In May 2004, I walked across the stage and received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from DePauw University. I remember feeling relieved that I was finished, but I also felt so lost about my future. Like most of my friends, I hadn’t found a job, so I was moving home – to live with my parents and work for my father’s insurance agency.
The agency I managed was newly acquired and I was excited for the opportunity to introduce the small farm community to my family’s growing business. I loved the small town feel and laid back attitude. I took my dog to work every day and strutted around the sleepy town in my stiletto heels. I worked with two elderly women named Anabelle and Orabelle or, as I liked to called them, “The Belles” (that’s not a joke, it was really their names).
I headed off each morning with my canine sidekick and my newly found love for coffee. I spent the day listening to “The Belles” discuss who had been parked outside longer than the two hours allowed, who was working out at the fitness center across the street, and who was eating lunch in the bar (oh, the horror!). I enjoyed my days, however, it didn’t take me long to realize that cold calling was not my strong suit. I enjoyed meeting people and helping people, but when it was time to ask for the sale, I just couldn’t do it. Fortunately, for me, my boss understood.
When I got engaged and moved to Cleveland, OH – things changed. I looked for jobs in marketing, advertising, and public relations, but the only real interest I received was from insurance companies. I took a job selling insurance for a bank. After a few short weeks, I realized that insurance in the “real world” wasn’t anything close to insurance in small-town Indiana. I was miserable. I dreaded work every morning and walked out the door exactly at 5 o’clock each evening. I knew it was not what I was supposed to be doing with my life.
When I got married my in-laws gave my husband and me a session with a Career Psychologist. We took a series of personality tests and mailed them to the gentleman, then waited. I was skeptical, yet also desperate for some answers about my future. A month later we received a call, our tests had been assessed and the psychologist was ready to meet with us.
When I sat down with Dr. Lovell he gave me a concerned look and asked, “Kady, do you dread going to work every day?” I can’t remember how I answered him, but I remember that I was crying. He broke down my strengths and my weaknesses, and pretty much told me that I should NEVER, EVER sell insurance (or anything for that matter) again. My “calling”, as he put it, was in service – with a particular emphasis on children. My top three job matches were: Speech & Language Pathologist, Daycare Owner, and Elementary Teacher (best option for me!). A couple weeks later I quit my job and enrolled in a Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. In my first week of student teaching I called my husband as I pulled into the parking lot and said “I finally know what it feels like to be excited to go to work.”
While going back to school was difficult, it was the best decision I’ve ever made (aside from the husband & kids). I love teaching and I’m passionate about instilling a love for learning in my students. I encourage others, who may not feel fulfilled in their careers, to find their passion, too. I also encourage parents of teenagers to help their child discover his/her strengths before declaring a major.
If you, or someone you know, are looking for insight into a career change – I encourage you to do the following:
· Look into meeting with a Career Psychologist. Assessments can range from $150-$500. Visit the National Career Development Association for a counselor near you. www.ncda.org
· Go online and take a Myers-Briggs personality test. This test can give you more insight about your personality type and it can give you direction about careers that best suit you. (I am an INFP)
· Make connections with people on LinkedIn or other social media sites, who work in the field you are considering. Set up a time to talk and ask questions.
· If the career field you desire lends itself to “observation” – find out if you can take a morning to observe someone in that field. (I visited my best friend in her 3rd grade classroom right after my meeting with Dr. Lovell)
· Once you know your Myers-Briggs type, check out books at your local library that will give you more information about your personality. This will help you understand how you work with others and how you make decisions. (trust me, I learned a lot about myself, and my husband, by reading about our personality types!)
· Finally, don’t be afraid! My husband and I both went back to school at the same time – talk about scary! But, in the end, we are both so much happier in our careers and our lives!
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Category: Life Changes