Trying to find the right career path... - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-29-2011, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying to decide what I am going to major in for my BA, and after that I plan to go on to get a Masters degree. I want my career to be a people-focused one...I want to help people. In the past, I've worked with the elderly and with people with developmental/physical disabilities and loved it. I need consistency and yet variety...I like knowing what I am going to be doing ahead of time each day, but change from week to week or month to month would be nice too, as long as I know the change is coming :) I really don't want to work more than 40ish hours a week because of my family.

 

I thought about becoming a social worker, but I need benefits and a decent salary...I want to own a house (on the West coast or in the Northeast US so not low cost of living places), be able to pay for a housekeeper (I HATE CLEANING!) and quality childcare, and it seems even with a Masters degree the salary is paltry. 

 

I love to read, research, write, and debate (and am passionate about social issues, injustice, politics, etc)...this has me thinking about law school. However, I'm worried that the long hours of an attorney just couldn't work for me with the kind of family life I desire. I want to come home in the evenings and enjoy my kid (hopefully more kids and a spouse at some point) and have time to myself, too, as I think without that I will burn out quickly.

 

I have considered becoming a special education teacher, but I have worked in childcare for all of my adult life and know that the hardest part about working with kids is working with their PARENTS. Plus, the job market for teachers doesn't seem to be so great either.

 

Any thoughts on any of those career paths, or suggestions for others?

 

 


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Old 09-30-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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You are right -- you would not make enough as a social worker, though you could do the part-time thing. If you had a second income to rely on, social work might work, but if you need/want to be self-reliant, then something else might be better. You are also right that law is incompatible with family balance -- all the feedback I have ever seen has been that there is no part-time or family balance for attorneys. You pretty much have to work 40-80 hours per week.

 

I know you talked about writing, research, and debate, those are very analytical skills. My strengths are writing and research as well. But are you interested in being a nurse at all? I think that is one of the most flexible options out there. You can work as many hours as you want,  your skills are always in demand, and you are helping people a ton. You can take time out if you want to spend time with your baby/kids, and you can always get back in pretty easily. Out of the people I know, women with this situation seem particularly well-positioned to have the flexibility they crave around children. You could always focus on the more academic track in nursing, if you wanted to use your writing, research, and debate skills.

 

Kudos to you for thinking this through in advance!! I know I was very career-focused, and assumed I would work full-time after kids, since that's what the career women around me were doing. Turns out, I really like being with my kids! Still trying to figure out how to get the right balance, but for me I think that would be about 20 hours a week. That is the same amount many of my working friends seem to be would be the right balance as well.

 

Good luck!


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Old 09-30-2011, 08:59 AM
 
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Have you thought about healthcare related fields?  Physician assistants and nurse practitioners make a good salary and depending on what your interests are you could get involved in education or research.  Plus certain specialties may give you more flexibility to be part time (though you may make a trade off with benefits or nights shifts etc).


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Old 10-03-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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I'm currently completing prereqs to prepare for applying to a Masters program in Occupational therapy. I spent a lot of time evaluating the pros and cons of going back for a masters and having it be worth it financially. My current bachelors isn't very marketable. I like that the field of OT has many different areas of emphasis and so I feel that there should be a niche somewhere that I'll fit into and enjoy.

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Old 10-03-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beebalmmama View Post

I'm currently completing prereqs to prepare for applying to a Masters program in Occupational therapy. I spent a lot of time evaluating the pros and cons of going back for a masters and having it be worth it financially. My current bachelors isn't very marketable. I like that the field of OT has many different areas of emphasis and so I feel that there should be a niche somewhere that I'll fit into and enjoy.



This is what I'm interested in, and what I was going to suggest, OP.  I'm still an undergrad (Community Health), but am taking prereq's for OT school and planning out shadowing opportunities for the application process.  The Occupational Therapists I know are happy with their careers - salary, diversity, hours, etc.,   It's not flooded like nursing and other healthcare fields, so the job market it good and it's not super hard work.  It's meaningful, though, and rewarding. 


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Old 10-03-2011, 02:04 PM
 
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speech therapy is another field like OT that seems interesting and fun. 

public administration? 

is there a career center where you're enrolled currently? often they might have some counselors who can show you some interest/personality scale tests and help you figure out a good path. 

or if you haven't started school at all yet, there should be plenty of volunteer experiences available for you through your school.. as you work through your college courses, you might find something sparking your interest that you hadn't thought of before; and many of the people i know who have been to grad school had no idea what they wanted to do until they completed undergrad and found something that really motivated them to return. 


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