Thoughts on Careers

04 Mar

For those that have just started following this blog, you might not know that I quit my well-paying managerial position a few months ago.  Since then, I have been working part-time at a public library, babysitting here and there, and looking forward to substitute teaching soon.  I have also been doing some thinking the past few weeks about careers and what the rest of my life might look like.

To give you a little background (for those who don’t know this already), I completed a bachelor of arts degree in geography in 2008, fully intending to complete my masters degree soon after, and possibly attain doctorate status as well.  For reasons that I still can’t explain or understand, I didn’t follow through on those plans.  I started my first full-time job a few months after I graduated, met my future husband not long after I started that job, and have now been married for a little over a year.

To get real and honest with y’all, I never thought I would end up here, in the life that I am in.  Of course I thought I would be married someday, but not at 25 years old, and I also assumed that not long after getting married, that I would start a family.  Unfortunately, that plan we had in our minds is not being played out, for reasons currently unknown to us.  All that to say, I might need an actual career after all.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Simply because I need some advice and/or perspective.  I want to hear your story.  I want to know why you chose the career you did, or why you might have ended up where you are without actually planning on it.  For those moms out there, what is your life like and would you choose something to add to your life career-wise?  Tell me your story, friends, so I can continue on with mine with confidence.


Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Married Life


17 responses to “Thoughts on Careers

  1. Annette

    March 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    As I keep telling my kids (who are in their early 20’s and in undergrad and grad school) – the path to happiness is NEVER straight. OK, maybe it’s SELDOM straight.

    Quickly-I always wanted to be a nurse, ended up getting a degree in Business Ed, taught MATH for 9 years, before getting my MLS. Add to that, two kids, a divorce, a remarriage… well, you get the idea. I must say, I’m happy as a lark now! It sometimes takes a while.

    Not that you shouldn’t THINK about what you want to do with your life, just don’t feel guilty if things don’t play out the way you planned. As Dori would say “Just Keep Swimming….”

    • literarywife

      March 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      Great advice and great insight, Annette. Thanks for sharing and I will keep that mantra in my head : )

  2. Brenna

    March 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I’m not a mom, nor am I a wife, but I am in a career that I didn’t plan on pursuing. I graduated from a Big Ten University with a degree in English literature in 2008 and wanted to work in publishing after I interned at a small publishing house. Upon graduation I moved to Manhattan to seek an editorial position at a publishing house. Because of the high cost of living in that city, I told myself if I didn’t have a job in publishing within one year I would move back to the midwest. One year later my credit card bill was enormous and I still didn’t have the dream job so I moved back home. Now I am working a corporate position at a real estate company. I don’t hate it, but it’s not the field I will stay in forever. I am thinking about going back to school for a graduate degree – in what I haven’t decided. I like what Annette said above, “just keep swimming”.

    • literarywife

      March 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      I can understand what you went through with finances. That is the biggest hindrance right now for us, something I need to have a firm grasp on. We can “just keep swimming” together. . .

  3. Kathleen

    March 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    After I got my first bachelor’s degree I realized that I had no idea what to do with it. I started working in a cancer clinic, and decided to go back to school for nursing. After four more years of school I became a nurse and found what I love doing. During nursing school I met my husband and we married the year I graduated. We tried to get pregnant for two years with much difficulty (miscarriage, surgeries) and then I finally became pregnant through an IUI last October and I’m now 20 weeks. I’m going to go back to work full-time after I have the baby because we also bought a house and depend on my income. But, I love what I do and consider it one of my callings so I wouldn’t want to give it up anyway.

    • Adriana

      June 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm

      I am so happy for you that you are having a baby! Congratulations!

      • literarywife

        June 10, 2011 at 6:00 am

        Oh, no, I’m not having a baby. I’m sorry, I see how you could have thought that, but unfortunately, I’m not pregnant.

  4. Kathy Maxwell

    March 4, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I graduated from University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Health Science (pre-vet major). My husband and I married the summer before the last semester of college. By choice, I didn’t even apply to vet school (which proved fortuitous because I later developed serious allergies to most animals!). After a short stint working in California, we moved to a small mining town in Arizona. For the next 18 years, I stayed home and raised our 4 children. I homeschooled them for about 12 years and worked in cub scouts, girl scouts, and served on the local library board. When the older children started going to college, I looked for a job and was hired to start a new charter school (all because of my college degree!). Over the next 11 years, I worked for 2 different charter schools (4 years total) before beginning my own (7 years total). The last 1 1/2 years, I’ve been working on a children’s book website, taking care of my parents, and enjoying grandchildren. I have enjoyed my life with no regrets!!!

  5. Melanie

    March 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Oh Amber, we are swimming along right on the very same stream….

    My life has not been working out anything like I planned, and a lot of the time I feel like I’m treading water trying to figure out the next move.

    I think you mostly know this story: I graduated with a degree in psych in 2008. I was 19 and I jumped straight into a PhD program in clinical psych. It was in North Dakota, which is a horrible place that nobody should ever have to live in. The faculty mostly treated us like crap. I started doubting that it was the career I wanted to get into when I saw the lifestyle the profs were leading. Basically, I could no longer imagine spending a minimum of 5 years in that school. I tried to take a leave of absence to sort out my thoughts, but it was told at the last minute that they were not going to allow that. I could stay or I could leave. I left.

    Since then, I’ve worked in a veterinary office, taken all but my last student teaching class for a teaching certificate that I decided I didn’t want, and then just started searching for jobs. I found a job working as a captionist in NY, near where I went to college, and near where some friends still live.

    I decided to take the job. It wasn’t really a career move, but it was something to try, something that would get me back in classes everyday so that maybe I would be exposed to a subject that would take me in another direction. I do really like the job for the most part, but I don’t love where I’m at location-wise. I miss California, and I miss my family.

    I’m not sure when I’ll be able to move back. Like so many others, finances are an issue. CA is expensive, and I don’t want to return until I can afford to live there outside of my parents’ house. Who knows when that will be?

    I’m not sure there was a moral to that story so much as the one already stated. We all take twists and turns and detours that deviate from the path we thought stretched out before us. I’m not sure that there’s any good way to predict where those will lead, but if anybody figured it out, I’d be glad to hear about it!

  6. Melanie

    March 4, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    To follow up my novella, another briefer story that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I have gotten a decent share of signed books in the past year. Many of them come with inscriptions that say things like “Dream big!” and “Make your dreams come true” and the like. It always makes me wonder, what does that mean when you don’t know what your dreams are yet?

  7. Amy Hervey

    March 5, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Well, I’m not ambitious in the least, so I don’t have much to offer. Oh, and I don’t have a career with a college degree, nor do I care for one. But why all the “just keep swimming?” Why can’t we just enjoy where we are and let the natural flow of things (which I believe is the Lord) lead us? Why does everyone feel they have to “be something” or “dream big?” What’s wrong with where you are RIGHT now?

    I love my life. My husband and I set up a plan before we were married that we would never count on my income for bills or anything like that. So when we first got married, we lived on one income (his) and put all mine in savings. When we left Wichita to move into a duplex, we paid cash for 4 brand new appliances because of saving my income.

    12 years later, I’m a stay at home mom to 4 kids. I FIRMLY believe that it’s our job (me and my husband) to raise our kids and our job ONLY. I mean, really, is it too much to ask of me to put my career on hold (if I wanted one) for about 10 or so years to train my kids the way the Lord would want them to go? What’s more noble than to mold my kids to be better Christians, better citizens, better humans–future leaders, future parents, etc? I WILL not count on a babysitter or the Public School for that. No way!

    So, I guess being a mom is my career. And I wouldn’t change that for the world. (Although sometimes I wish I got paid for it….)

  8. Tiffany

    March 6, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I am definitely not where I thought I would end up, but I’m much happier with the plans God had for me 🙂

    After graduating with a degree in Marketing…I ended up with a job in Accounting. During that job, we decided to start our little family…got pregnant & miscarried…and didn’t get pregnant again. My job tasks changed a bit & didn’t keep me busy throughout my day, which allowed me a lot of free-thinking time, which wasn’t good. All my mind could focus on was the fact that we weren’t getting pregnant & I began to despise my job.

    I found a new job as a Systems Analyst & really loved what I did daily. We began meeting with a fertility specialist during this time & after 3 1/2 years of various treatments/surgeries/etc, we found ourselves pregnant (to the surprise of our doctors…without doing anything).

    Although I had always planned to work after having kids, during the 3 1/2 years of trying, I realized just how important it was to both & Aaron & I that one of us be home to raise our kids…so we refinanced our house & started living on just his paycheck to see if we could make it work. After baby, I provided part-time childcare to one other child to help supplement his income. We found that we could live on a lot less & actually be happier 🙂

    Now…4 beautiful little miracles later…I wouldn’t trade my current situation for any job in the world! It’s definitely a harder job to be a stay at home mom than I anticipated, but the rewards are endless & priceless!

    I dabble in my Usborne books business & do the bookwork for a friend’s business, but beyond that, I have no desire to do anything career-wise at this point. I consider my kiddos my career & try to focus on building a strong foundation in them before they head off to school (all too soon….)

    p.s. I know what a struggle it is when His plans do not playout as we hope…especially when starting a family…but in hindsight, I would not change all that we went through in our journey. During that time, our relationship & faith grew even stronger & it allowed us to realize how precious and what a gift pregnancy/parenting is. If we had not gone through that…I’m afraid I would have went right back to work & missed all the wonderful memories & experiences that I have been so blessed with these past 5 years. Will be praying for you two!!!

    • literarywife

      March 7, 2011 at 12:16 am

      Tiffany, thank you for sharing. My husband and I cried as we read your story because it is one that we can admire. Thank you for being real and honest and vulnerable.

  9. Sara

    March 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I quit my corporate job of ten years after my first child was born. Went back to school full time to get my PhD. As tough as the PhD track is, it seems to me to be more compatible with motherhood than corporate life. I had dreamed of going back to school, so I went for it. I have 2 children now and am getting ready to take exams soon. Academically, the representation of maternity is one of my fields of interest.

    • literarywife

      March 9, 2011 at 9:51 am

      Thanks for sharing, Sara. Sounds like you don’t regret the decisions you have made career-wise.

  10. Sara

    March 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    PS: I wish I could type out the whole story but I’m typing on my phone right now- my blog has more detail if you are interested. The very first post I wrote was “why I quit my job;” basically, I felt like God led me to quit. I’m so glad I did!

  11. Susan Smith

    March 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Well, interestingly enough, I have found myself both telling my story and reflecting on my own career recently. I ended up here by accident, both in the library and in my current position. I was sure when I was in high school I wanted to be a journalist, an engineer or a dancer (a dancing engineer? A engineering writer?) All that being said, my first semester of college I realized–I wasn’t as good a dancer as I thought, calculus was making me miserable, and English was where my heart was. So I became an English major. Part of the way through my freshman year, my roommate got a job working for the school of library and information studies. She loved it and came back one day to tell me that a professor was looking to hire a student worker. So not sure why, but I applied. This was the first time I realized (*even though I had been using libraries my whole life*) that there was a professional degree that would lead to a career. I then finished my B.A. as fast as I could and started my masters. I applied to several schools and ended up staying where I was because they offered me a fellowship to pay for the degree. I focused on youth services and took the courses to become school media certified even though I didn’t have a teaching certificate, thinking to stay in Oklahoma and become a school librarian. Well, got my degree and the jobs were just south, in the Dallas/Texas area. Somehow I got the first job I interviewed for, in youth services, and I took it. Then I meet my husband, who lived fairly far away from there, and moved to another library in a similar position. Then a whole lot of stuff happened in the almost 9 years I was there (including trading youth for teen and then adult services) , before I moved to another library to adult services/collection development, and then my husband took a job in Florida where I was offered the 2nd job I interviewed for on the strength of a phone interview. Currently then I am an academic librarian at a small university in SWFL, and am participating in a state wide library leadership program which has given me time to pause and reflect on where I am and where I want to be (I don’t know right now, so I am in a waiting state of mind–HARD!)

    A few years into my library career, I decided to go back for a PhD. (I had known from my first college graduation and first job with the library school professor I wanted to do this, but the motivator was that my GRE scores were about to expire…) I looked around, 2 library schools near me, but decided that their focus was too narrow for me. A blurb in the paper about a local university’s MPA program caught my husband’s eye and he convinced me to talk to them about a PhD. I loved the professors, the school, the classes, the students, and although it took me 8 years I was never more proud of anything I have done. And it has helped me in my accidental move to the academic world…

    Sorry to go on so long…I can see a little of me in you 🙂


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