Sunday, May 31, 2009

Careers, Plans and the Future

Every year as my birthday draws closer I sit and reflect about what I've done this past year and what I've accomplished.

For the past few years I've had mixed feelings about each passing year. Somehow I don't feel as if I've reached my full potential each year and that feeling bothers me.

The question is though, how do I reach that point where I do feel as if I've reached my full potential? When I feel like I am doing in my life what I'm supposed to be doing?

I guess what I'm mainly talking about is a career. For the most part it doesn't bother me that I don't have an established career. I've had several interesting jobs and I wouldn't trade those experiences for the world. Yet, at almost 26 years old, I sometimes feel behind the crowd or as if what I'm doing isn't normal.

Granted, as a military spouse I knew it would be harder to have a career or sometimes even have a job at all, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier.

When I got out of college my dream was to work for the National Park Service in one of their museums, I love the outdoors, I love the feeling I get when I visit the parks and I wanted to experience that on a daily basis. Eventually I realized that as a military spouse that was going to be next to impossible, unless I somehow luckily ended up next to a National Park.

My next thought was to become a librarian. Specifically to work as an elementary librarian at a school. I had a job in a public library for a year and a half and really enjoyed it. Plus as a military spouse having a degree in library science is something I could more easily find a job with (hopefully) and in the future would be able to spend summers with my children.

These days I've been thinking about pursuing photography as my career. I love it. I love shooting, I love editing. I just like it all. EXCEPT, I don't love shooting people as much as I do landscapes and shooting people is where the money is at. Not to mention there is a lot of time and money that go into becoming a successful photographer. Right now I don't have any customers either. Something that obviously is very important to be able to make a career out of it.

So I'm stuck. What to do? Get my Masters in library science as a back-up and in the meantime do my photography on the side? That's my plan right now, but that could change at the drop of a hat.

Any advice ladies?


Fidgeting Gidget said...

Your dilemma sounds a lot like mine. I had to move to Canada due to my husband's job, which basically meant that unless I wanted to go back to school right away after graduating, I wouldn't be able to teach anywhere else. I've always wanted to be a librarian, too....I volunteered in an elementary school library for three years and LOVED IT. Now I'm working in a job I don't really like just to have something to do....I wish I could go back to school, but it won't really be worth it since I will probably be going into the field of "Stay-at-home motherhood" pretty soon. It's hard to get settled in anywhere when you're moving around like you do, too. I'd suggest volunteering or working somewhere in the library field and opening an Etsy shop to sell prints of your photos....they're great! :)

Stephanie said...

I think you should do whatever you heart is leading you to do at the moment. There is always time you don't have to rush to do something just because you think that you "should". Do what you want with your life on your own time.

tootie said...

I know exactly what you are going through. Since I left the military and became a milspouse, I'm not exactly sure how I should be doing for a career/jobs.

I say do whatever you feel passionate about. And maybe for you that's both being a librarian and photographer on the side.

P.S I've heard rumors that the post-9/11 GI Bill - that most of active duty members are eligible for - are transferrable to spouses/dependents. Maybe that would help you with your Master's??

Sarah said...

I was just looking into what I can do for my Master's yesterday. I found a couple programs in Library Science that looked interesting. I've always been a library/book junkie. If only a money tree would sprout in my backyard. And if only I would just bite the bullet and start something. Good luck with your decisions!

Miss Adventure said...

That does sounds like a tough choice. A lot of times I wonder what the heck I am doing in college because I have always hated school (even if I'm pretty good at getting decent grades). But I stay in because I know that in then end I'll have the potential to make more money. But once I have my degree, I wonder if it will be worth all the time, effort, and money. I guess our situations are similar in that they are both just those things where you have to weigh what is most important to you in the end. Is it having a career that is "acceptable" or is it doing something that you love most?

J.L.S. said...

Oh, I agree with Stephanie 100%. Try not to limit yourself. Go wherever the wind blows you! If you try to fit yourself into some nice neat little box (which I have done) when circumstances change, you'll find yourself scrambling to figure out what to do next. I think what you are thinking/doing right now is a great plan for the moment. If your photography business starts to pick up, you can start doing that full time and school on the side... or no school at all! Just keep your options open, and I don't think you can lose!

365 Days of Army Life in Pictures said...

Photography would be an amazing career path!! Photographing people is not the only avenue out there so don't give up on that idea! Definitely is one to keep in the back pocket. I don't know if you've heard of Carr Clifton or not, but he's a cousin of mine who started out taking pictures of what seemed like trivial things to others. He took pictures of plants, flowers, lakes/streams, just because he liked to look at those things. Then one day out of the blue, he posted a website to sell his photography to friends and family. Through word of mouth, he started getting requests left and right from numerous avenues for his work.

They always say "Nothing happens overnight," but I beg to differ. You never know, you may just get lucky as well.

Oh and I NEVER knew library science was a major until about last year. It's crazy to think how much REALLY does go into being a librarian. It's not as easy a job as people think and I think it's a pretty neat job skill for you to have.

Anonymous said...

Most people our age are already changing their careers because they are bored, or finally discover they don't really enjoy what they are doing. So no, you are not abnormal in the fact that you haven't nailed down a career!
Definitely go where your heart is leading you. And even if the money is in portraits, keep taking landscapes, and citiescapes then see if you can't get a local Italian coffee shop to display some of your photos. You would be surprised!

Sara said...

We've definitely talked about this before. To be honest, I have had to make peace with never getting the job of my dreams. Working in Houston in the O&G industry was never part of that dream. it paid well, but I was miserable. I am finding other callings and being open minded to all possiblities. Besides, I really enjoyed all of my hourly jobs way more than the salary ones.

Be creative though. Maybe you can be a tour guide of some sort? That would bring you outdoors some.

Stacey said...

I wish I had some suggestions, but I am in the same boat and really don't have any lol. I turn 30 in July, and so far being a military wife and SAHM has been "it". Not what I expected when I graduated from college with a degree in Mass Communications for sure. But I'm learning to just be happy where I am, and try not to freak out that I'm just helping my husband attain his goals, and that I'm not even sure what mine are anymore.

Wow that is so not much help, but I just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone...

Casey (@ Ever-Changing Life) said...

The only thing I will say is that to be a librarian in a school (which is what I think you want by mentioning being off for summer), you have to first teach for 2 years. At least in Texas. So that might be something to keep in mind.

Lisa said...

I'm kind of struggling with the same thing right now, although not the mil-spouse thing just yet. I'm trying to figure out my next path for life. Working retail isn't going to cut it forever (or even that much longer).

Library science sounds interesting. I'm also going to look into counseling and social work. Not sure exactly what I want to do next.

Good luck!

Crazy Shenanigans said...

I know how you feel. Matt and I aren't married but I still follow his sorry ass (haha) all around the country. My birthday is drawing near and I always end up doing the same thing as you. Looking at your life and wondering about potential.

You are really fabulous though from everything I read and I think no matter where you both go you'll always be doing something great!

(army)Wife said...

I wish I could give you advice because I know exactly how you feel. I have 2 degrees, a minor, a certificate, and a job that is in none of these fields. I'm 27 and have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

I hope you figure it out and whatever you decide to do, it makes you happy and you're very satisfied with your decision :)

Tania said...

I know how you feel by not having an established career. Look at me! I'm back in school for a second degree and I'm almost 28! There was something about development in one of our textbooks and it said that in our 20s we're finding careers and settling into them by our 30s. Ha! Wrong! It's really rare to workout that way these days, so we're normal.