Wednesday, 7 December 2005

High achievers, hard fallers

Right.

What I actually meant to write about is big choices. Not little ones like 'what do I get my mum for Christmas' but big ones, like 'what country do I want to spend the rest of my life in' and 'do I ever want to have children'.

Now the good thing about these big ones is that you can obviously always change your mind; once you've decided to live in the Bahamas you could always just change your mind and move to the Dominican Republic after a few years.

But as you get older, it appears these large shifts in life get trickier to pull off.

I always wanted to work in the media, ever since I was about 12 years old and realised that if I became a vet it would lead to me having a zoo at home consisting of animals I was too soft to put down.

And now I am, and I feel disillusioned.

This could be partly because I was always best at everything, at school and university I was a 'high achiever'. I didn't even make an effort to be that way, nor did my parents push me. I just did my work and had friends and all the teachers liked me, the combination of which is in itself a wonder.

But of course, unless you're incredibly well connected you will usually enter the media industry from the bottom. I don't resent this, although one of my colleagues did point out that it's not necessarily very stimulating to be in a job "which could be done by a mentally challenged 12-year old with his eyes closed".

However, there are just very few opportunities to shine. You show up on time, you do your job, you go home. It is not that everyone else here is better at the job, or cleverer than me, it's just that it is so basic in many ways that nobody will notice whether or not you are actually making an effort.

So now I am thinking of leaving, despite being promoted from February onwards. I have realised that sticking it out here means years of slugging through the grades as a desk journalist, when what I really want is to work with people.

Am I just being too impatient? Obviously if I change careers to psychology it will mean starting from the bottom again, although depressingly I would earn more than I do now because of the crap wages of the media sector.

At least if I change careers I get to do hands-on work with real individuals, and I get to make a difference to people's life, if not constantly then at least on a regular basis. I could work with research which might actually mean something to someone. I don't mean to say that Big Brother and What Not To Wear aren't important parts of people's lives, but it really is not the same.

And more importantly, I could choose where I want to live, as many Western countries have an increasing demand for psychologists, rather than moving somewhere random as a journalist and being demoted to working for a local TV station (I think not!).

But am I giving up on a good thing because it's not feeding my ego enough? I love the environment I work in, the people I work with, how I come in every day and have no idea what will happen by the end of it.

Yet it's time to make up my mind.

If I don't move now, I might never do it and regret it for the rest of my life. If

I dont' move now, I'll never have 'time' to have a family, not that you ever have time really, but it is harder when you're still in full-time education.

But then again maybe I'm being too sensible and impatient and thereby depriving myself of a carreer I've always thought I wanted.

Sigh.

But if I regret it, I guess I could always become the next Cosmopolitan shrink, or something.

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4 comments:

  1. I'm guessing you're doing the report writing (I'm assuming you're in the print press) not the feature writing. you're good at looking at things in various angles, you should take up feature writing (it pays more too).
    or if you are into media reporting, it does take a while to be in the spot light...
    if you want to take up something else (like psychology), you don't have to give up being a journalist (you can always freelance)...
    just sharing my bit, but it's always good to walk away from something that is less satisfying to something that is more. you are a people's person(let's gloss over room mate rants)and as you said it yourself, you're gifted with being good at anything you take up...

    you can always be the guest psychologist on a show or have your own show ;) all the best!

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  2. I'd have to say that life is too short to be constantly thinking about what could have been... If you want to go after something that is really meaningful to you then do it, and if it doesn't work out then at least you can live the rest of your life knowing that you did something for yourself once.

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  3. I had no idea you had a journalism degree. That's interesting to me because I was working on mine... but I came to the same conclusion as you. But please, for the love of orphans everywhere, don't become another Dr. Phil. I hate that crazy Texan bastard with all the ventricles of my heart.

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  4. Thanks for all these musings, it really does help! I haven't made up my mind yet. My contract runs till the end of April so I can still think about it till late Jan before I have to start looking for other work this way or that... Maybe I just want to go into psych so I can therapise myself! Def. going out for a drink after work today!!

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Thanks for not just lurking..

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