Each Tuesday, I will be answering questions on a variety of topics. Gotta question for the coach? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I recently graduated with a doctorate in pharmacy and realize I don’t want to be a pharmacist. I’m not sure what do but am considering becoming a massage therapist. I feel lost.”
Ann is in her early 30’s and is feeling not a small amount of pressure to sort this out, especially given the amount of student loan debt that must be serviced. Here’s my reply to her:
Dear Ann, First, I want to commend you on the bravery it takes to be honest with yourself instead of working in a field you don’t like for 15 years before opening that door, as it were. I also commend you for taking action and trying out another field. (My shoulder feels a little tight…would you mind…. ;) )
Another thing I see - you already have a track record of success. Your discipline and brains to get through a PharmD program isn’t for whimps. So, bravo to you!
I would encourage you to begin with a fresh look at yourself. Take inventory of your dreams, skills and passions. Given your inclination toward the “helping” field I suspect your heart may be in conflict with the scientist in you.
If you haven’t done so already, you may consider doing a simple personality inventory. I’m fond of the DISC survey and you can find some free assessments on line.
Another thing. Keep in mind that your professional life is only PART of your life. Are you pursuing other interests when you’re not working? Are you cultivating relationships? How about FUN? Are you having fun yet?
When we’re in a “what do I want to be when I grow up crisis” we tend to become myopic and focus only on the things we feel are out of alignment. When we lift up our eyes from the emotional crisis, that’s when creativity and options can flow and be seen. Folks hear me say this over and over again - my favorite tool for sorting out stuff is journaling. If that is effective for you, great! If not - find something that is helpful. Music, being in nature, training your dog, etc…
Finally, I want to encourage you. You haven’t “wasted your time.” The pharmacy field held some components that resonated with you and those aspects haven’t gone anyway. It’s a process to sort out what we’re wanting to pursue and interfacing those with a career path that is more in alignment with how you are. Thanks for reaching out, Ann!