Monday, May 12, 2008

Ponderings of what to do next with my life

Originally uploaded by Daniel Naranjo

I have recently been giving a lot of thought to what I would like to do career wise with my life. The whole having my hours cut at work has been somewhat of a catalyst making me look at my current life and family situation and plan out a bit where I want to go. So if you will indulge me I'll share my current list of choices on the table with my thoughts for each plan. Here are the options I have come up with so far:

  1. Continue with the status quo: For those of you playing along at home, the status quo is me working one day a week at the clinic, and the other days staying home and being a full time mom/Relief Society president.
  • Pro's: Plenty of good mommy time with Bella. Financially we can swing this option with no major lifestyle sacrifices or acquiring extra debt. No need to add complications to the current childcare situation. A stable situation that would not be unduly complicated if we decided to add another child to the mix in another year or so.
  • Con's: I don't do very well being at home all day with little structure. When my main goal for the day is showering and getting the two of us dressed, that is sometimes all we manage to get done. I often find myself frustrated from limited adult interaction and not using my education and clinical skills to their full potential. I really like my job and the population I work with and would like to improve my skills but this is happening in a rather piecemeal way right now.

2. Go back to school and get my PhD. in Social Work: I have my Masters degree and advanced LCSW licence so this is the next step up. The funniest thing is that I was exploring this option on the U of U's social work PhD page and my picture is on the page. It must have been taken my last year in grad school. Talk about a sign.

  • Pro's: I could see myself doing some teaching on a college level and there is a lot of focus in the U's program on Geriatric social work and they have a research institute set up with that focus so if I decided to go this route I should have support in my area of interest. There is also a grant opportunity from a foundation offering $25,000 a year for PhD students doing their dissertations in Geriatric Social work. It is competitive but a possibility. Plus the U has some decent childcare options for students which may address the what to do with Bella question. I have a supportive boss and should be able to work my schedule around to be able to keep my job while I do school if I would like.
  • Con's: This is a big, long term commitment. It means less time with the little one, and life would be more complicated by the addition of any other little ones to our family. The Blue Prince still has two more years in his plumbing program and it may be hard to have both of us doing school at the same time. We may need to take out student loans if grant options don't pan out. The application deadline for this program are in Feb. so if I do decide to go this route I wouldn't even actually apply till next year.

3. Getting a Gerontology certificate or Masters Degree: Since I already have a master's degree in a related field, the certificate would be more realistic. This is actually the middle ground between the two above options that I am the most strongly considering for right now.

  • Pro's: It seems to be a fairly flexible program, giving you up to 3 years to complete 15 credit hours of classwork and practicum. Some of the practicum options look very intriguing including some private Geriatric Care Management placements which is an area I've strongly considered working in (basically a private practice where you give advice and help seniors and their families make plans for their current and future needs). Doing a practicum in this area would give me a feel for the business end and much needed mentoring. I could do the program as a matriculated or non-matriculated student (which might be cheaper) but if I do decided to go on they would only count hours I did as a matriculated student. They start the program every semester. When I called they said that summer semester starts this week and that they would be happy to have me jump right in, but I think a bit more planning is needed so I would probably shoot for the August start instead. Again I could probably still work things around my current work schedule and keep my job.
  • Con's: I would need to look into childcare options and figure out how to pay for it but at least as a matriculated student I would be able to take advantage of on-campus resources.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post. I think this was more for me than anyone else in order to get my mind sorted out, but I would love comments as to what other think of my plotting.


Anonymous said...

You should go for the Phd. Out of these three options, I think that you'll get the most out of it. The status quo clearly isn't the best option because if you get used to the lack of structure, it's going to be much more difficult to get out of when you do decide to change the status quo. That leaves the other two options which both involve getting more education.
If you are going to get more education, go full hog and get the doctorate. In the long run, I think that it will be more valuable to you and your family than another masters degree (especially since you have an opportunity for them to give you money). Nelly is really good at writing grant proposals and she might be able to help you. Also this option will allow you until at least Feb. to enjoy the current status quo. By the time you start your program (I'm guessing around sept. of 2009) Eddie will only have another year of plumbing school left. It will be a tough year, but in the long run I think that it will be worth it. Besides, your picture is already on their website so they have to take you, right?
That's my $.02

lizroxy said...

You bring up some good points and I may revisit the PhD option in a year or two but it looks like the Gerontology certificate is going to be the first step for right now. I spoke with the advisor yesterday and am excited to get started. I am planning on doing it through the continuing education program as it is about half the cost and what we can swing financially. If I do decide to go for the PhD I will be making good connections with people who can help me apply.