Feeling like I’m at a career crossroads?

Feeling like I am at a crossroads…

I (24F) graduated in psychology for my undergrad and have had several jobs since then (Hostess –> ABA behavioral therapist for children with autism and related disorders –> Assistant Program Manager/Case report writer at a non-profit for adults with disabilities). However, I have always struggled with picking to a career and sticking with it. I recently completed prerequisite courses for Occupational Therapy (completed anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, ect) and observation hours, and the only thing I need to apply to a program is to finish the GRE.

But last night, I had a realization. I was sitting in the informational meeting for a program I am/was interested in, and as I listened to all the work that would be required, the tuition (in the area i am in now, I really only have the option between one public and three privates due to distance restriction), the drive distance for me, I started to reconsider. If I am making this large of a time and financial investment (even at a public program) I want to be SURE that it is something I will enjoy.

And I know some people will say, “Well, you can never be sure you will enjoy it until you try the career and shadow” and I hear you. I have shadowed, and out of all the jobs, it looks like the one I would tolerate most is probably being an OT. My goal is to be a pediatric OT working at a therapeutic horse-riding center because of my love of animals and helping people, but I keep wondering if there is another career that I may be glossing over. Or, what if I get all the way to being an OT, but I can’t find a job in a therapuric riding center due to competition from other OT’s? I like the idea of the career because it sounds like you can be creative with care plans, work in many different locations, and change specializations (working with elderly, cash crash victims, ect). Here are some of the things I am looking for in a career:

• A LOT of variety, nothing routine like a sit-down 9-5

• Some time outdoors, as I noticed my mental health is much better when I am working outside in the sunshine. Having an office job right now after daylight savings is hard because I feel like I never see the sun.
• Possibly work from home sometimes, so I can see my cats and partner.
• Working and interacting with people
• Working with my hands/something active

Jobs I have considered:

• Interpreter/translator (have not completely looked into this, but would appreciate the feedback) – would need to get more sign language training, possibly switching to a different job for experience

• Occupational Therapist (my current career path) – just need the GRE to apply, most likely can’t work and to both though with the difficulty of the program so I would need to rely on my partner and parents for a bit.

• Physicians Assistant (PA) –  I’ve heard this is hard, but there is a lot of possibility due to the high pay, lateral movement, and job satisfaction. Would need basically another year of prereqs (bio, chem, ochem, microbio, physics) and the competition is high for PA school.

• Event planner – I have really bad perfectionism anxiety so I kind of mentally ruled this out early on

• Environmental scientist- my partner works as one and he works from home some days, teaches kids and teachers about local wildlife, and has field days where he takes data of streams and lakes. Haven’t really found a problem with this one other than it would be an entire career shift, and my partner was a scientific aid getting not a lot of pay for like 5 years before becoming an ES.

• Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) – kind of like the grad step up from when I was a therapist for kids with autism. Schooling can be online, I can get hours and schooling while working as a behavioral therapist, and some BCBA’s do telehealth from home. To be honest, im thinking between this an OT, but it does pay less than OT and is a bit more niche (only working with kids with autism most of the time)

Some hobbies I like to do on the side, if they might help with suggestions:

– video games – the witcher, zelda, god of war, last of us, skyrim, minecraft, hollow knight…most games that are story based or have some puzzle solving or creative element to them

– crafting – polymer clay, painting, pottery, woodburning, needlefelt… again working with hands and creating something

-Dungeons and Dragons – fantasy, story based, people centered

– reading and creative writing

Sorry I know this was an info dump but this has really been giving me a lot of anxiety. I simultaneously feel overwhelmed and stuck because I have to be careful of my decision, but rushed because the sooner I choose, the sooner I can get out of the job I have now and work towards something better. Would love to hear from people who have done any of the jobs above, or can think of a career I haven’t thought of that aligns with who I am and what im looking for, but any help would be greatly appreciated!

TLDR; feeling overwhelmed to decide on a career and make a big time and financial investment into grad school, looking to explore more options and get advice before committing to something.

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