Is there ever a perfect time to make a major life change? Not really. You can do your best to project the perfect time to have a baby or to buy house but there's really no guarantee what the future has in store for us and that can be very daunting. Especially for those of us who like to plan every little detail of life (okay, not really but pretty much).
Recently I made a major career shift and I want to tell you how I went about my decision making process of jumping from one ship to another.
For over 10 years I have been working as a forensic therapist with criminal offenders in the community. It's what I studied in grad school, it's what I researched, and it is the area in which I have built my expertise. If you are reader of my Career Central posts you know that I have spent a lot of time and energy in this field, including taking it upon myself to present related material in international platforms (which allows me to travel to some great places!).
But no matter how much I have invested in my past, I am constantly looking towards my future. Trying to predict where my life will go and what I will want. It's no easy task to look through a cloudy crystal ball. But I knew a few things while contemplating my forward moving path. I knew that I would eventually be moving a little bit closer to downtown Los Angeles in the next couple of years. And I also knew that I wanted to prevent major burn out in my career, meaning I did not want to start hating my job. It's heavy stuff and it definitely causes some wear and tear on the psyche. I also knew that I wanted to take prior experience and apply it to something new; something that I could learn as a new trade while applying my already developed skills. It excited me to think about being the new person soaking in the training and knowledge of others in new territory.
So last year I put in for a job in downtown LA that I thought might have some openings in the next year or two. To my surprise the process moved rather quickly and once I was hired, they needed me to start four months sooner than anticipated. It was wonderful to choose between two great careers but it was a no-brainer once I saw that the new position met all of my aforementioned needs.
I just finished my first week. I have a wonderful new colleague who started with me, amazing new supervisors and co-workers who I aim to be like one day. I also now work as a psychologist for a law enforcement behavioral science unit that is among the best in the country. I may have to work more days a week and commute through some rough traffic right now, but I am also entirely stimulated and energized to be my best self. Only in this state will I be able to best serve my clientele.