Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A New Year - A New Direction

I realize I have not been posting much at all in the last little while. There are a few reasons, some of which involve my increased focus on a new career path, some things are personal, and some is just laziness. The truth is, when I do not make a habit of writing reguarly for the blog, it just doesn’t happen and weeks go by. Also, since I have been living at home, there are more people to talk to so I do not feel as much of a need to write about the various things I think about.

No, this blog isn’t going anywhere. I think this has just been another cycle where I don’t post much and the frequency may increase in the future, but I am just not sure. A lot depends on my new plans and how busy I will be. I told you all some time ago that I would not be making a career as a chef and would be looking for a better paying, more intellectually fulfilling line of work. Now I believe I have reached a decision as to what I want. As my background is in Psychology, my first step was to meet with a career counsellor at the University where I did my undergraduate work. She was able to highlight various careers that psychology graduates go into, focussing on those that do not require a PhD, which I have no desire to get. It did become clear that a Bachelor’s alone was generally insufficient for any of these fields. Some required a Master’s while others look for various graduate diplomas in particular specialties. Areas like therapy and most non-profits did not seem to fit with my temperament or interests, but one thing that stuck out was marketing research. I was unsure about this initially because I didn’t know that this was any different from marketing, which is rather low level and rather devoid of ethics. But on doing further research, I found there is a big difference. Marketing research is the field that lays the ground work and provides information for marketers to do what they do. Market research also includes polling firms and all those polls you see day after day during election campaigns (which are now eternal, right?) In this industry, it seems there are many different types of qualifications, from MBAs to PhDs to nothing more than a bachelor’s. Most though, expect some sort of graduate education in business, marketing, or consumer studies. One option I have is a Master’s program here at Guelph, but that is three years, a lot of money, and no direct work experience. And at my debt level and age, time and money are very much considerations. Then I found a graduate diploma program at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario, which is about 2 hours away from Guelph. Their program is one year, costs about the same as one year of graduate school, and includes a 3 month paid internship with leading companies in the field, many of whom hire most of their employees from graduates of this program.

So now I have just put in my application for this program and, if accepted, I will start in school next fall and hopefully be working in the industry a year later. Of course this means a great deal more debt, but government student loans should be able to cover all the tuition and a good deal of my living expenses during that time. So if all goes well, I will be living at home for only another 8 months.

Now in the New Year, I find it interesting to look back on the post I wrote last New Year’s Day. On the surface, it would seem that few of the goals I set last year are actually accomplished now. I am not currently employed and do not have a boyfriend. Yet I do finally have a career track planned out, one that should be more rewarding, both personally and financially. As for my personal life, I think that living at home probably has held me back somewhat, but mainly because I am not in a large city and my lack of funds means I can’t really go out much. This is another reason going back to school appeals to me: even though Barrie is not a big city and somewhat on the conservative side, a college environment will probably be good for me. But at least this New Year’s Eve, unlike last year, I was not alone. We hosted a New Year’s party with some family friends, which also gave me the chance to spend lots of time working on an elaborate party menu. Fun times. I do still love some aspects of the culinary arts, but that can never be my career. Maybe one day, it could be a side venture but not a full time job.

I am still thinking about some interesting topics for posts. There’s one interesting topic I am working on now and, as my parents are once again in Hawaii for holidays, I may do some Hawaii-related posts as I did last year.