Approximately every 11 years I have changed careers...
Career #1: Stagehand/theater technician
I majored in theater in college with a double minor in folklore. I was heading to NY and would either work at a museum or in theater; whichever job came first with a living wage.
Theater won that round. I had a great experience and learned a lot, had fun and had a pretty decent income. BUT after 11 years in NYC, this KY gal got homesick. So back to KY I came. No steady theater job for me in Lexington so I thought about what else I wanted to do. And I got a job at a veterinary clinic for cats.
Career#2: Veterinary Assistant
I started out as the receptionist who kept wandering back to watch surgery and to pet the cats. Finally I asked to move to the assistant role and started training. I LOVED it. Working closely with animals, witnessing how strong the human/animal bond could be. And I started taking home cats...
After about 9 years though, I felt I had gone as far as I could both training and salary-wise. It was time to pick a new profession. So many people liked talking with me and a few had suggested I was a natural therapist. So off to grad school to get my Masters in Social Work with the intention of becoming a grief counselor.
Career #3: LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
I was hired out of grad school at a nonprofit agency that provided "wrap around" services to children and families in home, school and community settings. I was a therapist for 5 years when burnout hit. The work with the most at risk kiddos coupled with a lot of personal/family issues took its toll and I moved into a supervisor position within the agency that allowed me time to regroup. Now I am 9 years in and a new job is in the works. I was thinking this is off by 2 years, it's not 11 years yet! But I am adding in 2 years of Grad School to make the pattern work! ;-)
Career #4: Still an LCSW but...
So I have recently accepted a new position with UK Healthcare. It's exciting and scary and possibly my dream job that takes me to retirement. UK Clinic has come up with a groundbreaking concept and I will be the LCSW helping to create and implement the program.
In a nutshell: Every patient that comes through the clinic will have a team at their disposal: a doctor, nurse, psychologist and LCSW. They will not be passed from doctor to doctor like some clinics do. They will have interventions and resources available to address their total healthcare: physical & mental. The clinic has onsite exam rooms, x-ray, labs, pharmacy, dental, vision and a gym for physical therapy. There are rooms for counseling too. My role will be to provide brief therapeutic interventions along with some case management and resource linkage. It is a bit daunting having no explicit job description but it is up to me to create that along with the help of the other team members. If I do this job well, then it opens up possibilities of hiring more LCSW's to staff the new teams being created over the next year. The goal is to have 5 fully operational teams by 2017.
So, the next 11 years will be exciting and should take me safely into retirement... or some other new adventure, "God willing and the creek don't rise!"