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.