Switching career paths/ huge pay cut! Help!

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    Hello there everyone.

    I just recently joined this community and I am very grateful for the ability to glean from others experiences and have logged on numerous times when I am feeling down and needed some support. So, thank you.

    Sorry this is so long- but I really hope someone can help me.

    I am a Registered Nurse. I started my career doing bedside nursing for 5 years then switched to nursing administration- a clinical supervisor-for the last 3 years. My administration role still included some clinical aspects but for the most part the past 3 years have been administrative and it has been a very difficult transition. Yes, I say transition because even after 3 years, I still feel like I am such an amateur at this job

    A little background about me, I am 30 years old and when I first started the supervisor position I was 27 years old. I took the job with the intention of gaining more experience and learn how to deal with people that are difficult. I had also been involved with this employer for 5 years at this point and I wanted to be part of possibly creating positive change for the department. Looking back on it now, I may have been naive to think that a 27 year old could instantly come and immediately create positive change, without first having to overcome some hurdles..hurdles that I did not see at all. As a matter of fact I was blindsided by them. So much so that the first 2- 2.5 years (yes, pretty much the whole time) of that job I was in a major depression. On my days off I would sit inside my apartment, blinds closed, in my pajamas all day watching TV on the couch. I got major social anxiety as a result of this job and family and friends have both commented at how my personality as changed and am different. The most difficult part about this job was three fold. The staff I used to work along side with (including some that were 20 years my senior), I would now be supervising. Secondly, I had no idea people lied as much as they did and I didn’t know that it could be viewed at as okay. Thirdly, all these insecurities and views about myself that came out. For example, all of a sudden being in this role, everybody intimidated me. All of a sudden I had no backbone. (Fourthly, the staff I supervised were mean people!) (Fifth-my boss lied like crazy but she was one of the “best directors” of the department that the staff has had in years).

    I reached a point where I said to myself what am I doing? Can I see myself doing this for 25-30 more years? I grew up with such a romanticized idea of how my career would play out. I did not foresee this at all. I fear that I jumped into something before I had a chance to mature. It hit my like a ton of bricks.

    I’m now at a point where I’m exploring careers within nursing that are completely different. I’m not married I don’t have kids so I feel like I have the chance to do this. I found a school nursing job at a Music College and I am excited about it. I have always been involved in music and curious to learn more. I sang and played piano when I was younger. I want to do something more aligned with what excites me.

    This all sounds great right-like a no brainer-make the switch and explore! However, there is one big thing, it will be a significant pay cut-almost 50K! While I know that money is not everything—let’s be real that’s a lot! (or is it?)

    I can’t decide if I should continue going down the administrative path-a path that I still am new at, and there are a lot of opportunities to advance and also be monetarily compensated well OR to essentially start over in a different space with a big pay cut, having no real “job security”, but taking a risk a chance and doing something that excites me… Is it too risky?

    A lot is riding on this for me personally. I’m the youngest of 5 siblings. I grew up being silly and goofy. I was overweight when I was younger so my brothers would verbally bully me and I feel like Ive been trying to prove to everyone and myself that I am a strong person that I have stamina to make it through tough times. I feel pressure from friends who are successfully advancing their way through their career.

    Any advice or experience with anyone switching career paths and taking a significant pay cut in hopes to get a more fulfilling job aligned with their passions/what excites them………. I welcome any and all advice.

    Hope all this makes sense.

    Peace and Love.







    Dear Namaste:

    I will read and reply to you when I am back to the computer in about 11 hours from now.



    Dear Namaste0320:

    A little about your childhood: you are the youngest of 5 siblings. You were overweight when younger and your brothers verbally bullied you. You grew up “being silly and goofy”.

    You shared that you are a 30 year old single woman, a Registered Nurse. You did bedside  nursing for 5 years, then switched to a clinical supervisor position in nursing administration for the last 3 years. During these 3 years you encountered hurdles that you didnt foresee, and for the first 2 or 2.5 years of these three years you experienced major social anxiety and major depression. On your days off you sat inside your apartment with the blinds closed, in your pajamas all day, watching TV on the couch.

    The hurdles at the job: 1. Being still in your 20s and supervising staff members much older than you, some 20 years older, and who are also “mean people!” 2. “I had no idea people lied as much as they did and I didn’t know that it could  be viewed as okay.. my boss lied like crazy but she was one of the ‘best directors’ of the department that the staff has had in years”.

    You came into the role with a “romanticized idea” of the career world, the above 2 items hit you “like a ton of bricks”, and “all of a sudden being in this role, everybody intimidated me. All of a sudden I had no backbone”.

    You are now exploring other careers within nursing, and you found a school nursing job at a Music College. You are excited about it, having musical background, but the pay cut will be almost 50 thousand dollars. So on one hand you currently have a job that pays good money and “a lot of opportunity to advance and also be monetarily compensated well” or a job that pays 50K less with “no real ‘job security'”.

    The motivation you had since an early age when you were bullied by your four older brothers was this: “I’ve been trying to prove to everyone and myself that I am a strong person, that I have the stamina to make it through tough times”. You are also motivated to compete with friends “who are successfully advancing their way through their career”.

    My input: first thing that comes to my mind is that quality psychotherapy during part of the last 3 years would have been a good idea, because you were able to afford it, and it would have been a good  place to explore your difficulties at the job. It would have been a good investment financially because it could have resulted in your staying in this lucrative career path.

    If you decide to stay at your current position, I suggest you seek quality psychotherapy as soon as possible.

    I assume people at the college will not be as mean and lie so much there because it may be a more laid back workplace (because less money and less financial advancement is involved). So I assume it will not be as difficult for you as your current position, it will not hit you “like a ton of bricks” when you are actually on the job, but it may still be disappointing because just as you had a romanticized idea about the nursing administration career path, you may have a romanticized idea about the school nursing job at the college, a romanticized idea that is currently fueling your excitement.

    Reads to me that having been bullied by your 4 older brothers, and not having been effectively protected from that bullying by your parents, affected you a lot. Maybe you were “silly and goofy” growing up in an effort to have that bullying slide off you, not sinking deep. Fast forward, the older staff members at your current job, being “mean people!” represent your older brothers, in your mind, and as a result you experienced the anxiety and depression that you experienced as a child, when bullied.

    All in all, it is possible that it is better for you to take the new job, if the income is enough for you to be able to live comfortably, and if it includes a good health care program. On the other hand, if you find an excellent psychotherapist (and maybe a short term psychiatric medication), you may make it through your current hurdles and over time, in the future, make positive changes in the nursing administration field. It will take enduring the current boss’s dishonesty simply because there is nothing you can do about it. If you quit- she will still be dishonest, she will still lie, and so, you will not make the work place you will be leaving- a better place because you left.

    What do you think about my input so far?


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