after we make our impulsive choices is something that we do with very little self recrimination. It is something we do quite easily when we are young. Students in University joke about how many changes they make in their majors and minors. The period from 18 to the mid 20's is acknowledged as a time when we are "making up our minds" about lots of things. So, let us admit that its natural and kind of automatic to go through a lot of mind changing. However, we tend to put on "blinders" at this time that push us toward decisions. Whether it's pride, impulsiveness, a desire not to be wrong, an impatience with the whole process of choosing, or some personal issue, it is easy to ignore strong negative features of chosen careers, as we hurtle toward the inviting arms of your chosen profession.
Changing From Sociology To Business
She told her Father in her own kind of convoluted style: "I know I said I cared about people and alleviating their suffering, and I did not want to go into the profit-taking corporate world, but I have discovered that people's troubles tend to be stubborn and habitual and I can only impact their lives in minor ways. I have also discovered that I am more hard-driving and impatient, good qualities for business - for sociology, not so good." The Father shared his input. He told her that his opinion was that she was not made for Sociology, but restrained himself from making any comments in that regard. He said, "I felt if I made a negative comment, then that might push you toward what I did not think was right for you." She smiled. "You were probably right. Well, I came to my senses."
Why Not To Be A Lawyer
A female lawyer told her friend after about 5 years of practice in the world of litigation that she was seriously considering leaving the law. She said: "I knew I was smart enough to get through law school the first time around. I was confident that I could reason like an attorney, write well and organize myself for a busy legal life. However, I did not contemplate the temperamental aspects. Frankly, a couple of my female friends have said the same thing." She shared her feelings throughout the lunch. "I just did not consider how the world of litigation is just one battle after another. It's not that the arguments are that difficult. They are tediously the same. My temperament is just not comfortable with constant negative conflict. I know there are other areas of the law that are more predictable and less friction filled. Probate, Elder Law, Estates and Administration are different; but I feel like before I decided to go to law school and borrow tens of thousands of dollars, I failed to ask -- "Am I temperamentally suited for this?"
A Cop on TV Versus a Real Life Cop
There could not be a more romanticized career than Law Enforcement. TV Drama, movies and novels have a way of coloring that world with heroism, violence, tension and victory. As a Career Counselor in the Law, I counseled with many young people who had flirted with the law, and some ex law enforcement personnel. One young man put it this way: "Law enforcement is a lot of phone calls. Tons of procedure and rules. Much much sitting and waiting and sitting and waiting. Coffee, coffee and more coffee. Every move you make you have to ask whether it is within policy and according to law. I know that sounds naive, but I was so caught up with the dramatic part of it, I failed to realize that the largest percentage of law enforcement is not pulling your gun, or getting ready to pull your gun. It hit me hard when a 20 year guy said, I have never shot my gun."
A Minister Who Slept Through His Own Sermons
Those who are considering the Clergy know they must "hold hands" and counsel during times of grief. They know about "baptizing, marrying and burying" and tend to temperamentally pre-test themselves to the world which they are entering. However, many in the clergy do not consider whether they will be good at Homiletics, or Preaching. Some find that they fear the actual work of public speaking. Some find they run out of ideas. Some find the shortness of the act of preaching makes them wonder why they have to do it. Ironically, those who ARE good speakers and preachers tend to do very well as ministers, even though preaching and getting ready for it does not take that much time. This is an age old job description, but somehow those who are not good, comfortable or effective preachers end up in a state of discomfort. Preachers who don't enjoy the counseling aspect as much can also experience difficulties. However, since counseling involves a great deal of listening and empathy, the idea of being a dissatisfied counselor does not seem to be as impactful on career satisfaction. It is tough when you dislike preaching, or are not effective. It tends to affect your whole career. It can get you transferred a lot. Falling in love with the laity can bring sadness when they don't fall in love with you.
Teaching Has Lots of Homework
In a way, teaching suffers in an opposite way from the ministry. Everybody knows a teacher teaches. People say - "Hey you would make a good teacher. You are a good talker and you are patient and thorough as you speak." However, there is much homework as a teacher. It is not only all the work of grading students' homework, it is class preparation, administration, compliance and test and test creation. People joke about all the time teachers don't have to work, but seldom do people consider all the "sit down by yourself and just work hard" time. Teachers have great benefits these days and wonderful retirement packages. However, potential teachers do not ponder the low pay in the beginning, or if you are in the university atmosphere the struggle before tenure. Teaching is a mixed bag. They say it is a calling, like the ministry. When they talk about it being a calling what they are saying is this: "You better really want to be a teacher or a minister because there are some inherent negatives involved." This is another societal and social aspect. People who quite those fields tend to be looked at as being selfish, or not knowing themselves. This may cause a big "so what", but it is a factor. When people try to get out of the professions of the Clergy and Teaching, they tend to have a harder time re-situating themselves.
Johnny Get Your Gun, But Clean It First
The military as a career - meaning 20 years is a special choice. You have to be temperamentally suited for the world of the military. Whether, it's the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard. If you are contemplating this, really talk to several people about what its like. Talk to people who take orders, and give orders. Talk to people about rules and personal conduct, and how all of these things are impacted. Talk to people of low rank, talk to people of high rank. Get one of those people to try to talk you out of it. No, really. Sit down one of those you contact and request this: "Please try to talk me out of this choice." The effect that this will have is give you an experiential affect. If you come across a Drill Instructor, have him give you a real life verbal assault - the ones that DI's are famous for giving.
A Call For Self Understanding
Whatever the career you are contemplating, the negatives about the job can be discovered and considered. It is not a big mystery. It is largely the lack of focus and the dearth of self understanding that cause people to feel disoriented, miserable and poorly placed after they have gone into their chosen careers. These days, there are batteries of tests that you can take that will tell you how and why you will do well, or poorly in a given job choice. These tests are immensely helpful and save much time and weary self analysis; much of which can be in error. It is easy to fool ourselves about our selves. Tests and other people's opinions can be very helpful when it comes to these heavy and life-making decisions.
Romanticizing Not Advisable
The romance of a career choice dissipates quickly. The career shock that arises can have a deadening effect. Once the romance ends, it is much like a love relationship. Sometimes it can be so dizzying that people's performance on the job become negatively noticeable. Sometimes people can receive poor reviews, and even lose their jobs because this disenchantment cripples them. It is fine and wonderful to be in love with your career choice, but it is life preserving to put yourself through an exercise. Try to talk yourself out of the choice with all of the information you have. Arm yourself against yourself, and see how this exercise affects you. If you afraid to do this, then that very fear probably sends you a message all by itself.
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