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Vocational Rehabilitation



"Vocation" originally meant the calling that priests were expected to feel when they chose to enter the priesthood.  It only later came to mean whatever career a person chose.

I chose to make a right turn fairly late in my life, and go from a quarter century or so of computer programming to a new profession, psychological counseling.  The change required that I get at least a master's degree, which at my age is probably as far as I will go.

What made me decide to make such a change?  Well, some of the events in my own life, which are largely detailed elsewhere in this blog, gave me some experience with psychology, from the user's perspective, you could say.  Verbal abuse, depression and suicidality, and a drawn-out divorce made me aware that there had to be more to life than programming.  And, coming to the site during that period, I learned a bit about helping and being helped.  Programming isn't much of a legacy compared to that.

The path to the degree has been long:  four years and counting.  The subjects taught were not clear-cut like the ones in my biology undergrad schooling.  The classes had varying amounts of "experiential" learning, which seems to have meant that we taught each other.  I have failed courses (before this one), something that isn't like me.  I put off applying to the practicum several times, tiding myself over with an elective course so that my student loans wouldn't come due.

Clearly, then, I have shown some resistance to finishing the program.  Now it will take at least another year to graduate, and then I have to get licensed.  Anxiety accounts for some of the resistance, at least.  The fact that, even when I'm licensed, I will have to be supervised throughout my career is another burden that slows me down.  The profession also won't be as lucrative as if I had continued programming, and hey, who doesn't like money?  My advisor, even before I was admitted into the program, remarked that I didn't have the same kind of enthusiasm that other students had coming in, mostly just having graduated with psychology degrees.  I pointed out, essentially, that I was twice their age and so could be expected to be roughly half as naive, I mean optimistic.  I used better words, because he let me in, but I haven't become less cynical.

Interestingly, I chose counseling as the way to help because I had experience with (receiving) it over most of my life, and I assumed that was how people get helped.  I only realized, this last semester during one of my supervision sessions, that counseling was not, in fact, what helped me through the worst of my own time.  It was this site!  (The people really.)  That startling idea has at least opened my mind to consider other helping options, even if I finish the counseling degree.

It probably plays no small part in my reasons for coming back.

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