For years I denied the fact that I did not like working in research. I had gone to graduate school so that I could help people. Once in graduate school, I discovered that I was pretty good at research. Research was a way to help people, right? After graduate school, I fell into a research job. That job led to another job in research and so on and so on. I was gainfully employed and unhappy.
I kept blaming the fact that I had a job with a lot of responsibility and not a lot of pay for my unhappiness. I would complain, “If only I had a research job that paid better, I’d be happy.” And guess what, the Universe provided. I got a great paying job doing clinical trials for mental health medications. The pay was fantastic. I finally felt like a financial equal in my marriage. I finally had what I had asked for.
And I was even more miserable.
Working in research fed my ego, my intellect, but not my soul.
So for the first time in my life, I quit my job without a plan. Without another job lined up. I didn’t even start looking for a new job. This was very unlike me. I ALWAYS have a plan. My husband was understandingly concerned.
I didn’t know what I was going to do.
I did know that I had to be willing to do something different. Not having a plan was different for me all right.
I was talking to my friends about what I should do. I was on the phone with my amazing friend Roxane when she asked me “What do you want?” I told her that what I wanted was impossible. She laughed and said “So this should be easy!”
As we talked I told her that I needed to make around the same level of income as my current job, so I thought I needed to stay involved in research. But I wanted my job to be about people, the participants involved in the research and their needs, not the paperwork and mind-numbing details. I wanted to work around 30 hours a week, with health benefits. And as a kicker I added, “Oh, and I don’t want to have to commute.” At that we both laughed, since commuting was just a regular part of daily life in San Diego.
A few days later I got a phone call. (Now remember, I hadn’t even started looking for a new job yet.) Someone I knew had recommended me to a Principle Investigator who was looking for a new staff member. It was a Rater position which meant that I focused on how participants and their families were functioning. It also meant that I couldn’t be involved in the other aspects of the trials because raters are “blind” to the rest of the study. The pay was similar to what I was making. The job was around 32 hours a week with benefits. Oh, and the office was 5 minutes away from my house.
I was stunned. I had gotten exactly what I asked for. All the way down to the “no commute”.
I started to understand that clarity is the key to asking for what you want. When you are clear about what you want, the Universe fills in the how.
By talking it through with my friend Roxane, I got clarity on what I wanted. Even though I didn’t have any idea how it could happen.
I see this often in my work with clients. As a result of our explorations, clients start to get clarity about what they want and need in their life. Once that is clear, it is amazing to watch how the Universe responds.
And just so you know, that was the last job I had in research. Because I finally had clarity about what I needed to be happy, I was able to leave the safety and comfort of research to follow my heart and soul into being a counselor.