Reply To: Need Advice on Choosing a Career

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Hello and welcome! So impressed that you are putting so much foresight into your career path! Have you considered being a museum or gallery curator or something along those lines? It may not be fast-paced but the right kind of place would give you an engaging subject matter, the positive pressure of deadlines for certain exhibits, a sometimes hands-on environment, and probably enough variability and flexibility to keep you interested. Perhaps a minor in art would give you more marketability for those kinds of jobs, too? It is ultimately up to you whether you take the “fun” route or the “safe” route, but if you are able to think long-term (even 10yrs out) about your lifestyle/career/financial goals, I think that will help inform your decision. The great thing about jobs is if you absolutely can’t make it work, you can usually quit 😉

For me, I meandered for a while with jobs — but I always loved working in hospitality and eventually tried every facet of it. Unfortunately, you rarely get decent benefits.

Fast forward to age 34 and I have an office job. I didn’t choose it so much as it seemed to choose me. I work with nightlife industries a lot so the content of my job is engaging, but desk work — and particularly working 5 days in a row, a surprising challenge — is very challenging for me and often leaves me exhausted, as you described. This is because it isn’t in my nature to work this way.

How do I balance that? I do a lot of art things in my free time, take an evening art class now and then at the community college, and I go for a lot of short walks at work. I have a sit-stand desk and a wobble board to stand on at work, plus puzzles and other tactile things to pacify my boredom. This helps keep me from feeling too stir crazy, while affording me the opportunity of a job with many great benefits.

It isn’t easy, and it doesn’t always feel ideal, but it is a good challenge for me because I have a supportive boss, a good psych who has helped me find the right meds and tools, and outside activities that allow me to hyperfocus and get in the flow. That said, I was not mature enough in my early and mid 20s to know how or be willing to work through my ADD challenges so the few times I tried jobs against my nature, I gave up quickly and quit. I know I won’t do this job forever because it feels so against my nature, but it is enabling me to save up a nest egg for when I’m ready to make another move.