Choosing A Career


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Being the introverted, intuitive, creative, idealistic little dreamer I am, choosing a career isn’t easy.

I’m so jealous of those people who seem to shoot out of their mothers’ wombs knowing what they want to become. I have a friend who is dead set on becoming a marine biologist and has been ever since she could talk. I have people who tell me, oooh, I want to either do this or that or, hmmm, maybe even that? with smiles lighting up their faces.

And I just stand there, nodding and smiling, dreading the moment when they pop the question, ‘So…do you know what you want to do?’ And, maybe it’s just me, but that line is always delivered with such an accusatory, judgmental air, and I feel like I am before some invisible, nebulous jury who will pronounce me unfit for society when I tell them, ‘Uh…no, not really, I mean, I’m still sort of looking into options.’ Clash, bang, down goes the hammer.

I got to thinking about this the other day. As I child, I always assumed I would become either an author. It was an immutable decision in my head. I think it’s fair to say that at that age (six), I hadn’t been able to factor in the reality of money. Or any thing realistic at all, really. All I knew was that my little heart yearned to put paper to pen like all my lovely heroes, Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Paul Jennings, Ray Bradbury. But, if I have to put writing on the sideboard as a hobby rather than a career, what can I do? And, as usual, to work out the problem, I wrote the pros and cons of various careers down.

1. Journalist. I mean, I like writing, right? And journalism is a field that employs the written word. I could, you know, do that, can’t I? But, then again, I hear you have to sniff out stories at the crack of dawn and interview people ferociously. I’m the least chatty and charismatic person on the planet. Not sure if that would work out. And jobs are scarce in journalism at the moment.

2. English Teacher. I’m not the most verbally eloquent but I can get by, as least when I’m not nervous. I’m great at explaining complicated concepts, breaking them down into layman terms. And I love kids, I love seeing the beams of understanding on their faces. And English has always been my best and favourite subject, even in highschool. It would be perfect but it would be incredibly draining as an extreme introvert. Trust me, I’ve had first-hand experience. The level of noise that can be achieved in a classroom – ! Perhaps I have to just adapt myself to the environment? Or become a tutor rather than a classroom teacher.

3.  Counselor. Really appealing. One-to-one contact. Still would be draining but less so than talking and being animated in front of a class all day. I would get to talk about FEELINGS all day, and feelings are the essence of my soul. Hope that didn’t sound too dramatic. And I get to help people solve their problems. And be sensitive and caring and nice. But apparently Psychology courses at university are stuffed chock-full of science and spiky statistics rather than hands-on work. Would I be able to hold my interest? Not to mention job security at the end of the degree and the fact that, as a HSP, I would absorb all the emotions, darn it!

4. Editor/Writer. For some online magazine, I suppose. There are lots of those floating around lately on the ocean of the web. But I have no idea how to even crack into a field and whether I have the chutzpah to do it, especially in this ‘economy’ (newsflash: the economy doesn’t exist, it is fabricated by humans and only lives in our minds and has no bearing on reality whatever).

5. A Speech Pathologist. I mean, a lot of it is one-to-one contact. And it involves linguistics, which can sort of satisfy the literary monster within me. And I always loved biology in high school and would prefer to work with the children and the elderly rather than adults. Not a stable career where I live though, the majority of speech pathologists hold part-time jobs.  

6. Translator. You need some creativity or, shall we say, flexibility of mind to work in translation, to be able to switch from one language to another. And, if I’m translating written work, it would fit my introversion. Yes, sitting down and translating at my laptop at home in my pajamas sounds very nice indeed. The only problem is, the only language I’m good at is English. Wouldn’t it be too late to try learning a whole new language from scratch? Should’ve kept those French classes.

7. Advertising director. Creative job. Someone has to come up with unique ideas for advertisements and write the slogans on pamphlets. And I could use my writing skills and it pays well to, at least, working in advertising does. It might be a bit too extroverted of a job for my tastes, but hey, no job can be perfect, right? But is apparently very high-stress, with all the deadlines and whatnot. As a highly sensitive and anxious person, I would prefer a more toned-down occupation but I you can’t everything. I will have to sell a little bit of my soul though, seeing as I hate the entire concept of consumerism and psychologically manipulating people to buy mere objects that they don’t need.

8. Copywriter. Churn out the slogans, write for the pamphlets, be the word flag waver for these countless corporations that want to bleed your pockets dry. But, seriously, it could work? Then again, how does one go about creating a portfolio to get hired. It’s not an easy field to crack into but perhaps I just need to believe in myself a bit more.

As you can tell, I still have no idea what I want to do. I just want a day-job that pays the bills and doesn’t suck out my soul each day so I can go home and spend the rest of my time writing. Deep down, I just want to escape from society and live in a garret in the woods or something as a starving artist, picking off squirrels and writing from dawn till night. But we all know that’s not going to happen.



19 thoughts on “Choosing A Career

  1. You’re a dreamer rambling for sure.
    And I dont think you can say you have NO idea. Looks like you had some sort of idea…
    Me on the other hand, I fit that bill.
    It’s partially why I never went to college. I didnt want to waste my time taking classes I didnt need.
    Although not religious, they say God has a plan. Apparently it was mine to do whatever it is i’m doing now…

    • I suppose I do have some ideas, whether they are viable or not is another thing. The reality of the job could be entirely different from what I envision it to be and that’s what really scares me. I hope you will find a career some day that will fulfill you. What are your interests? What career path would you go down if money was no object?

      • Why wouldn’t it be viable? Others have made it into a profession. Why not you?
        Although it isnt what I chose, this *is* my career. It isnt bad, my coworkers are cool and i’m good at what I do so i’ve accepted it.
        Honestly, if I had a slight clue as to what I wanted to do, i’d be doing it. I’ve always said even if I got paid minimum wage, if I was doing what I loved thats all that would matter.

      • I know that everything you say is true and I know I should believe in myself – the whole if other people can, why can’t I mindset is a good paradigm to have. It’s just sometimes so hard to believe because I feel inferior. I know that makes me seem like I’m craving compliments, but I’m not, I generally feel lesser than most of the people around me a lot of the time. That’s something I need to work on. Pronto. Your situation sounds pretty great! I think sometimes the people you work with is more important than the work you are doing. And, yeah, same here – I would choose a low-paying job that I like over a high-paying job that I hate any day. Thanks for caring and your encouragement 🙂

  2. “Deep down, I just want to escape from society and live in a garret in the woods or something as a starving artist, picking off squirrels and writing from dawn till night. But we all know that’s not going to happen.”

    Why so? That’s a very legitimate goal. My own long-term goal involves something along those lines actually. A house lost in the forest would be the best, but I’d prefer not having to regularly have to kill animals. Therefore, the best is to get a plot of land, build a small autonomous house and grow veggies, fruits and rear some animals. Lots of work in the summer, but quieter during winter – perfect for arts of all kinds.

    Granted, there are initial costs and you’ll need some “traditional” work for a while to save money to finance it… but it seems a very worthy sacrifice to make.

    • Yeah. Hm. Why not? A little house in the forest sounds amazing. Why couldn’t we create a little community of houses for INFPs to live in? On an island, or a in forest or some other remote place where the poisons of society can’t reach us? We could work together in growing crops, sit by the fireside at night and share stories and philosophical musings or just not talk at all without feeling awkward because we understand each other’s ways. I really want to do this. I want to make this happen. It sounds wonderful. I don’t want to stay embroiled in society. Give it a couple of years. Maybe we could all work on such a project together one day.

    • Wow. Just a wave of envy. Some awe, but mostly envy. I want to be around nature 24/7. I hate concrete buildings, it just chokes the life out of the environment. Have you ever felt this way?

      • Yeah, you know what I envy looking at Coffer’s life? The space he has and the freedom. And I wish I had the guts to create a life like the one he created for himself. It’s nice to know that it’s possible.

      • Yes. That’s what we need. Guts and gumption. We’re all so scared, you know? And I’m not trying to accuse you or anything, it’s just a part of human nature. Imagine creating a self-sufficient society of idealists and introverts and dreamers in the woods somewhere. How wonderful would that be! Like a haven.

  3. Hello and thanks for your post! It felt like I was reading my own words – I used to be in the same place where you are now, uncertain of what direction to take in life. I was choosing between Journalism, Psychology, and Teaching English. I started off as a journalist 7 years ago, than as a teacher 2 years later, and now I’m beginning to add psychology to the equation. I’m sure you could start with anything from your list and see how it goes. Nobody says you have to do one thing for the rest of your life. Besides, I guess it’s great that your interests cover so many fields. It’s much easier to find your place in this world if you are broad-minded.
    Wishing you all the best,

    • Thank you 🙂 I think it’s good to be reminded now and again that I won’t be stuck on one career path my whole life. It’s easy to forget that when the future looms in front of you with the threat of poverty and homelessness and drudgery.

  4. I am a counselor and I can tell you it isn’t as great or noble as it seems. You do have to have some degree of a science brain but not immensely. Empathic yes but a good degree of boundary with people, because they can and will try to drain you or manipulate you. Working for yourself in this industry is best if you can get insurance companies to pay you. Never work for the mental health system or agency, they will try and kill your soul. It’s a long process to getting the title and then you have to get licensed by your state. The perks are interjecting life into people if they want to change; remember though there are some very ill people out there. Most of the clients someone would work with are not just ordinary folks going through difficulties of life. Most have serious illnesses like schizophrenia and major depression, personality disorders, etc. I also don’t like the established therapy methods and labels(everyone must get a label!). I think most counselors have to constantly evaluate their own existence and be well themselves, so it’s a constant balancing act of being honest with oneself and growth. Reading emotions and motives helps, with a dose of honesty and kindness. I loved English and would have loved to be a professor but writing about social change from my perspective of being a counselor for 10 years is a good balance. Just don’t work for the mental health system!

    • Thank you! Oh, and thanks for the heads-up! I think I sort of idealized being a counselor – I imagine myself sealing all the wounds within people’s hearts and allowing them to exit my clinic mentally purified without considering the harsh realities. Writing about social change sounds wonderful! I’d love to write for a living, except I don’t know how and on what. Fiction, I suppose, but I’d have to get a day-job to support myself. I’m glad you’re happy with your job. Yeah, English professor does sound really appealing to me as well. 🙂 Just have to get over any public speaking fears!

    • Thank you. Everyone who comments on my blog are so kind. It feels strange because I’m so used to dealing with slightly cold, unforgiving and shallow people on a daily basis. They don’t mean to hurt but they do it inadvertently.

  5. Counselor is my dream job. Circumstances wont allow it. But my wife is going to be one. I am stuck in my career and now I am in a job that I can hang out with a few people and spend my days in a dark basement with a bunch of computers. Occasionally I venture out and talk to the normal people but in small doses.

  6. My other dream job was ministry and I almost became a pastor. However I had some shifting religious beliefs that kind of killed that idea. I am content with what I do now but getting to this contentment was a long road. IT can be OK but anything with too much public contact (like tech support, I used to put on the ESTJ business suit for that one. My term for being a fake extroverted person). Paid my dues, now I can work with computers, occasionally help people with problems and hang out with my fellow (most introverted) IT geeks in the basement

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