Is higher education the right field for me? I'm four months into my new job now and I'm still not sure I can answer that question. For one, I haven't been through an entire academic year yet. Some jobs might be easy to read after four months, but I truly won't understand mine until I have been through a full academic year from start to finish. I have only seen half of a spring semester and part of summer so far.
I did complete my first major task successfully - working with student leaders during four summer orientation sessions. I was clueless and unprepared when given the assignment, but now that it is over I can proudly say I did it well. Next year, if I am still in this role, will be a breeze. My stress level has lowered a little now that that particular project is behind me, but I am still a little anxious about the upcoming fall semester (more unknowns and new tasks).
Most days I think this is not the job for me. I don't know if it's the position, the field, the university, or my supervisor, or some combination that make me doubt this job. Would I be happier doing a different job in a different department? Would I love this role under a new supervisor? Am I meant for this work, but just not meshing with the culture of this particular university? Or is higher education just not my thing?
I'm not going anywhere anytime soon because of the stress of job searching, needing insurance and a paycheck, and wanting to start a family soon. I also don't want to leave after a few months and be viewed as a 'job hopper' in the future. In the meantime I will be constantly evaluating my job and what I want to do with my life.
I also can't think about work without thinking about family. I want a career that offers flexibility and family friendliness. Work is not my life. I don't think it ever will be. Work is what I need to do to live my life. I want a job that provides excellent benefits such as insurance and plenty of vacation and sick days. I want a salary that can support my family and the lifestyle we want to lead. I want room to grow, move up, and earn more so I can continue to better the lives of myself and my family.
How do you evaluate whether a job or career field is the right fit for you?