Questioning career choice

  1. I have always been a very indecisive person, and I switched majors many times before settling on nursing. Now that I have been an RN for a year, I still find myself questioning my path sometimes. I think, I should have been an engineer, a doctor, pharmacist, etc. I don't know why I get these thoughts, but it's depressing. I worked hard to become and am proud to be a nurse. What should I do about this internal lack of satisfaction? This is my first post and just hoping to hear some friendly words..
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   blackmamba123
    Hi! Sorry to hear that you're feeling dissatisfied and depressed! Have you explored other types of nursing? With a year experience, you should be eligible to try different types of nursing, especially if you have a year of medical surgical nursing or critical care. And if nursing isn't for you, be honest with yourself and explore your options. Also ask yourself this question: does how you're feeling have to do with nursing? Or something else? This is coming from a fellow indecisive person. I found out that my problem wasn't with nursing but with commitment. Either way, feeling of depression and dissatisfaction are definitely red flags. Hope you find your way back to feeling satisfied and joyful soon.
  4. by   llg
    I've always questioned my decision to become a nurse -- and I have been an RN since 1977! Some people will always question such decisions. That's just the way we are. I dream about the life I might have led had I made a different choice.

    The keys to being happy in spite of being a "questioner" ...

    1. Don't fantasize about the other career options through "rose-colored glasses." Your tendency may be to imagine those other careers as being too perfect. In reality, people in those careers have troubles, too. Many of those people are unhappy with their career choices, etc. They have frustrations and all sorts of problems -- some of which, we nurses don't even know about. So when you think of those other job possibilities, remember that. Include their problems in your fantasies, too, not just the parts of their jobs that appeal to you.

    2. Instead of focusing on your past decisions -- focus on the "What do I want to do now?" question. Focus on the present and the near future. Do you really want to go back to school? Do you really want to spend all that money on a 2nd career that you don't know if you like or not? How deeply in debt would you be if you switched careers? Are you really sure that you won't have similar doubts in 5 years about that other career? etc. Work out the details of what it would take to switch now (including the financial and life-style details) to see if switching is still attractive.

    3. After you have done #2 ... and identified the real investment it would take to switch careers ... then think about what you could do in nursing if you were willing to make the same investment. What possible career trajectories in nursing are there? Would any appeal to you?

    4. Now start comparing apples to apples ... and oranges to oranges. In your imagination, you are probably comparing your nursing career as you know it now (with no additional investment) with an imaginary other career that could only happen after you have made a big investment. Start comparing your "ideal" nursing career that you could have if you made a big investment in nursing with the 2nd career you could have if you made a similar investment to switch careers (which you may or may not like). Now your thoughts are in line with reality and you thinking can lead you to a reasonable decision based on reality, not fantasies.

    I've been through this many times myself. Do I invest further in my current career path to enhance it? Or do I go in another direction? Or should I just stand still?
  5. by   LovingLife123
    What do you mean internal satisfaction?

    Your job should be your satisfaction in life. That should come from outside sources. And while I agree that one should enjoy their job since you spend a large amount of time there, there doesn't need to be some deep, satisfying feeling coming from it. Your job does not define you.

    You will be sorely disappointed in life in you think every job you have is going to give you that feeling. I go to work to earn a paycheck. And while I like what i do, it's tough and it sucks on a lot of days. But when I clock out, my mind is on home and my family.
  6. by   MikeyT-c-IV
    I think it is perfectly normal to think about "what if." I can see myself in countless number of roles but I chose nursing as a stable and interesting career. During this time I continually try to improve my skills and be the best at what I do. I become excited with thoughts of new challenges and how I'm going to tackle them. I no longer think so much about the past or what I could have done. I choose to look ahead, continue my education, and seek opportunities to grow professionally. I have a hard time being stagnant.

    Now that you have been a nurse for a year, do you feel like you need a new challenge? llg made some awesome points and those are worth considering.

    And on the other hand... there is nothing wrong with pursuing other interests and only you can make that choice. We only have one life to live.
  7. by   ivyleaf
    what about being a doctor/engineer/etc vs being a nurse seems like it could be satisfying?
  8. by   Chocowalnut4
    Yes this all makes sense I know I shouldn't look at other careers so unrealistically. I have thought about the investment in another career versus furthering my own as well. I most likely would just stick with nursing but sometimes can't help but think about other careers.
  9. by   Chocowalnut4
    Different things I guess, and not even just those professions, others too. The idea of working with different types of co workers than I have now is appealing. Being knowledgeable about different things. Different work activities than I currently perform.
  10. by   themanz
    Hey OP I just wanted to say as someone who chose nursing as a second career the grass always appears greener on the other side. Maybe you just need a new job? Hang in there!
  11. by   ambr46
    I think a lot of people are surprised when they get into this field and realize that it isn't quite what they were expecting. The good thing about being an RN though is that there are abundant opportunities in a variety of settings. Not one shoe fits all so if you are finding dissatisfaction in your current role then there are a plethora of other choices out there.

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