Take one civil engineering graduate, add a job as a cocktail waitress, and you get one confused parent. “Confused” is probably too kind. “Exasperated” is more like it.
Some of the people closest to me weren’t able to see the logic in how I navigated my career transition. I was taking too long to grieve the loss of my old life
, and I was staying too long in a job that--quote--should’ve been temporary.
“How much would I have to make somewhere else before I’d want to quit waitressing?” I wondered. And the answer came back: “I don’t
want to quit waitressing.”
I was having fun, whatever that meant. Waitressing wasn’t a requirement for writing or radio talk show hosting, but it was helping me heal--and I apparently wasn’t finished, not that you ever are.
The same thing happened when I was a radio news reporter. When I got married and had a dandy excuse to move somewhere else and get a--quote--better job, I dug in my heels. I found almost zero meaning in reporting the latest city council news, but I wasn’t ready to quit.
I was still having fun.
Having fun, I now realize, meant being challenged. I eventually got as bored waitressing as my parents had expected me to be, and was as bored doing local news as I’d
expected me to be.
But I couldn’t embrace a new life until I was ready to let go of my old one.
So if you’re conflicted about a career change, it isn’t necessarily the wrong move. Maybe it’s just the wrong time.
You might never be eager to disrupt what amounts to, well, everything. But you can be ready.
Playing out where you are will help. Take thicker slices
. Stick with something long enough to learn, really learn, something about yourself.
Then give yourself the time to realize just how much you did.