Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Panic & Fall

Meet my friend Kate. First thing you should know about Kate is she's brilliant. Seriously brainiac brilliant. We met in grad school while both pursuing our MS Degrees in Clinical Psychology. That was 7 years ago. Whoa! This photo of the two of us was taken when we were both doe eyed and bushy tailed. Kate was working as a psychotherapist in Southern California and I had just gotten my psychotherapy license and started a private practice. You can even see the fancy degrees hanging in my office in the background.

Seven years later, I'm proud to say that our friendship has grown stronger over the many changes that we have weathered. Relationships, jobs, professions, money, children and many many dogs. Kate is currently in the process of trying to find that thing in life that makes her salivate. Like so many of us, the journey toward finding what it is we want to pursue in life is exhilarating in every sense. Scary, exciting and often overwhelming. I asked Kate to write about her ups and downs along the way for the very first Awfully Grand guest post. Thankfully she agreed and below is her first post in a series of several throughout the year chronicling her journey toward what makes her feel Awfully Grand. Take it away Kate...

I spent six years in school, tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and several years in pre-licensed positions to finally become a psychotherapist. Unfortunately, this occurred at around the exact same time that I realized that I no longer wanted to be a psychotherapist. I know that I am not alone in the experience of wanting to change careers after investing significant time and money into the wrong one. I can find a fair amount of reassurance just by asking around – so many people experience this, but most can’t or won’t do anything to change their circumstances. So if anyone is wondering what it’s like to give up a hard earned career, here it is:

There is something profoundly freeing about releasing yourself from a career that has morphed into a soul sucking trap of doom. It’s realization of a recurring day dream, of finally up and leaving the job that you’ve wanted to for so long. The problem, I’ve found, is figuring out what to do next. It’s so much easier to identify what isn’t satisfying then to pinpoint what, in a world full of careers, would better suit me. After the initial joy of realizing that I would not return to my field, there was the stunning realization that I no idea what I did want. I felt like the cartoon character at the moment that they realize that they’ve run off of the cliff. They look down, panic and fall. I don’t want to make another ‘wrong’ choice, to invest so much time and money into something that ultimately isn’t satisfying. It’s nice to be free from a troubling job, but terrifying to be free from the paycheck. It’s like any good breakup – exhilarating freedom coupled with a complete lack of security, of comfort, of sameness and familiarity. I have not yet figured out what it is that I want to do with my life. I am working on it by heading further down the paths that pique my interest; right now, it’s photography. So I'm attaching a picture that I really like - the glare is sucky but I love the expression on my niece Hazel's face.

Thanks for your honesty Kate.

What's your journey sound like? How did you decide to pursue your profession? What has kept you inspired or what was the final straw that made you want out?

Let it out! It feels so very grand!


  1. Kate, thanks for this post. I am so excited to hear more about your journey. This line made me laugh out LOUD!

    "releasing yourself from a career that has morphed into a soul sucking trap of doom?"


  2. Kate you are the best. Always inspiring and my go to amiga when I get overwhelmed with numbers and other mathy things I don't care to understand. Thanks for your honesty. :)

  3. Thank YOU! I'm inspired by you two talented ladies! I've finally decided to bite the bullet and work towards a new degree. Tonight I have my first college Chemistry class and I'm so nervous...it's highly likely that I'll cry or throw up. Wish me luck! xo Kate