From a LW:
“I am a woman in my late 30’s. I recently turned another year older and am working towards goals I have. When I was in high school several years ago, I was in a work program study and they insisted at the time that we chose a field to work in long term for when we got out of high school. I tried retail and hated it and then I tried a daycare center. The daycare center was better than retail. Looking back, I wished I had tried other fields like receptionist, marketing, or event planning because guess where I am stuck now: working in childcare. I have been working in childcare for the past 15 years and I am burnt out. I love my kids and coworker but I’ll never make enough money in that field to feel financially secure and successful. Even if I did, I want to try a new field or pursue a field similar to some of my other goals and dreams. I feel bad saying that because I truly love all the children I work with. I am currently working on a degree that is in a language I have a passion for. The class I am currently taking is harder than past classes and proving difficult to understand. I don’t want to give up though and I don’t plan on doing so. I am a creative person who loves acting and theater and making things and planning events. So instead of childcare forever, what other career options are available for me to work towards? I want a back up plan in case I get delayed longer then I anticipate.
My brother insists that I have a plan and that I research whatever field I think about changing too. I want to start with ideas before I set a solid plan in place with the expectation of “that’s what your going to do until the end”. I should mention now that I don’t drive but I envision myself doing many things (not just one boring career) and being successful enough to have a driver. My brother thinks I am unrealistic and he and I don’t see eye to eye. He has two children who are high maintenance and he and his wife require a lot of help with them. They are 1 1/2 and 5 months. Shockingly, my family doesn’t understand why I don’t want to be around my nephews on the weekend after working 40 hours during the week with other high maintenance children. My comfort level for kids is 3 and up since they can talk and communicate. I have explained this to my parents but they don’t seem to get it. I love my nephews but they are loud and by the end of the week, I am tired and want to relax and meet up with friends if I can. My aunt is one of the nicest and most generous people and has helped me, my parents, uncle, and brother and his wife out multiple times. However, if I talk to her about my hopes and dreams, she gets frustrated and then angry and begins to yell if I don’t agree with her. This unfortunately usually happens in the car as she sometimes gives me rides places I need to go. I’ve learned not to bring that up again. I told my mom about it and she said “you can be frustrating sometimes” but so can she and my aunt! So can my brother and everyone else in my family. I am not perfect and I have my flaws like everyone else but I don’t think that means I deserve to be yelled at. Also, who can I talk to about my hopes and dreams? I’ve already journaled about them, prayed, wished, and hoped for them in addition to working on trying to make them a reality. One of them does entail being in shape which I am slowly working on. I am constantly trying to lose weight and I am stuck as I have a sweet tooth. I got my dad’s sweet tooth and his side of the family loves their sweets and sugar and never went a day without desert. There is also no shortage of ice cream in the freezer whether it’s dairy or dairy free. I am lactose intolerant and so is my brother. I try to control my sugar cravings and manage my sugar intake but sometimes it’s really hard on the days when I have high stress at work with children with behavioral issues.
What should I do? I want out of the childcare field and I thought about taking online classes in other fields but I don’t know how long that would take and I don’t feel like my family will support me in doing it. I also don’t want to be stuck in childcare while I work on it. One of my best friends told me that she has a friend who was working in childcare and was burnt out and they got a job as a receptionist even though they have no prior experience. One of my now ex coworkers left my current place of work because she was burnt out and now she has a job as a receptionist that pays more. What are my next steps? I have long term goals and short term goals but even the short term goals feel like long term ones now.
My mother thinks I need to see a therapist but she didn’t specify for what. It simply can’t be because I’d like to follow all my dreams as far as I can before it’s too late and I am no longer able. I am open to seeing one for help with letting go of resentment towards past bullies but I am done hearing people say “that’s not realistic” or “your not going to be able to do that”. I am done with the unsupportive BS. I love my family and tolerate their “constructive” criticism because they can be wise and occasionally do have good tips or advice. They helped me get away from a toxic ex who yelled at me a lot (again in a car), was verbally and mentally abusive to me, and manipulated me several times. They also help pay for my apartment because my income as a preschool teacher would never be enough alone. My parents come to visit on the weekends and have a room they stay in. My brother and his wife come over during the day when their older son’s nanny is at their house.
There’s a lot going on here. Career burnout, family issues, weight issues, past bullies, and a toxic ex… therapy sounds like a pretty good idea. I don’t know why you need your mom to tell you what therapy may help you with when you’ve rattled off a fairly long list of issues that make you feel stuck.
I’m no expert, but you can probably find a receptionist position without having past experience as one. Update your resume and highlight your transferable skills. Since you mention marketing and event planning as areas of interest, perhaps you can find a job as a receptionist at a related company. Can you ask your former coworker for advice?
It sounds like you’re currently working on a degree in a foreign language, which is fine, but why not focus on something more relevant to what you want to do? TBH I’m not sure what that is and I’m not even sure you know. Marketers usually have degrees in marketing, communications, or business. Even event planners often have similar degrees, or one in hospitality management. There’s nothing wrong with pursuing education for the sake of learning, but higher ed is unreasonably expensive so you may as well be working toward something that would be a stepping stone toward your goals. You say you don’t know how long that’ll take, but time is going to pass anyway. Would you rather spend it working toward a goal or feeling stuck in a role you no longer enjoy?
Also, why not go to your school’s career center? That’s literally why they exist, to help people like you. All schools should have that and that’d be a more concrete step toward a better future than journaling and praying. I’m with your brother that you should have a plan in place and unfortunately, I do think your expectations sound out of touch with reality if you expect to have a personal driver. A career you love that also pays handsomely is not going to fall in your lap, and it won’t happen at all without the right credentials/experience.
Regarding your family, you’re allowed to take a step back from them.
Regarding your weight loss, you don’t have to cut out all your favorite treats to be healthier or drop a few pounds. Eat sensibly, enjoy sweet treats in moderation, and find movement that makes you feel good. Add produce to your meals/snacks. Start your day with a morning walk or bike ride. I think a lot of people often think that happiness and confidence and their dream life will be waiting for them on the other side of weight loss, but you’ll still be you. Some people are also naturally in larger bodies and that’s okay.