Have you studied the 'wrong thing'?
The moment you realize you don't want to do work your education title dictates is a golden opportunity to return to your purpose.
Have you also studied the wrong thing? I studied to be a teacher of Spanish and Sociologist of culture. Two different things that I was ‘supposed’ to do after finishing my studies. And yet, there was something in me that said: "No, that’s not where my place is."
It was really really difficult to move away from what I studied for because I made a conscious, informed decision about my choice. I invested 8 years of study (with about 3 years of study abroad, work, study switch, illness etc). And when I finished I knew within a year that was not what I wanted to be doing.
That moment can be disheartening. Oh, no! It can be such a shocker when you figure out that what you studied for is not what you want.
Maybe you figured out that you’ve been misled to what was needed on the market.
Maybe you realized that what you studied for is not needed at all on the market.
Or maybe you were told that this is really good for you, that you should be pursuing that particular career and then … Ding doooong: "That is not what I want to be doing! Yaiks, what now?"
Well, lady, you are not alone.
Recently, I worked with a smart young woman at the end of her studies and while she was writing her final thesis she realized: "Oooh, probably this is not what I want." But finishing that study was a really big thing because she felt expectations fo the society and her surrounding to finish. Not to mention, there are unpleasant real-life consequences if you do not have a certain level of education finished and yet, you want to work in the field. If you don’t have it then you limit your possibilities in the job market etc.
So she came to me and said: "Neža, I think I studied the wrong thing. I'm feeling stuck. What can I do?"
We decided to take a gentle look at WHY she thought that is the case. And not from a place of judgment (imagine this condescending, judgmental ominous voice asking you "Why do you think you studied the wrong thing?" Brrrr! :S)
Nooo, no, not on my watch! We opted for putting on our curiosity glasses and have fun exploring the possible reasons for her doubts and inner pressure.
You think you studied the wrong thing? How interesting! Let’s take a look under the surface.
here are a few conclusions you might come to
As you trickle down your thoughts following the journey why you believe you studied the wrong thing,
What you currently do doesn't really give you the joy anymore.
No joy, no butterflies, no smiles, just bah!
It’s not doing what I thought it would do.
Many women who studied law come to a point where their ideas about the justice system crumble. Disillusioned, all they want to do is to get away from the law because they experience it as anything but the system ensuring justice in the world.
The number of times that I heard women who studied medicine, teaching, architecture … all of those big, traditionally very respected professions, career choices say the same. Disillusion. Mistrust in the systems they so dearly believed in before.
So when we peel back layers of disappointment, what is still there? What it is that spark, that idea that pulled into this career decision? Go back. Give yourself permission to dream ‘backwards’.
What was the dream that made sign up for the law, medicine, teaching, architecture…?
I bet there is some type of beautiful wish to help people with a cause you so dearly believe in (I bet to say you still believe in it).
Or you recognized a very big talent in you and wanted to share it with the world through that career.
Go back to that dream and remind yourself of this beautiful spark that you were pursuing when deciding for your studies.
Give yourself permission to enjoy that you made this decision from an inner longing for something really beautiful.
And when you are there, take that particular longing and look at the world around you through that filter. I hope you will see a different array of possibilities.
I still remember the moment I decided to become a teacher.
I was in 5th grade, 12 years old, and I could not understand why my peers were constantly complaining: “Eeeh, learning, so boring". I didn’t get it - I found learning so cool. For me, learning was a detective game (aha, during summer holiday I read a ton of detective novels).
"Come on, people," I thought to myself, "You look under the surface, you investigate, you become curious where does the path lead. I can discover so many things about the world - isn’t that amazing?!"
When I shared this enthusiasm, the responses of my peers was mainly
Yes, I was a local nerd, and I’m ok with that.
I did my work on inner healing on ‘You’re a nerd, you’re strange, we will bully you for it’… I'm passed that. But what I remember is the determination I felt in that 5th grade when I looked around the classroom and everybody was bored to death.
No, that cannot be. I was going to prove that learning can be fun. I set off to become a teacher of Slovenian to prove kids wrong and show them that oh, learning can be so much fun!
I ended up becoming a Sociologist of culture (I know, sounds exotic - it’s been a lot of fun to study) Spanish teacher (after switching from studying to be a teacher of Slovenian).
Here comes the first slap in the face …
After finishing my study I was full of determination to fill my students with love and enthusiasm for learning. Once I started teaching I realized that the (educational) system is looking at me weird when I pursued this longing of fun and playfulness in education
"Nooo, this is too much fun, they are not learning. Your methods (=faciltiation and not teaching) are unconventional and frankly, weird." They whispered behind my back.
However, my students were always saying, Neža, we are always learning so much with you!
At that moment I decided that I want to re-examine if the educational system is a place where I can thrive.
Second slap in the face …
Through investigation, I realized the answer was a clear NO. Staying in the educational system would probably force me to become an administrative worker for covering my own butt and not focusing on what I was in it for - the love of learning and development of my students.
Oh, no! Not again. Now what?
And that’s what eventually brought me to start my own business and establish this learning and teaching channel here under my terms.
But boy, was it a journey?! Was it a journey of "I studied the wrong thing"? Yup. Was it a journey through confusion and disappointment once I realized that the profession I studied for wasn’t going to bring me what I was counting on? Hell, yes.
Through all these years I was pursuing this question
"How can things be easier, how can things be fun and how can I enjoy the process of inevitable change?" This relentless pursuit brought me to be doing what it is that I’m doing today.
So, back to YOU and your own experience, dear lady.
Trickle it down. Remind yourself of why were you drawn to this career choice in the first place. Even though right now you might think "This is not what I want. I just want to get away from it."
Go to the core, write it down. Then look at the world around you through that filter.
And I hope you will find some waaay more nourishing for you.
If you need help on this journey, I created a Career Change Kit for curious women like you that you can download and start learning, start investigating. Put your curiosity glasses on today and let’s get this party started!
Love, Neža and GluGlu