When I think about my first career, I hear the quote from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade – the part when they’re choosing which cup to drink out of in the hopes of eternal life. “You have chosen…. poorly.”
My defense to this isn’t really a defense at all. It’s the child-like approach of “I just picked one. Whoops.” I equate my decision to become a therapist with a decision I might make as to which cookie I wanted after lunch. I picked an Oreo in 2003. Definitely should have had the snickerdoodle.
I enjoyed the Oreo. I don’t regret the work I put in to be a therapist. I learned a world of information about human thought and behavior and I got to participate in some really cool things that I’m positive I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise. Those things mattered to me a great deal. I enjoyed them or I hated them, but I learned from them.
I just learned a bit too slowly that I was definitely not happy being a therapist and probably would never be.
I hung in there for the magical amount of time my brain informed me would mean that I gave it a “fair shake” and could therefore walk away without ever wondering if it was too soon.
That magical amount of time was 10 years.
Tomorrow is my 2-year anniversary of working in “The Field” as it were. The job was/is a lifesaver in a lot of ways. For two years, I have gone to my job and have never dreaded the day. Private Ryan tells me every day, without fail, that he appreciates my contribution to his company. I get to do everything I am capable of and am connected to entire worlds I would (again) never have had the opportunity to experience otherwise. I love it there without question.
Being able to have space to think and consider the world is typically ill-advised for me. This year, obviously, has been that on steroids (as it has for essentially everyone, I assume). In January, prior to the complete insanity, I finally felt somewhat motivated to consider what a “second” career might look like.
The Field is a perfect job to begin something else simultaneously. It is physical, on my feet, interactive, and amazingly hilarious at times. It is the only balance to the path forward which, I assumed, would be incredibly sedentary, cognitive, solitary, and still amazingly hilarious at times, I hope.
I began my application to the University of Washington’s Master of Library and Information Sciences program in January. I abandoned it mid-pandemic. Then I had a partial lung collapse. And then I returned to it JUST in time to make the deadline. I wrote essays about Collective Impact and how information is the world’s actual currency. I wrote personal statements about my philosophy of knowledge organization and data curation – things about which I didn’t even know I had philosophies.
I received my acceptance letter Monday morning and will begin in the fall. I am in the online cohort, but we have special topic lectures where we “sit in” on live classrooms (if those classrooms have people in them). I am admitted with the idea (now) that my focus will be knowledge organization and public librarianship. (No, I will not be growing my hair out to put in a tight bun.) I am not locked into this – we are encouraged to choose our specified path as it goes – but I feel excited about something new for the first time in awhile.
Ironically, in 2003, I took an aptitude test as part of my career counseling course. Turns out those things might have some validity after all.
I am 100% supportive and excited for her, but I think she is only doing this so she can order a new hat. Wouldn’t put it past her.