Higher…..education?

I seriously cannot believe that I am considering a master’s program. Yeah, ok, let me back-up.

In Seattle, I was really unhappy with my job. I was underpaid, and had nowhere to really go as far as growth and development. In a city as expensive as Seattle, that wasn’t a good option for the life I wanted to lead. But, I had great co-workers, a boss who trusted me to get the job done, and very little job-related stress. But I felt apathetic. I felt dulled.

I took the job in Michigan because it was a major step-up in position and salary and it had the potential to really propel me to the next level of my career. I was told I would be mentored and trained, that development was a big focus and that there was a lot of work to do. The reality has been pretty different, but I’ll skip the details to say I’ve quickly learned that this career is not what I want to be doing full-time for the rest of my life. The core of who I am just does not fit the goals and ambitions of the business world.

When I graduated college in 2011, I said I would never go back. Working full-time and going to school full-time was the worst. Additionally, I’m not a huge fan of school. Or maybe it’s because it always came in second behind work because I had to support myself? I don’t really know. Regardless, it’s never been in my plan to study again.

But the past year has been one long poking of the universe telling me that this career doesn’t fit me. Sure, I can do it. I’ve been trained to do it, educated to do it. I can look at financial statements and project out cash needs, but I don’t enjoy it. And because I don’t enjoy it, I resent doing it which makes my days at work long and stressful.

So, I started looking at jobs that I was qualified for in fields that would be more inspiring to me. They are…..few and far between. I began looking at jobs that sounded more interesting, and unfortunately, those jobs I was not qualified for, so that left me in quandary.

Last week, after having a conversation with my dear friend back in Seattle about all the unhappiness I was going through and how unsettled I was feeling about everything, she forwarded an email to me that said this:

” This is also a great time to think about how you show up in the world and reflect on life task work, your passions and creativity, and where you may need to upgrade.
It is also a good time to make concrete plans for launching anything new especially projects, business ventures and undertakings you have been dreaming for a while. The motto for this new moon is “I am, I can and I will”. Revisit your practices and your discipline. Is it enough? Too much? Are you doing the things that really serve you? Or are you just acting out of old habits?
This new moon opens up an important portal for restructuring your dreams and intentions. How do you want to see your life as well as our global society for the next section of time? It is important to use this time between the New Moon and the Solstice on the 21st to reflect on what you wish to really upgrade and change and dream in for your life. As we approach the solstice remember to think of releasing any attachment you have to anything in the past. You can still keep the memories but the energy that holds you back from moving forward should be released, even from the positive successes and experiences.”

Now, I don’t know much about new moons and full moons, or solstice things. I’ve never really followed that type of belief, but the words were right on point and on December 21st, I randomly Googled something that linked to another subject that stopped me cold.

I’ll back-up a step further and talk about a Christmas party I attended last weekend. My friends hosted a very grown-up Christmas party for their friends and colleagues at their house, complete with yummy adult beverages, and catered appetizers for munching. The wide variety of people who attended was so much fun, but I would say the majority of them were extremely accomplished in their careers. Interestingly, I spoke with several people who had degrees in Business/Accounting/Finance who had moved away from those fields in the course of their careers, mostly due to changing interests and boredom with their options. I felt relief. Relief that it wasn’t just me, that what I was going through wasn’t a major life-crisis but normal. That it was OK to not want to do the same thing for the rest of my life. It gave me hope and it gave me a sense of peace.

OK, back to my Google search. I had Googled a Master’s in Fine Arts because I heard someone at the Christmas party mention having one, and I was curious to know what it was. As I was reading through the Wikipedia page, it mentioned a focus in Arts Administration and I immediately clicked on the hyperlink associated to learn more about it. From there, I fell down the rabbit hole of research and looking at the courses associated. It seemed to encompass everything I was wanting, while allowing me to not be an artist. It would play to my business strengths and put me right in the thick of artistic endeavors. I started dreaming of various jobs I could do, getting more and more excited about the possibilities. Interestingly, none of them were associated with salary.

When I chose to study Accounting in college, I did so out of a need to ensure my financial future. I never wanted to be at risk for being poor having grown up that way. I wanted to make sure I always knew I could feed and clothe myself, make a home for myself. After my necessities, then I started wanting to ensure I could live the type of life I dreamed of, traveling whenever I wanted, buying whatever gadget I wanted, grabbing the bill at dinner for friends. I didn’t want to stress out about money. But, I think there’s a middle-ground I can find. Sure, it’ll mean being way more careful with how I spend money, but it’ll be worth it if I’m happy the 8 hours a day that I’m at work.

In having conversations with my friends about this discovery, most of them have been very supportive and extremely excited for me. One conversation led to a comment about an expensive degree for a low-paying job, and while it’s true that it wouldn’t make sense, I’m willing to take the risk. Years ago, I chickened out of pursuing something I loved in exchange for the dependable accounting degree. And I have regretted it ever since. The question has always been in the back of mind: “What would have happened? Would I have made it and been successful? Would my life be completely different? Would I be completely different?”. I don’t want to do that again. I want to try. Hell, I’ve already taken ridiculous risks in 2017, I might as well continue to the pattern.

This is obviously not a quick decision, and I’m taking the time to research, plan and prepare. But I hope it works out. I hope I can make it happen, like I have other things in my world. One thing I will always be is persistent of a life that matters, a life that gives back, a life that loves fully. I’ve faced death once and won. I won’t squander the rest.

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