Sunday, April 20

When I grow up I wanna be . . .

a question I've been asking myself a lot recently! Can I see myself doing research 30 years from now . . . not so much. Why you ask? Well to be honest I'm not totally sure, but to the best of my ability I think that I don't find it to be as rewarding as I would like it to be. I've thought about this quite a bit & asked advice from lots of my mates here in the UK and abroad. Here is the email I sent out asking for their thoughts on my thoughts:
Seem to have been bitten rather hard by a travel bug, here is the update: In May I'm off to Rome for 1st bank holiday & then to St Petersburg for 5 days at end of month, 2nd bank holiday probably going to the lake district (northern England) June 11-15th I'm in Berlin for a conference, June 19th headed home till July 12th. August 16th in Jim & Beck's wedding in Nottingham. September Dad & I are in Edinburgh, Scotland for a few days. October possibly gong to Rwanda. After that I'll be totally skint, but hopefully have cool photos & fun stories to tell from it - but don't expect any Christmas presents - LOL.
Aside from that I've got another meeting with the people who fund me on May 15th & I HAVE to prove I'm worth funding cause at the moment they want to cancel my grant in December. This being said I'm thinking more & more about not staying past December. Maybe it's the crap weather we've been having or maybe it's me finally getting "home sick" if you can call it that after nearly 3 years, but I've been thinking more & more about moving state side sooner rather than later. I'm still up in the air about what to do with "the rest of my life". I'm still in search of a possibly a new job where I feel like I'm making more of a difference. I know the possibility of me finding a cure or vaccine against the disease I work on is NOT going to happen anytime soon. Not sure that time frame is working for me - if you get my drift. It's weird, it's not that I'm not having fun here, it's just that I sorta feel like I'd like to see my family & friends more often than once a year when we're all rushed at Christmas & I have to rush to see them all in just 1 week & share them with other friends & relatives who are in the same situation (if that makes any sense). PLEASE, PLEASE don't mention this to anyone I work with or put any sort of message which could be seen by them (ie facebook), I don't want to jeopardize anything here, in case I decide to stay past December. Any thoughts???

I received lots of replies, primarily saying "I will support you in whatever you feel you want to do" which was not really the answer I was looking for, but appreciate that you're being supportive in my time of need. But I did get one really really good reply, which I'll share with you now:
If it helps at all none of any of your contemporaries back here seem to know what they want to do either; K and M want desperately to move back up north but M hasn't received any job offers yet and is making great money working here. K.......well you know. S can't decide if he should stay with NYPD or move back to CT to work in Manchester or East Hartford, etc. TM likes working and living in Boston but now his wife wants to move back to Oregon and T wants to live in VT. I can't decide if I want to take a job with our plain clothes investigative unit, move up north, join our SWAT unit, stay where I am, etc. JC doesn't know what he wants to do other than he is enjoying teaching. WR wanted to build a house in Keene Valley, but then he decided he would go live in Utah for six months and we haven't seen him since.
If it helps the decision making process at all TW is about to get a job with NYPD so I'd say living in the city is a bad idea on the grounds alone that they are going to give that little goofball a gun.
So that's where it seems we all are. Never happy or content with ourselves and I don't think we would have it any other way. I will say this though I love my job and look forward to going to work everyday and I don't see that changing anytime soon so you see it's not really work at all. Beyond any advice I could give you about being home sick and away from friends and family I would offer that you should make sure you are still happy with your career. If not than you definitely need a change. As far as friends and family go I'm sure we'll always be "around".
Enjoy the travel and keep me posted on what's new.

This mate of mine always has an excellent perspective to give. He was the one who when I wasn't sure what to think after my parents got divorced & I was feeling really lost said to me, "Sara, they did what they thought was best for you & Patty at the time. They never intended on hurting you - any lies that were told were said with the best intention . . . and look at you both now - turned out pretty well in my opinion." He was right then and once again he's hit the nail on the head. I'm not so much missing my friends & family as they're always "around". I'm not lacking in friends in the UK - I'm just lacking in my job. So back to the drawing board I go . . . where it will lead I don't know. What I have figured out is I want a job where I feel like I'm making more of an impact. No I don't want to save the world or get a Nobel prize (I mean those would be nice, but a bit out of reach of reality). I just think a job where I feel there is more reward is what I'm leaning towards. Teachers can see their students learning. Cops arrest "bad guys" and help little old ladies. Plumbers fix leaking pipes for people. I LOVED working at boy scout camp - I helped scouts to learn leather work, woodworking, and how to ride a horse. Since then I haven't felt like someone has benefited from the research I've done - I know small steps have been made, but given the choice I'd prefer a larger step be made & seen my me. So I'm going to keep mulling this over in my head & see what I come up with. Maybe even try to speak with a life coach or do some sort of aptitude testing - who know . . .

Any comments/questions/advice is more than welcome.

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At 21 April, 2008 00:51, Blogger jen said...

considering your love of travel, what do you think about doing a stint in peacecorps or americorps? (or another such organization?) i have a couple of friends that did those programs when they were in a similar position to yours and they loved it. and it think it did help give them some direction about "what they want to do with their lives."

with your background, i could totally see you doing a job involving public health out in an impoverished community -- you'd get more of that instantaneous satisfaction of helping people.

and since it is only temporary (1 or 2 years), you aren't making a big committment to another career you aren't sure about.

At 21 April, 2008 02:04, Blogger Zee said...

I love jen's idea - I've known a few different folks for whom the peace corps was an amazing experience.

I'd also echo your friend's suggestion: if you're not happy in your work, you probably need to rethink it... but, as I said in my private mail to you, don't totally disregard the work you're doing now: just see how your background/education might be able to make you uniquely qualified for a job in another, completely different, field. (Not that I have any specific ideas... ;-)

Also, one other thought I had: if you're truly interested in helping people and traveling, what about looking into the US Foreign Service? I did some research on it many moons ago and it look really interesting. I don't think I have the right personality or temperament for it but it could be right up your alley:

At 21 April, 2008 10:44, Blogger Sara said...

Jen - thanks for you comments & ideas, I am looking into peace corps :)

Zee - thanks for that link, looks interesting, will have to give it more of a look when not at work (lol)

At 24 April, 2008 03:17, Blogger BRAINCHEESE said...

Hey, I'm 43 and STILL don't know what I want to be when I grow up! Although, I prefer to refer to it as "keeping my options open". LOL

You'll know what to do and when to do it...

Linda D. in Seattle

At 25 April, 2008 11:36, Blogger Sara said...

ms. cheesewiz:
well maybe i never will know, i'm just pretty sure that i need a change at least for now - i can always come back to being a lab geek ;)


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