Finding New Career That Fits and Pays the Bills


Michele writes:
I am a 30-year-old woman in need of a career change. I have my
bachelor’s degree in psychology and am currently working on my associate’s in
graphic design. I worked in the field of mental health and became “burned out.”
The reason I’m writing to you is that I need to increase my salary and find a career
that I enjoy. I am very creative and work very well with people. I enjoy the arts and
have thought about working in museums as a curator or art dealer. I have had difficulty
finding information about these careers and whether the salary could pay my bills!!! If you have any advice on where I should go from here I would appreciate it.


The Career Doctor responds:
Wow. Your letter is almost a textbook example of a person in career crisis. Too often we
stay in one job or one field too long and experience burn out as you mention…and then
we often move into panic mode because we don’t know where to go.
The good news for you is that you are doing all the right things. You have taken a
self-assessment and reviewed both your strengths and interests — and you are moving in
the right direction in finding a new career you’ll enjoy. But while I understand the need
to pay the bills I always worry about someone who mentions salary so close to career.
First because many career changers often must take a lower salary as they pay their
dues in their new career field and second because while I recognize money is a big
part of who many of us are salary should not drive our career choices.
OK. Take me off my soapbox. You are obviously creative enjoy the arts and work well
with people — a great combination. I’m not sure about the graphics design degree
but if you are also taking some art courses it certainly could help you as you possibly
transition into the art world.
Where do you go from here? You’ve done the hard part in taking a hard look at yourself
so now comes the fun part — researching careers in art. There are so many possibilities:
go online go to your local library contact the career services professionals from your
alma mater track down alums who work in the art field conduct informational interviews.
Please realize that you may need to volunteer or intern to get the necessary experience
to make the transition to your new career but you’ll learn the most by talking to people
in the field.
Find more resources for career change in this section of Quintessential Careers:
Job and Career
Resources for Career Changers
.