Life Happens: How do I know when it’s time for a new career?

The turn into 2021 suggested a cosmic shift for me. I recall feeling that big things were going to happen this year, the largest of which would be the saddest – the passing of my mother. We had no way of knowing in January that it was going to happen (and it happened 11 days ago), but I had this nagging sense that things were going to change and change they did – relatively rapidly.

The months leading up to her final days, I began to question a lot of things. I pulled back from people to conserve my energy, choosing to engage less frequently. I considered the strength and purpose of relationships, if these relationships were a benefit to me or just a way to fill time. I examined my career and was (and am) trying to determine if what I am doing is what I want to be doing. I am thinking about the stress of it and pairing my grief with that of my clients ~ asking: Am I going to be able to assist them properly while managing my own thoughts and feelings? Asking next: And do I want to?

There are all sorts of articles online about this very topic, but I think that figuring out when to know when it’s your time to go is personal – no amount of Google searches is going to make your decision easier. I sometimes look to others for feedback when I should be trusting myself. Nobody else knows me as well as I do and the best decision I can make for myself would, naturally, be very different than someone else’s decision for me. We are a product of our own perceptions and experiences; as much as we can try to put ourselves in their proverbial shoes, we are limited.

Instead of relying on others to aide me in determining if I am meant to continue being an estate and trust administration paralegal, I am going to carry on with my quiet consideration. I am going to pay attention to my thoughts and feelings to ensure that whatever decision I make is not rash or emotional. My heart may be broken but that does not mean I have truly lost heart in my work. I could be having a completely normal emotional reaction to my mother’s passing and attaching it to the nature of what my area of law is – all things post-death. In plain words: I may not necessarily be having these feelings if I worked in another area or law or was in a different career path entirely.

I am very blessed in that I do not suffer from a lot of the typical work-place issues that others do. I do not work in a toxic environment; I have experienced no bullying, no regular, super-unrealistic expectations. There’s always something new to learn and my bosses have always been very flexible and understanding of me and my family’s needs. I am treated extremely well and I feel appreciated. My workload is too much for one person, but no one is pressuring me to work overtime nor treating me as if I could be or should be doing more. People that find themselves depressed due to work, whether it is the work itself or your co-workers and managers, the answer is easy: Go. Prioritize yourself and move forward. I hope you kick ASS at whatever it is you choose to do! Nobody deserves a beat down from their job every day.

So, I will sit with myself on this.

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