Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Decisions, Revisited

I had a long blathery post up about how I concluded that deciding to go to graduate school wasn't a bad decision, even though it turned out badly. In short, the decision was based on an accurate assessment of my interests and abilities, and there wasn't a way to predict that (a) my advisor would die before I finished and (b) the job market the year I finished would be the worst ever. Just because the decision turned out badly doesn't make the decision-making process, or the decision itself, bad. This is all relevant, of course, because I'm making a decision to go to pastry chef school and completely change my career and life, which, at least in my case, occasions some questions about whether this is a reasonable thing to do.

So I had a revelation last night. The bad decision I made wasn't going to graduate school--it was trying to find another way to use the skills and knowledge I had gained or honed in graduate school in a venue outside of academia. I don't want to be a manager or researcher or analyst or writer or whatever--in the right place, with the right people, I could be convinced otherwise, but, in general, I wanted to use those skills to be a professor. It was that specific occupation that appealed to me, not just that occupation as one among many possible ways that I could use a particular skill set.

Which would explain why my jobs since graduate school haven't done that much for me. When I worked with the junkies and alcoholics, I had a great boss--everyone should have a boss like him at some point in their lives. I learned a tremendous amount from him, and he's a great person. In addition, we did incredible work together, which was extremely exciting. But the job itself, especially once he left, eh, not so much. I came to this job thinking that it would be an opportunity to do a lot of different things, and to work with some really interesting, smart, people. And, again, not so much. A few people have been truly exceptional, occasionally the work has had some interesting component, but, in general, I am underutilized, underappreciated, and underpaid. More to the point, I don't really like much of the work. All in all, it's time to find a way to do what I love. I know I won't make the big bucks, but I've also realized that that's not so important to me. I don't really want to go back to penny-counting mode, when my checking account balance remained in the low one-figures much of the time, but even more, I don't want to hate my work.


Blogger Kerri Rachelle said...

Wow, if you had any idea how similar our roads in life are right now, I swear it would freak you out for sure. I've firmly determined that I'd rather be poor than HATE MY LIFE every day in order to help make someone else rich. No way.....visit my blog...you'll see that my occupation desire is a total stretch.

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and you know--life can be surprising. who knows, maybe you'll find The Big Bucks someplace unexpected...

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