Who would I be

One of the first questions we ask others we meet is ‘so, what do you do?’ Or a variation of that. For the last nine years or so, my answer has been ‘I’m a child psychologist.’ I notice a sense of pride creep into my voice when I say that, particularly when I would say I worked in mental health. I guess in some ways, I perceive helping kids and teens, especially troubled ones, as something valuable. It doesn’t mean I think other professions are any less valuable or worthy, it’s just something I feel about myself.

It’s who I am.

Since working in a school this year, I’ve noticed that sense of pride ebb a bit. Almost as if it’s not good enough. It’s not tough enough. It’s weird because experience tells me it’s still hard work. But deep down I feel like I was helping more when I worked in mental health.

Some months ago, as I started getting disillusioned by my job, I began wondering if it was the profession itself. Maybe I needed a complete change. I know of psychologist friends and acquaintances who have kind of given up on it. One has followed her creative dreams. Others are within the field but either teaching or working in the sector without any face-to-face work.

I began looking for writing jobs but also other jobs. Administrative ones, policy writing ones, student support ones at uni, or even residential support jobs at uni. I don’t know; I thought I needed a change. But then, as I thought about it, and thought about the introductions I would do, I wondered — could I be anything other than a psychologist?

I struggle calling myself a writer even now {I’ll have a whole other post on that soon!} but apart from that, my entire identity is that of a psychologist. I am neurotic, fucked up and crazy enough to still want to help kids and teens. I still get a sense of satisfaction when I can help. But maybe, I just need a different clientele to help.

As much as I don’t want to be defined by my profession, I can’t help but see any other way I could be. Yes, I’d love to be a writer but I think I would still call myself a psychologist. Because there is something about all that hard work spanning 6 years, all those tough years and sleepless nights, the neuroses endured and definitely, all that insight gained into one’s own mental health that makes you a psychologist.

It’s not an elitist mentality. It’s just what it is. It’s who I am and I guess, who I will always be.

Have you had a career change? How did you deal with defining yourself?

Do share!

***Linking with Mackenzie for #MG and Kylie for IBOT***

Image Source: Pixabay

Until next time,



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  • Teresa Cooper
    2 August 2016 at 6:20 am

    Visiting from #mg. I have changed from being a caseworker for Social Services to being a Special Education Teacher and now I’m a 7th grade Math Teacher. So many changes…and I still feel like I’m not done changing. I write in addition to teaching and raising a child with autism. Busy life!!

  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    2 August 2016 at 8:27 am

    I left aged care, which I loved, to do admin work, which paid a more realistic and liveable wage. I left admin work because it bored me to tears to work in the emergency services, because I wanted to be of use, of service, to help. It’s much better. Is it who I am? Not really. It’s not a vocation, like yours. Just a job that allows me to fulfil a need I have- to help people in some way.
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  • Fatima
    2 August 2016 at 9:12 am

    All you are going through is part of self discovery part of learning who you are . The angst the frustration without it you wouldn’t have known that psychology is apart of your soul .

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection
    2 August 2016 at 10:41 am

    I think what you do is one of the hardest jobs Sanch. Listening to stories that would break your heart. Trying to understand someone who is struggling and being unable to really get inside. Watching negativity around you and unable to stop it. I wouldn’t be strong enough to do what you do Sanch. Keep up the great work #teamIBOT
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  • Kit
    2 August 2016 at 4:20 pm

    I have had a big life change thanks in part to a monumental breakdown. I have no idea what I will do when I am “better” but I know the things I don’t want to do. I have the luxury of a partner who can pay all our bills until I am better.
    I really admire the work you do it is so important. I have worked as a teacher in high schools and kids need someone to talk to so many don’t, won’t or can’t turn to their parents and don’t have anyone else to turn to. Perhaps you can take a sabbatical so keep the job you have but take 6mths off do some menial contract work something completely unrelated to your work in school to clear your head so to speak and then with a fresh head go back to the school.
    Just a thought

  • JF Gibson
    2 August 2016 at 9:51 pm

    I’m slowly learning I don’t have to be one thing. I think it’s all a learning process. Do what feels right for now and trust your gut.
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  • Paula, The Geeky Shopaholic
    3 August 2016 at 2:27 am

    I wonder about this too. I’ve been in retail for 16 years. I’ve been a supervisor for 15 of those years. Right now I’m considering a change, but I wonder who I would be if I did. I’ve been in charge so long could I ever be anything else? Would I still be me? Interesting post!
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  • Vanessa
    3 August 2016 at 7:40 pm

    This is very hard for me becuase I’ve never been able to get stable employment in my actual field (SO dependent on funding cycles), so I’ve always had two “careers” and right now, I’m hugely struggling with feeling like my more senior skills are being way under-utilised. But I remind myself that having a non senior job means i get to go home on time and study and all that.
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  • Mackenzie Glanville
    6 August 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I never liked saying I am a nurse, just like now i evener tell people that I was a nurse, I think because I never identified myself with that career choice. Although their were so many elements I loved about nursing, it was never my passion. I wanted to be a teacher of psychology or a psychologist and although I studied psychology I was talked into doing nursing for the job opportunities. Then after having children I stayed at home with them, but I felt calling myself a stay at home mum was something I shouldn’t be proud of. I was happy with my choice to stay home with my children but felt judged by it when you are asked “what do you do all day?” It makes you feel inadequate, but that’s my own ‘shit’ if you know what I mean. I am now coming to trails I am in no way defined by my job, I am a writer, I am a mother, and I work at a taxation office doing administrative work. I am loving my jobs right now, but more than that I am more confident in my own choices. I own my choices and I know I can make new ones if I want. I will never let others tell me what to do again. #mg
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