Pondering a career change (again)

Remember four years ago when I started taking classes to become a nurse? I’ve been thinking about that again. At the time, Genevieve had just died and I was losing my newspaper job, and I was lost about what to do next. I stopped after a semester for a bunch of reasons. I wanted to do some freelance writing, and I also wanted to keep my life simple for the day when we brought home a new baby, if we were ever so lucky.

I’ve been freelancing for nearly four years now. Some of the work is interesting, and some I take merely to keep busy. I don’t see freelancing as a long-term career option, for several reasons, but it has been good while Henry has been little.

For the past year, I’ve been trying to figure out what comes next. You might have heard that journalism isn’t a booming field. I spent last summer and fall job hunting, and I found very few jobs that I was both qualified for and would want. Mostly, I applied for communications or content jobs. Those jobs tended to involve a lot of marketing and social media strategy, and inevitably, I was passed over for people with a marketing background. The thing is that I wasn’t that sad to be passed over.

If I stay in communications, I expect that I will always be trying to eke out a living. It’s not about the money, though I would like to be paid a respectable salary. It’s about the constant threat of job loss. And the feeling that I will have to settle for jobs that aren’t the right fit. I don’t want to spend the next 30 years wishing that I had tried sooner to change careers.

The thought of changing careers is kind of like the thought of changing husbands. (Don’t worry, Greg, not planning to change husbands.) In theory, I could be happy in a different career, but it’s hard to imagine because I feel as though journalism is so much a part of me. Can a person be passionate about more than one career? And how does she find that new career? I’m realizing all over again how crazy it is that we’re expected to choose a career at 19 or 20. I can’t even choose one now!

I know quite a few people who have gone back to grad school but not many who have done it while raising kids. I’m still interested in science and health, but it’s daunting to think about tackling years of schooling. I’m mulling over all of this and looking at school requirements and hoping that someone with more wisdom can help me figure this out.

So, who else has changed careers? Or, who else wants to change careers?

3 thoughts on “Pondering a career change (again)

  1. This is a daunting thought, especially for someone like me, who doesn’t enjoy uncertainty. The thing about nursing school is that it seems like such a specific path (I go to nursing school therefore I become a nurse), but I would imagine that a background in communications and nursing could actually open up some really fascinating opportunities for you in healthcare. Working as a patient liaison or advocate, doing particular kinds of research and writing about healthcare, and or working as a nurse with a sweet schedule (maybe even part time) while you take the freelance writing gigs you really care about.

    As much as I love my husband, I don’t subscribe to the idea of soul mates, and I certainly don’t think there’s one career path for everyone. I love my job (most of the time) and I think it really suits my personality, but I think I could have enjoyed practicing law (certain areas of it anyway) or entering a different area of academia, or studying psychology… Anyway, I love the idea of starting fresh.

    It certainly wouldn’t be easy to go to school while raising kids, but I can’t really imagine that it would be something you’d regret–or something that you couldn’t redirect after a semester if you decided that it really wasn’t for you.

  2. I haven’t changed careers, I went “back” to nursing school at 25 after using my private school education making $8/hr at a catering company for a couple years. But, I will say that nursing school will be really lousy and nursing itself is really great. There are lots of full or part time opportunities and I’ve found it to be flexible for prioritizing family. I’m not sure what the options are in your area but the second bachelors degree BSN programs seem to be growing and it is an intense 1-2 years with a nice reward at the end. Good luck!

  3. I started a Ph.D. and finished up my classes just before giving birth to my first child, so I studied for doctoral exams with a baby. I defended my proposal just before I started showing with my second baby. So now I’m writing a dissertation with two small children. I taught one class a semester until I had my second baby. I am struggling for time right now because I had some other professional obligations to fulfill, but my last set deadline is coming up and I hope to finish next May. So, it’s doable, but stressful and I sometimes feel like I’m not as cheery as I should be for my kids. I feel lots of pressure even though I write on my own time. I don’t know what it’s like to take classes while one has children, but I am a neurotic Type-A personality that felt as though all time outside of class should be spent studying but having children changed all that for me, so if I were to take a class, I would approach it with more distance now. How many hours per semester are you looking at? If you can take classes while the kids are in school, then study at night, that would be pretty sweet.

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