My journey going through a career change in my 20s.
One thing I think is absolutely insane is that people are expected to make a decision about the rest of their lives when they’re still a teenager. Growing up, I feel like I didn’t really have much guidance as far as a career goes. I never had deep conversations about choosing a college major or a long-term career path. I never received any guidance about finances. I’ve always felt like I was left to my own devices, and that definitely had a huge impact on my mental health. I’ve always been pretty independent, to a fault. I try as hard as I can to figure things out by myself, and if I don’t grasp something immediately, I consider myself a failure, and I hate asking for help because I don’t want to be burden.
When I started enrolling in college classes, I did so independently. I applied for financial aid and got student loans (that I’ll be paying off until I die) because, again, no one had a talk with me about finances or the financial burden that student loans would take on me. And do you know how I chose my first college major? Well, I decided that I wanted to be a business major, but I didn’t see a generic business major on the list of potential majors, so I literally just chose the first major in the College of Business, which was accounting. I switched majors about a year later when I switched to sociology for a quarter, and then I switched to business management and entrepreneurship, which is what I graduated with. In my heart, I knew I wanted nothing to do with business, but I did it anyway because I figured it would be “easy” to get a job that would make me a decent amount of money (HA!).
So that’s how I made a decision about the rest of my life when I was a teenager – process of elimination. It’s no wonder that I’ve felt like I’ve had about twelve midlife crises, and I’m only 29. I wasn’t passionate about business. I didn’t want to start my own business. I didn’t want to be a manager of a business, but I was a business major because it seemed logical at the time.
Long story short, it felt like a waste of time.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved college. Like, loved. I had amazing friends. I made incredible memories. I went through lots of heartbreak and changes. I gained a lot of experience and made some great connections, but at the end of the day, I have a a bunch of student debt and a degree in a subject that I’m not even passionate about. Even so, I ended up using my degree while working five years at a hotel as a sales coordinator. I used the self-taught skills I gained as a blogger to help with my career, and then I used my career to make connections for my blog. It was a win-win, but then I started losing momentum. I wasn’t passionate about it. I wasn’t having fun with my job anymore, which is why I decided to work on a cruise ship.
For those that don’t know, I spent a little less than a year working with Carnival Cruise Lines. It was an amazing experience until I got to my second ship. You can read all of my cruise ship blog posts by clicking here.
When I moved to Ohio with Kyle, I tried to find a job semi-related to the work I was doing at the hotel, but I wasn’t finding anything in the area, and to be honest, I wasn’t sad about it. I ended up finding a job working at a daycare with children ages 3-5, and I absolutely fell in love with teaching. At the end of my 28th year, I stumbled into a job that I didn’t even really want at first, and I found something that I’m actually passionate about. Here are some of the feelings:
1) I’m excited because I found something that I actually care about doing. I love working with kids and teaching them. I remember coming home and telling Kyle that I taught the kids about planets, and when I asked them what planet we live on, they would say, “Earth!” I was so proud that something I taught them stuck with them.
2) I’m also discouraged because I know so many people who are teachers – people who I graduated high school and/or college with and even new friends in Ohio. They’ve been teaching for years, and I feel like I’m being left behind because I’m just now starting to pursue this new career.
I’ve had so many conversations with Kyle about how I feel like I’m late to the game. Most of the people I went to school with have been working at jobs they enjoy for years, and here I am, starting over. Meanwhile, I’m working with high schoolers or college students who are working toward their own goals, and I feel like I can’t even be a semblance of a role model for them because I’m in the midst of a quarter life crisis and a career change before I even turn 30.
In spite of the fact that I get lost in my discouragement, anxiety, and self-doubt more often than I should, I’m high-key proud of myself for actually going back to school and pursuing my teaching degree rather than being willing to work jobs that doing spark joy for me. I want to be passionate about what I’m doing, and even though my anxiety likes to tell me otherwise, I truly believe that I will be a great teacher someday.
If you’re stuck in a job that you aren’t happy with or aren’t passionate about, remember that it’s not too late. There’s always time to pursue the things that make you happy, and if there isn’t a job out there that will make you happy, create it. There are people out there who play video games or create YouTube videos for a living. As someone who has had a plethora of different jobs since the age of 15, I thought it’d be easy for me to figure out my passion, but it took me almost three decades, and I’m finally to the point where I’m excited about where my life was going. There have been multiple points where I thought I had no purpose, and I believed there was nothing I could do to make myself truly happy, but I feel truly blessed to be alive today and to pursue a dream I didn’t even know I had.
What is something you’d do if money wasn’t an issue?