The first baby step

I’ve been considering a career change for a good few years now (in fact, it all started only about a year into my current job). I kind of fell in to what I do, and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride over the last six+ years. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of great things about where I work, and in general they have tipped the scales in the direction of staying. However, there are a lot of things I don’t like about where I work, and recently the big thing that I’ve realised, which is tipping the scales in the other direction, is that I don’t have a passion for the job.

The ins and outs and pros and cons of my current job are definitely for another time (it will be a wordy post, that’s for sure). I still don’t know that I’m definitely going to leave, that’s how difficult it is to weigh things up. However, I think I will, and that story starts a couple of years back.

Several people close to me have suffered with anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses that have resulted in them attending counselling and therapy. I’ve always tried to be there for these people, to listen to them and support them, as they are important to me, and at some point (and I really can’t pinpoint when exactly) I realised that in a weird way, I really enjoy doing it. When searching for possible private therapy for someone, I found that the therapy centre also offered weekend courses on counselling skills, and figured I might like to attend one to learn a bit more.

Various things got in the way (mostly business trips) and I didn’t manage to do the course. Then, in April last year I was on holiday with my husband in Barcelona and had some time to myself whilst he was at an event. I sat in the sun on the steps of the National Museum of Catalan Visual Art, with a notebook, completely relaxed (very unusual for me) and contemplated life. What did I want from life, what was I grateful for in my life, who did I want in my life, what didn’t I want in my life.

Money was nowhere near as important as I’d previously thought, but fulfilment rated high. I started thinking about the course again, and vowed to actually sign up and also do some research into longer term courses that could lead to careers in therapy.

Back home, I found some courses that sounded perfect, and when I emailed the university for more information, they put me straight in touch with the tutors, who were so patient and answered all of my questions. I signed up for the weekend course, and in September last year, I finally did it.

This course was really my first baby step. It was an intense, extremely interesting weekend, and really made me want to study further. There was a lot to consider – not only all of the practical sides of counselling and therapy, but also all of the ethical sides and the dilemmas you may face.

Right now, I’m not sure what to do. What I am doing though is keeping my options open, so the application for the first postgraduate course (there are two or three that I’d need to do before qualifying) is underway. It feels scary, and brave, and like I’m facing the unknown.

I have an inkling that this is the direction for me right now though. I keep remembering my graduation from my undergraduate studies, when my uncle asked me what I wanted to do. My response was that I didn’t know, but I wanted to do something that would help people. Maybe this is where I’m supposed to be going.

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