I’m at that place again where I ask “What do I want to do when I grow up?” I’ve been asking that question my entire life. There were day, weeks, months and even years where I knew the answer to that question, while other times I didn’t have a clue. I’m kind of at that “I haven’t got a clue” place again.
Regular readers know that my current goal is to become a Unitarian Universalist minister. My goal has been to finish up getting my bachelor’s degree and then transfer to one of my faiths two schools of ministry, either Chicago or Berkeley, California. To become a UU minister is a very long, very difficult and very expensive process. It can be far more difficult than other faiths. I just turned 50 last year which means I could possibly be well into my 60’s before I get ordained.
I was discussing this with my minister not long ago and he suggested that maybe I should become a minister, but not a UU minister. This may seem like an odd thing for him to say, but he knows I have no interest in being a minister at a church. Being a church minister is running a business and I’ve managed operations for too many years. What I’m interested in is being a chaplain at a hospital, college or hospice facility. Hell, they even have chaplains on cruise ships. How cool would that be? Primarily I’m interested in working in a hospital, though that cruise ship idea is mighty tempting. Being a chaplain means you have to wear many hats and there are Masters Degrees specifically for multi-faith ministers. Getting one would be shorter time, less money and directly targeting what I want to do. It’s just damn practical.
So what’s the problem? Why don’t I go do it? Well, school just hasn’t been working well for me. I took some classes and some went well, and some not so well, and some were so overwhelming that I dropped them. I learned that having a panic attack in a college library is not a pleasant thing. Because I dropped so many classes I’ve been placed on Academic Probation. Based on my pdoc’s recommendation, I’m taking a break from school now with no idea when I’ll be going back. So, for now the ministerial plan is on hold.
Since I have plenty of time, I made the decision to throw myself into this blog. That’s why I changed the name and the look. I want to continue telling my personal exploits, but add additional information and news that would be useful to someone who has depression or bipolar disorder. I still have that as a primary goal, but I’ve been distracted. Part of that is the damage to my nerves that I mentioned awhile back, and it makes it difficult to use my right hand to type. Despite my nerve problems I’ve also become involved with a writing group and will be participating in an all-day writing session coming up in a few months. I have grown to love writing. I’m just not sure where that would/should fit as a goal. Primary or Secondary?
I took a MAPP test about a decade ago and I still go back and look at it from time to time. MAPP means “Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential.” The test was very extensive and the results equaled other career tests I’ve taken so I highly recommend it. You can find the link here: MAPP
After taking the test, it provides you with ten positions that would best fit you. Here are my results:
Customer Services: clerical, duplicating, sending 1
Secretarial: clerical; minor executive assignments 1
Modeling: artistic display; fashions, apparel 1
Corresponding: prepare, edit, send communications 1
Driver, Public Transportation: bus, taxi, limousine 1
Interview/Inform: gather, dispense information 1
Guidance, Counseling: personal, work, school, spiritual 1
Courrier Service: escort, assist, deliver 1
Volunteer Social Service: social, personal 1
Supervisory: responsible for work done by others 1
Bus or taxi driver? OMG no! And I certainly don’t see myself being a model anytime soon. Anyway, I understand where they’re coming from. In addition to this list you can type in most any career and it will give the rating for that position as well. The lowest rating is 5 and, as you can see above, the highest rating is 1. When I type in clergy I get a 1 rating and when I type in writer I get a 2 rating. Both at good levels for a career.
So, where do I go from here? I guess since I’ve been discouraged from going to school right now that the chaplain idea is put on a shelf…not forever! Just there until I can begin marching forward to school again.
As for writing, I’m not fully convinced I have the proper skills. I have no idea where I’d go with it. Do I really want to pursue this as a career or do I keep doing it as a hobby and just roll with it? I think the answer is to keep college pursuits on the shelf and just throw myself into writing. Write for this blog, write for my writing group and just see how things go.
I think there are two things that are holding me back from writing more. One is my fear of failure. This is something that has haunted me my entire life no matter what career or goal I’m hoping to achieve. The other thing holding me back is that I feel like I’m wasting time. Why should Maurice have to work so hard to support the two of us? He’s so supportive of everything I do that it’s silly to be so concerned.
In the end, I guess for now writing is the direction I can go. I can do it at my own pace and for now there is no law that says I can’t just enjoy it as a hobby and if more than that becomes of it, then wonderful! It really has been foolish that I’ve been beating myself up over this.
How about you? Any dream careers you’ve held yourself back from doing? If so, why do you think that happened? I’m interested to know.
8 comments on When I Grow Up
I think being a hospital chaplain would be very rewarding; they do wear a lot of hats, and are such wonderful facilitators of difficult conversations (e.g. end-of-life issues). I started medical school in my mid-30s, and people thought I was crazy. My attitude about doing what you want to do, even if it’s later in life and means going back to school, is “go for it!”
Great attitude, Helena and good for you for risking a career change in your 30’s. You are an inspiration.
I have a close friend who’s an interfaith minister. If I’m not mistaken, I think she got her degree online. If that’s a possibility, it might be a good option for you. Otherwise keep up your writing and don’t worry how “good” or “successful” you are. Just have fun.
Schooling online is becoming a big option including some of the major universities, such as MIT. It’s something I have just started looking into.
What do I want to be when I grow up? Alive. All the rest is icing on the cake.
Great answer, Pam
I must have it backwards. I know what I want to do but I’m still waiting to grow up!
Sometimes I feel that way. Am I grown up? If not, do I want to?