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Need help making a career decision - Confused

Hello dear members,


How are you doing? 


I wanted to ask for your help as I'm struggling to make an important decision. I have to ultimately make the choice but I was hoping to hear a few thoughts as I'm stuck in a dilemma.


Classic heart vs mind - and both are correct scenario 🤣


So, I run a small business that's in a very new stage. I took up a part-time job with a company I've known well and in the industry I'm used to and feel very confident in. Only, I stepped out of corporate 2 yrs ago but had to go back to a reduced stress role just to fill my days, have a routine and of course earn money, contribute to super etc. I'm in my late 30s. 


My calling has always been health and wellness so I constantly feel disconnected with my job even though it's everything one could ask for! Work from home, decent manager, decent pay etc. 


I have a chance to apply to a job in a social and community service sector, dealing with mental health and training. I'm very keen and feel confident I can do this job as I've studied and completed certifications in this area + there are plenty of transferable skills. However, the pay is half of what I currently make, and 1/4th of what I used to make 2 yrs ago in my full-time corporate role.


Should I follow my heart and purpose and apply for the new industry role with less pay, more work but more fulfillment..


Or, should I keep my current part-time job and focus on getting my business off the ground, making more money and living more comfortably, but feeling misaligned with the work I do during 80% of the week? 20% I get from my business that is in the field of training and mental health. Is this a better balance?


At my age, should I be focused on earning and saving? 


I'm so confused as I'm very new to the community services/NFP sector and going in blind almost. I'm worried I'll regret leaving a better paying, less stressful, wfh, part-time job. But, the thought of doing this job every day doesn't seem very motivating either. 


Should I take up the NFP job, and slowly climb the pay ladder there over the next few years? I think it might take 2-3 more yrs to get to the same level, not sure and I'll be 40 then.


That's the last bit - I feel so pressurized that I should've figured out my career by now, I'm going to be 40 in a few years! Such a deeply unhelpful thought 😅 I only realized my purpose and started leading a life doing what I want 2 yrs ago and it's been very challenging but highly rewarding.


Thanks 🙏


@maddison @FloatingFeather 


Please tag anyone else, especially peer support workers as I'm sure they might've faced this dilemma but have chosen to do work in the community service space that they feel alignment with.




Re: Need help making a career decision - Confused

@Shasan what an exciting AND daunting time! 


Because our guidelines state we can't give advice which can be interpreted as professional financial advice, I'll share a bit of my own story and thought ❤️ 


Firstly, it is so exciting to realise your purpose. Something that is really fulfilling. After decided to work in MH and doing some study, I've been doing that. Similar to you, I took a massive pay cut and decided it was worth it. It's made a lot of things harder. I have to work full-time instead of part-time because my partner and I are planning on buying our first home. 


And don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job. But it's still a job! Like most jobs, I still finish the end of the day pretty tired. 


So I've been trying to figure out ways of getting that "fulfilling" part of like, outside of work too. Just so it's not coming only from my job. 


Secondly, it's a big life decision! I often use "values based" decision making questions to help me make them. Here is an example: 


Finally, given it sounds like you're a bit worried about the finances, I wonder if you would want to reach out to a financial advisor to ask any questions? I've found it useful to answer questions and help me figure out priorities 😊 

Re: Need help making a career decision - Confused



Thank you for sharing your story. It fills me with hope.


I love the framework you shared, thank you for that!! I'll definitely carve some time out today to work on that.


May I ask, what are some of the common pitfalls to be aware of, in a job, but moreso in a job within the mental health support/training/coaching job...


Compassion fatigue feels like the most obvious one. Our self-care is so important so we can continue caring for others (the way I plan to do this is through exercise, meditation, journaling, time in nature and not bringing work home). 


Any others to be aware of? 

Re: Need help making a career decision - Confused

I'm glad it's a helpful story @Shasan ❤️ 


And that's a great question.


I agree, compassion fatigue is a massive one! And most "pitfalls" are mostly around burnout I think. 


And that is a great self-care plan! I've found it useful to also think about people I can reach out to or other things to do if I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed/triggered myself. I've found in this job, I've had to make sure I do all the basic things for my MH, just like you've listed. 


Self-care is crucial to this, but also keep an eye out for what organisational supports are available too. I make the most of things like supervision, debriefs ect where I can ❤️ 

Re: Need help making a career decision - Confused

Hi there

@Shasan , I haven't seen you around for ages! 

Ah definitely feel this dilemma. My daughter just went through something similar. She was really high up in her organisation but really hating her job. Then a job came up for a role she was passionate about but it came with a HUGE pay cut. she ended up taking it. She is 34 and the thought of doing a role she hated for the rest of her life tipped her towards the lower paid role. BUT she does have a partner who is on a really good salary and he encouraged her to take the role too. 


That's probably not much help to you but just thought I'd share in case it did help a tiny bit. It's a tough dilemma for sure. But also very exciting for you.


Do let us know how you go deciding!


Re: Need help making a career decision - Confused

Hello @hanami 


Thank you for your response. That's great for your daughter, very happy for her and I hope she's finding her new job fulfilling - may I ask what field this is, just to increase my knowledge about fields where self-aware ppl are able to find jobs outside the corporate! 😂 I heard someone took up a job in horticulture how awesome.


I've given an interview just today! I'm grateful just to be considered for the role, I think I did my best but I did forget to include some important points that were relevant and wasn't as concise in my communication as I might like - English isn't my first language but I'm quite good at expressing, so hopefully my message still got across. It's a contract role for now and only a couple days on training rate, so I still need to keep up my corporate job until I know more. 


Hopefully I get the job, otherwise I'll keep my head held high for giving it my 6/10 😅 and be proud that I got this far. I'm afraid if depressive symptoms may come up if I didn't make it. I'll know tomorrow - sometimes, nothing helps the nerves and racing mind, I'm letting it be and keeping myself occupied as much as possible. 


@TuxedoCat Thank you for sharing so honestly. I don't think ppl quite grasp how hard it is to do community and humanitarian work - proud of you and kudos to you. Your work is extremely valuable to this community and all of us. I hope you get all the support you need to keep continuing this great work.


I'm creating a separate post about parents in the carers forum, I would love to hear your thoughts there - always value them a lot!! 


Thank you both of you, I can't tell you how helpful this has been.



Re: Need help making a career decision - Confused

@TuxedoCat @hanami 


I wanted to drop a quick note to thank you once again for being there for me when times were tough.


I got an interview for a Level 4 job that I really wanted, and I also got the job!! It's a contract as of now and not very steady and consistent income wise, but it's a step in the right direction in a field that I'm very passionate about. I'm dealing with a lot of impostor thoughts, why me, maybe it's not that great if they just selected me off the bat! Crazy the thoughts they really try to chip away at my worth and I need to keep reaffirming that I'm worthy, of their time, of this role, of this opportunity and I'm going to work hard to do my best as well as take care of myself on the way!! 


I've come a really looooooong way over the last 2 yes in this new industry and I'm just so thrilled to finally catch a break with everything going on with my family, and health. 


Wish me luck x 



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