By: Jade Sobczak, Health Care & Science Career Community Advisor
What are you willing to give up to have the life you keep pretending you want? — Elizabeth Gilbert
At age 24, for the very first time, I was working a full-time job as a medical professional at a world-class hospital utilizing the degrees I had worked hard to earn. I was living in the beautiful city of Chicago, and I had been blessed with an army of incredible family and friends who treated me better than I deserved on most days.
I would wake up in the morning feeling like I had a purpose, which motivated me to utilize every minute of my day. But despite it all, I still found my mind often wandered to a time far in the future, and I couldn’t help but wonder if what I was doing was enough. I would ask myself questions like:
- What am I doing now to ensure I feel fulfilled later in my life?
- Am I on track to reaching my greatest potential?
- Do I give enough of myself to others?
I wondered if I simply hadn’t mastered the ability to stay in one place long enough to grow where I was. I went back and forth with myself trying to resolve this internal struggle, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. There was something terribly off, and I knew it.
It was that gut feeling that led me to consider a career change.
Today, I’m working in the Career Center at DePaul University as the Health Care and Science Career Community advisor. I have the privilege of working one-on-one with students and alumni interested in the same field I worked in and still love, despite my career transition.
Sometimes when I tell people about my experiences and they find out what I’m doing now, they say things like, “Wow, that’s really different from what you were doing” or “Don’t you feel like you wasted your degree?” The truth is, no education is education wasted.
Don’t let people guilt you into staying the course just because it’s the course you’re already on.
Looking back, I believe there were a lot of factors that contributed to my career change. I was experiencing some serious patient burnout, there were some big components of my job I didn’t love, and I recognize now I had serious lack of energy. I loved my patients, the people I worked with, and the environment I worked in, which made showing up and working long hours every day a little less excruciating.
How did I know it was time?
- Negative energy was quickly creeping into every aspect of my life. I had trouble seeing the good in anything, which was out of character for me.
- I began making careless mistakes.
- I dreaded getting out of bed in the morning. And once I did, I continued to watch the clock all day long.
- I began feeling mentally unhealthy and lost my appetite almost entirely.
What did I do about it?
If you’re unhappy in your current major or career, start by giving yourself grace. Then, make ample time to research other options, conduct informational interviews, and continue building your professional network. Don’t forget to talk to people you trust about how you’re feeling! The people closest to you just want you to be happy, so they’ll be supportive… even if it takes them time to come around.
Appreciate where you stand, what you’ve achieved, and all that it’s brought you, but never feel sorry for wanting more or something different. Make the choices that bring you happiness, even if that means choosing to walk away from something that no longer helps you grow.
No matter what your future holds, happiness will forever be enough. I urge you to have the guts to choose it.
The Career Center will support you in a variety of ways including helping you explore how your interests, values, skills, and personality fit into different career paths.
Schedule a career advising appointment on Handshake today!