quarter life crisis part two: the resolution

continued from quarter life crisis part one. 

 

So I was having doubts for my career path for the first time in my life. What else could I possibly do with my life? I don’t want to be in my current job forever. While the pay is okay, comparatively it’s pretty terrible. I get lots of days off per year which is a huge perk and I’m not exactly miserable there but I am not mentally stimulated…at all. There is also no real way for me to be promoted and there surely isn’t any sort of merit-based raise. I absolutely could not continue on there for the next 30 years. My department is also slowly shrinking and probably won’t even exist in 30 years.

So I can’t stay in my current job, I am having major doubts about my potential future job…time for some soul-searching. And soul-searching I did. For two or three weeks I drove myself crazy imagining different scenarios. Anthropology is pretty broad, maybe I could just use it as a spring board and head into Human Resources or something. I could potentially be an Archeologist if I got some experience, but I don’t think there is much work in SW PA and as I have mentioned time and again, I AM NEVER MOVING AGAIN. I believe I’ve mentioned I’m taking a Soils and Archaeology class this semester, which I fondly refer to as dirt class. Through my soul searching, I kept coming back to the class…maybe I could do something related to that…

I have two professors for the class and they are not traditional professors. One is a Soil Scientist, the other a Cultural Resource Manager and they teach this class, and only this class, once a year. Both of their jobs sound really cool. In different ways, they both consult on projects for large development companies and agencies (like PennDOT) before they put in a roadway or a bridge to make sure that when they disturb the land, they are not disturbing any archaeological finds. And if there are archeological finds, they make sure that they are protected. I might be a giant nerd, but it sounds really fascinating.

After I kept coming back to it, I decided I couldn’t make a decision without getting more information, so I emailed both of my professors and my advisor. And then I felt sick. I asked the professors if we could meet (informally) and talk a bit about their careers and I asked my advisor if he had any other contacts and if this sounded like a terrible idea. They were all very encouraging and we set up times to meet.

I met with one of my professors last week and he provided me with lots of encouraging information. My advisor put me into contact with a graduate student who had done CRM work and I met with her also. I am meeting with my other professor tonight. The graduate student was also very encouraging and gave me lots of great advice. But the best part about meeting with both of them was the fact that it was so obvious that they love what they do. It is so rare these days to see someone so passionate and excited about their work and whenever I see that, it is contagious. I want to love my job, I want to be passionate about my work. Can I be passionate about your job and your work?

My only hesitation about going into this type of field is the travel involved. I am a homebody. I love my house. I love being home with Keith and Daisy. I’m not sure I could handle being away for short or extended periods of time. The graduate student I met with did tell me about some other options I would have that would be less mobile.

The best part of this is I don’t have to change my major or anything, it is still Anthropology. I don’t have to take stupid classes that I care nothing about (Economics, Political Science) in order to get into the School of Education. I was looking at summer classes to see what I could take instead of the stupid Econ and PS I am signed up for and there is a GIS (Geographic Information Systems – think Google Maps) class that I can take this summer, and a Cultural Resource Management class I can take in the fall. I don’t really believe in signs, but I’m taking it as a sign that these classes are offered at times that work perfectly with my schedule.

I also could potentially graduate a semester early on this new path, but I’ve decided to take only one summer class and give myself a much needed break. So now instead of having summer classes from May 6-August 10, I will have class from June 23-August 2. Every time I think of this, I become almost giddy. I will have all of May, almost all of June and most of August to myself! Just work! I can finish up wedding stuff without losing my mind! I can paint the rest of my house! I can maybe plant a garden and probably have time to water the plants!

It feels a little weird having decided not to go through with the education thing. Just the other day, after having made my decision, I was thinking about something and thought how I could incorporate that into my classroom. Oh, wait. I’m not having a classroom.

But once again I am excited and energized and though I wish I had known about this career path a bit earlier so I could have taken more Archaeology/Geology classes and less Cultural Anthropology classes, but at least I figured it out before I had already graduated, and wasted time and money pursuing something else.

So that’s where I am not. Teaching’s out…some sort of Cultural Resource Management/Geomorphology/Archaeology/Playing in the dirt is in. Eeeeeek.

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1 Comment

  1. Congratulations! Sounds like a very interesting career. I can’t wait to hear more as you continue

    Reply

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