Dear Therapist: I’m in my early 30s and want to shift career paths entirely but I’m now thinking, is that responsible of me? My husband and I want to start a family in the next year or so, so I’m really going back and forth on if now is the right time to make a big shift that could impact us financially. But then the other voice in my head says, “if not now, when”. It’s a conversation we have over and over, and I just want to make a decision. Do you have advice on how to make a decision like this?
Frame Therapist Daniel Sapoznick weighs in...
Leaving a safe but unsatisfying career path is itself a challenging decision to make. And -- I know first hand as a father of two kids under 5yrs -- that adding the immeasurable and often impossible-feeling task of being a good-enough-parent to that equation would appear to easily tip the answer to 'Stay' side of the current 9-to-5. I'd say there are a number of other variables which are crucial to consider on both sides of the equation.
What is the arc of your family's financial picture / plan at this point in your shared trajectory ? Already home-owners, or happily *not* home owners; Is your partner's income sufficient to comfortably float the family for an extended period of time while you retool & ramp-up in your new path?
Less obviously, but also important to consider: If you choose to play it safe yet find yourself increasingly dissatisfied with work, what are the potential negative aspects of that path that may affect how you handle the awesome stress of becoming a parent. I'm writing this sitting here in Northern California, so when I say "awesome" in this context I mean both, "like way cool dude" and "like the most challenging thing you've ever tried." Being able to share that you love what you do with your children is unfortunately a somewhat unique but deeply impactful part of our equation. And ultimately of course, there are many more variables, likely of significant value, which are unique to your situation.
Consider drafting a +'s & -'s column. Do it in at least two passes. An initial draft, sleep on it, and a second pass the next day, or at the end of a weekend. And, on a somewhat sober yet whimsical note, I'd say there's no luck in this decision-making process: take your time with it and aim to find the balance between what my cooly rational suggestions equate to, and what your heart may already be telling you.
About the Therapist: Daniel Sapoznick is an LCSW based in CA. He calls his approach with clients "collaborative and active". Learn more about Daniel by exploring his Frame profile here.
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