That lack of defined purpose stuck with me for years. Even after graduating from college, I didn’t really have a plan or a clear goal for a career. I had flirted with the idea of law school but real life intervened there (one child developed a serious chronic illness and the marriage, which had limped along for years, finally died). Plus I was hampered by fears of failure and felt as though I was an impostor, thinking I could do these things. I was also really interested in counseling psychology but was even more afraid of going for a PhD in clinical psychology, in terms of time, money and effort. Still, that dream persisted.
In 2005, I’d finally worked up my courage to pursue the counseling degree. I’d done my research and found an M.S. program that was well respected in the area, and would prep me for getting licensed in both Kansas and Missouri. But I needed two more undergraduate courses: a stats class and one more psychology class so that spring I took the stats class and an intro to industrial/organizational psychology class.
Now keep in mind, I was still really scared about this career change. You don’t get rich by becoming a counselor or therapist, especially if all you have is an M.S. But I believed that a PhD wouldn’t be worth the time and money at this stage in my life – the juice just wouldn’t be worth the squeeze. I still thought maybe I was being presumptuous by thinking I could do any good in this field. Long story short, I let my fears derail the original plan and I ended up not going for the counseling degree. Instead, I got an M.S. in industrial/organizational psychology.
But that dream of being a counselor, that desire has never left me.
Here I am, nine years later with an M.S. in psychology, and I’ve enjoyed some of the work I’ve done. But I’ve realized the areas I’ve enjoyed are the ones that help people rather than organizations. It probably sounds like a subtle difference, but over the course of the last six years as I’ve practiced in this area, that difference has become bigger and bigger.
If you’re still reading, I’m almost done. All of this prefaces the changes that I’m in the process of making – I turned in my notice at my job last month. I’ve narrowed down the counseling programs to two choices. I’ve identified at least one area where I can volunteer that will get me moving toward the field I want to be in and frankly, I’m still scared to death. I'd love to know what you think about this change. Am I crazy to think I can do any good here? Should I just suck it up and return to corporate America? I'd like to know what you think.