Stepping Out and Starting a New Job

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I am taking a risk. I am stepping out and trying something new that may be the next step towards meeting my goals, or may be a disaster.

For the past few months, I have been contemplating what the next steps for me should be. My long term goal right now is to become a fully licensed counselor. Right now I have my MA and I am partially licensed. I can work as a counselor under supervision, but since I am not fully licensed I cannot yet open up my own private practice.

For most people, the process of becoming fully licensed and accumulating the 3000 hours needed for this takes about two to two and a half years. I have been going through the process for about 28 months, and I am a little over half-way there. After the first two years, I applied for a two year extension. After the two year extension…well I enter into no man’s land. By that I mean that I don’t know what happens because they don’t tell you. I don’t think they often encounter someone accumulating as slow as me who need more time. Worst case scenario, they wouldn’t let me have another extension, and I would lose my licensed completely because in my state, they do not let you practice indefinitely under a partial license.

Why is it taking me so long? The reason is because I am only able to work a few hours each week. For much of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, my health was at one of its lowest points. For months and months, I could only manage working about 2-4 hours a week, and that was stretching it.

Over the summer, I started to make some progress. I started to gain a bit of strength through PT, and my doctor put me on some medication that did take the edge of the pain. I learned how to manage the pain a little better through pacing, tracking activity levels, and carefully monitoring when I did things and how much I did.

In September, I decided I was ready to work more than 2-4 hours a week. I told my boss at my current job that I was ready to see more people and asked her to start assigning more clients to me. Weeks and then months passed, and they were just not able to get me the hours that I needed. This was partially due to my limited schedule. I am unable to go into work for more than four hours at a time at the absolute maximum. They were simply unable to accommodate this with the current influx of clients coming in.

For a long time, I was at a serious loss of what to do. I didn’t want to leave this job, because they are extremely flexible, and let me stay even if I can only work a few hours a week. If I left and then had a major flare, I would lose that. I also didn’t want to leave because this is a job that I absolutely love, and it would be a huge loss to have to say goodbye to my clients and everyone I work with.

For most of November, I agonized over what to do. Should I apply for other jobs? Should I wait and hope that my current job would be able to fill my hour needs? I just didn’t know.

Finally, at the very end of November, I decided to send out a few resumes. I figured that job searching takes a long time, and perhaps in the next few months, people would start getting back to me. So, one Saturday night, I sent out three resumes. Monday morning I got a call for an interview. I couldn’t believe it! Monday afternoon, I got a call for another interview. Someone pinch me now. The second call scheduled me for an interview for a part-time mental health therapist the coming up Thursday.

Thursday came, and I went to the interview bright and early. I had a first interview with the clinic director. It went well, and she scheduled me for a second interview. But as we left the office, she ran into the assistant clinic director and asked him if he is doing anything at the moment. He was not. So I did a second interview right then and there. I filled out paperwork, went home. A few hours later, I get an email – they offer me the job! An hour later I accept. I had already decided it was a perfect fit.

What a shocking whirlwind experience.

Over the past week and a half I have been getting together paperwork, getting fingerprinted, and getting other medical tests that need completed. I have training next week, and then I start the job the week of Christmas.

So, what are the details?

The best part is that I get to keep my other job. I will still be working 2-4 hours at my old job, and I will be adding on 7 hours at my new job. So, this means each week I will work 9-11 hours. Yikes! It sounds like a lot, and I am super nervous.

So, here’s why I am hoping it will be manageable. I have the best possible schedule of Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so I will have days in between to recover. I will start having groceries delivered almost exclusively, which is an extra day every week to every other week. I have learned how to pace myself, and have my tracking chart to help me out. I won’t be doing much socializing any time soon, but I’m feeling ok about that. It all feels worth it to reach my end goal.

I have a really good feeling about this place. They are the perfect place for me to get hours because they do 45 minute sessions back to back, and one 45 minute session counts as 1 client hour. It just feels like a nice place to work. Many outpatient clinics have an unfriendly, sterile feel, but this one feels more like a huge private practice. This place felt friendly. It looks like they treat their counselors well. The office staff takes care of way more than anywhere else I have ever worked. It has good vibes, and that is always a good sign!

I am so excited to start, but I am also terrified. I will be more than doubling how much I work each week, and I know it is going to be a huge challenge. It doesn’t help that I have been flaring for the last week for some unknown reason. Everything looks bleak when I’m flaring, and this is not a good way to start things out. I am already nervous that I will have to quit the job before I even begin. I am already nervous that it will be too much. It is definitely a huge risk, stepping out into a huge unknown.

I know I am taking a huge leap of faith. I don’t wonder if it is the right decision – I know it is the right decision, but that does not mean that I know it will work out. But in the end, I know I have to try.

10 Comments

  1. Congratulations on getting the new job. That’s no mean feat.
    And all the very best with it. It sounds like you’ve got to give it a go and I have a good feeling about it working out as long as you take it easy on those days you have off.
    Be sure to keep us posted!

  2. I don’t think ‘normal’ people realize how lucky they are to be able to have a job (that they may or may not like), and to go there everyday without thought. Given how smooth the process was for you to get this job, I’m going to believe that it was predestined to be the place for you at this time. You’ve planned your schedule as best you could to accommodate your needs. I’ll cross my fingers (and pray) that your body cooperates and that you can enjoy this new adventure fearlessly. Linda

    1. So true. Jobs are truly a blessing, and you don’t realize it until you struggle to keep one. Thanks for cheering me on. It helps so much to have your support and the support of so many others as I move forward. <3

  3. Hi, I’m glad to read this and congrats! No matter how it goes from here, you already deserve congratulations for putting yourself out there and doing it. Each task we do is a huge step even those that end up unlike what we wanted with chronic illnesses. i also believe that how smoothly it went will help you hang on and not focus on the fear. People like us end up with lots of fears due to past negative affects, alas, but one thing we do have is persistence! We try again and again. So proud of you! And yes, it might take more meds or biofreeze at first, but find those tricks that help. I couldn’t believe how cheap your grocery delivery fees are O_O So jealous but so happy for you! So that’s a start. And if you need those hours, maybe you can use part of the extra pay to palliate and hire someone to clean a bit for you so you can keep doing it. Stuff like that. You are super clever, do what you have to at first until things settle down or as long as you need. You have a great goal! You already won by trying!

    1. Claudia, thank you so much for your encouragement! You are so right about fear due to things that have happened in the past. I think about my last job that I had to quit, and it makes me so nervous to try to do more hours again. Your encouragement means so so much to me. <3

  4. Congratulations and best wishes! Sounds like a wonderful, God-given, opportunity. Whatever happens, you will learn what God intends for you to learn. I’m praying you will be able to get enough hours in to get your license.

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