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Has anyone changed careers after cancer hit their family?


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Hi. This is a totally self centered post, but I wonder if this happened to an yone or if I am nuts or both.

I am wondering, besides Katie of course who created LCSC, has anyone changed careers or life direction after diagnosis?

I sooooooo hate my job. I sooo hate being a lawyer. I have been thinking for awhile about doing something else. I don'tknow what I would like to do. I HATE the long hours. I HATE how mean lawyering can be.

I thought about it, I feel like I am wasting my "talent" and "skills" on something I hate and not putting 100% into it, so I should do something else. The only thing I really have enjoyed doing and felt like I was doing something important was getting involved with Relay for Life and getting on the committee. It was hard work to be the food chair for the event, but sooooo worth it.

Then I realized I wish I could do that for a living. Then I wondered why can't I? I have my JD/MBA and there are jobs for non profits where you can manage events, plan, do all sorts of stuff and while it is hard work, at least it is for a purpose and rewarding. Even legal aid. Yeah it will be a salary cut, but I would stilll be making money, getting benefits, and hopefully can control it so it is not 60 or 70 hours a week.

So now I am thinking of getting out of law and doing something like this. Just wondering if anyone else did? I read in Cure magazine that things happpen to people when they are hit by cancer and perspective on life changes.

I want time to be able to exercise and lose weight; go to the supermarket; be home at a normal time, etc, etc. I am not happy with the stress of litigation and wierd hours I keep now. I want to take care of myself and my husband.

Plus mentally, I can't take it all. I am going nuts with every single ache and pain. My mom went to the mall with me today, looks gorgeous, but has mild pain below the rib area. Well we all know what that could mean, etc. And I just think I need to take care of myself and do something in life I can enjoy.

Sometimes too much is too much and you have to take control and remember life is short and to make the most of it and take care of yourself.

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Andrea, I loved this post...I love your outlook...the way you think with your heart....and just love who you are! This is just my very humble opinion, but here goes...

I don't think any of us will go through this disease or any life threatening battle without being profoundly changed. It reminds me of a Robert Browning Hamilton poem that says,

I walked a mile with Pleasure, She chattered all the way; But left me none the wiser, For all she had to say. I walked a mile with Sorrow And ne'er a word said she; But, oh, the things I learned from her When Sorrow walked with me!

Personally, taking care of my mother and MIL is what made me decide to make a huge career shift at the age of 40 - I'm going to Nursing School this fall. I never even thought of nursing before. But you know how I see it? This is the only go-around at life that I have any knowledge of, so live it!! Do what you love Andrea! And through your mother's illness, maybe you have found your true calling in life. I believe we all have one, and it sounds like you just may have found yours in a most painful but highly impactful way.

Best Wishes,

Gina

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Gina,

Wow, that poem, I have tears in my eyes. Thank you so much. And Snowflake (Becky) thank you also for your PM.

It helps so much to just be able to share feelings and get feedback.

I do believe things happen for a reason and perhaps this was/is my calling to take control.

I don't want to do nothing with my life, I have g-d given gifts which allowed me to receive a top-notch education, I am lucky in that respect. However, I don't want to use it in the way most do with the 6 figure jobs. I applaude and commend those who want and can acheive that lifestyle. Me, I want normalcy and maybe, just maybe I can put my skills to use and do something. Don't get me wrong, I am not a goody-two shoes and wouldn't ever dream of stopping my Nordstroms addiction (my mom got two hugs today when we went ;) ), but I don't need the lifestyle of fine wine and dining in Malibu.

I really think I can balance my life and maybe make something "good" out of this all.

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Andrea, I know several female lawyers who quit to do something else. Litigation work, particularly, is extremely stressful, the time and deadline pressures are enough to turn a person's hair white as snow, and getting ready for a trial just simply borderlines on ridiculous. One trial that I worked on, we were there Friday, Sat. an Sun. night until past midnight, and another group had a trial in another city, and they literally kept the trial team up ALL NIGHT and in court all day the next day. Not me, baby. I'm getting too old for that crap. Every time I think we're actually going to go to trial rather than settle, I think I'm going to be sick to my stomach. When I was in my 20s-30's, I loved it, but now I just flat don't want to work that hard and definitely don't need the stress.

I don't ever deal with the mean-lawyering thing, though. I've worked for the same lawyer for 18 years and he is just wonderful. Also, I've worked with most of the lawyers in our firm for 9 years, and other than maybe 1 or 2, most are very kind and sensitive. They are all litigators, but I wouldn't label them litigious, if you know what I mean. They defend their clients with zeal, but are almost always gracious lawyers.

One female lawyer went into advertising, one went into real estate and I don't know what the other one did. In every case, though, their law degrees really helped them a lot in the professions they chose after they decided being a lawyer just wasn't what they wanted to do.

I don't have any suggestions as to what else you could do, but I'm sure your degrees will help you find the perfect thing for you.

Good luck, Andrea,

Peggy

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Thanks Peggy. Yeah those all nighters before trial just get me and it seems to take like a month to recover from trial stress. Not worth it :) Unless I was the trial attorney getting a third of a 20 million dollar settlement, well then maybe. But I am not the trial atty, I am the associate, and I hate doing it, so I won't ever get to it ;)

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Andrea,

I am a firm believer in loving what you do. Life is just too short to work at a job you hate. So whatever you decide you gotta start looking around and find something you love to do or someone you love to work with. Years ago I loved my job but hated the employer so I started my own company and became his competition.

I also have attorney friends that have switched careers. Seems to be pretty common that I find attorneys in other jobs. You have an MBA also which should get you in a lot of doors.

What is meant to be will be (can you hear Doris Day?) and something will come to you if you are open and looking for it.

All the best.

Rochelle

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Andrea,

I worked for many years with developmentaly disabled kids with severe behavioral problems. An extreemly high stress job that I loved. But I eventually burned out on it, as many do, and could no longer do that work. When I was looking for what to do next I decided to look at what I liked to do, what was a part of me, and make THAT my new career. Now, I love to drive. Just about anything with wheels. So I looked around and, low and behold, there was an add in the paper from a transit company that offered free training to be a bus driver. I had never driven anything that big (41ft long and 37,000lbs!) and had no idea if I'd enjoy it or not, but decided to give it a try. Turned out I LOVED it from day one. So from then until I became disabled due to this disease I wheeled a big metal box around the city taking folks where they needed to go and enjoyed the heck out of myself every minute.

My point is this: If you want to be happy in your job, find the things you like to do and make a living doing that.

Dean

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Andrea have you ever taken one of those tests that show your interests and talents and what career they fit? You were recently married? Dreaming of a famiily? Do you want flexible hours? Just a few things to ponder Donna G

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Thanks everyone! I do apologize for the self centeredness of the post, but the thing about having a LCSC family is the need to bounce ideas :)

I feel like a weight has been lifted off me. I am not going to resign for another few weeks or a month, I want to make 100% sure and I also want to get my "affairs" in order, like Continuing Legal Education classes I have to take. But just knowing taht there is an end and this is a decision I made is really helping me.

I kind of feel like I am in a self help support group. "Hi. My name is Andrea. Yes, I worked my butt off in law school. I do admit that I can no longer handle the stress of everything. It is all too much. I have a problem" :)

My parents are ok with it too. My dad is prettty happy that I am almost withdrwan from Prozac. It kind of proves to him that I really am serious about wanting to "better" myself. (meaning health wise b/c I am 31, overweight, on antidepressants and want to ahve a baby in the somewhat near future--time to take control). Now I am only on Xanax as needed.

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Andrea,

You are doing the right thing. Research your options, make a plan, then execute. I totally understand the stress of a "six figure" career. Change your life while the decision is yours to make. Lung cancer forced the change for me. Who knows, if I had been less stressed and worked fewer 70 hour weeks, my body might have been able to fight it off.

I understand having to take something like prozac to deal with your Mom's illness, but being in a job that causes the need is bullsh*t! You have your JD/MBA, find something that fulfills you where you can use your education. As everyone here knows, life is too short.

Take care

Jerrye

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Andrea,

I can totally relate. I went to school for something soley to make money and nothing that really mattered. After graduation, then getting pregnant, now three kids later, I too really want to change paths. I would like to do something that counts. Computer Networking seems very minimal after going through all of this. I say Go for it. Life is short. Ive learned that once I had kids, I didn't even want to work. Work was so important to me before my kids. Now I know that the best thing for me and my kids is to not work. When they are all in school, Im thinking of doing something WAY more important. Helping others is like 2nd nature to me, although I never knew it until after I had my kids. For 2 years I took care of my Great Grandma and I never did anything that felt SO rewarding. Then my kids came, and THAT is so rewarding. I dont think I could go back to something that just gave me a paycheck. Do whatever will make you feel great! You have the additude we need!

Jamie

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While it may seem a much smaller transition, believe me when I say it wasn't....

I moved from the research laboratory to a desk job in extramural support, as a technical information specialist. Best thing I ever did. even if it did take me a long time to get it arranged.

It's been about two years now, and it's been terrific.

Just my two cents.

MaryAnn

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Andrea,

One of my closest friends is a lovely lady who walked away from being a practicing attorney to become a stay at home Mom. Talk about a major life change....and the difference in income (though EXTREME) was the least of the changes....

Eight years later she is still happy she made the decision to stop doing what she had grown to hate.

Wishing you well, what ever you decide.

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Short and simple:

If you have to make a JOB out of your JOB, then you need a NEW JOB!

(Don't make a JOB out of it)!

My hubby LOVES his job and he says, he wouldn't work a job for ONE DAY if he had to go to work being miserable. I had jobs that I hated and I didn't last long at them, and I had jobs that I LOVED, and that was AWESOME!

To Be HAPPY or UNHAPPY!!! :?:?:?:roll::roll:

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HI Andrea,

I rarely post, but after reading this I just had to reply!

Your post sounded so much like me....

I began the process of a drastic career change just over year ago.

(Much to the dismay of my family, who were so happy to see me as a "professional" with a good career)

After my experience with LC, I began to volunteer in the chemo and rad clinic, as well as the hospital emergency room.

Those relatively few hours in the week were SO REWARDING in comparison to the 50-60 hours at work - and I decided I couldn't stay in my career another 30 or so years.

I felt like I wasn't really living, just existing day to day.

So I began the long road of medical research (perhaps even medicine), took a job at the hospital, and am now a FT biochem student!

Do what will make your time on this earth rewarding.

I am committed to what I am doing now, more than I ever have been,

and although I have less time, I feel as if I am exactly where I should be.

:D

This is my experience, and I just wanted to share.

(hope it helps a little bit)

I wish you the best of luck!

danni

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Guest pproctor

I also changed careers. My mother was very ill so I quit my job in sales about 7 mos. before she died and did nothing but focus on her comfort and our relationship. It was financially difficult but was able to do it with some cutbacks.

After she passed away, I started a position with a company to implement early defibrillation programs to increase survival for Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Something that helps people. It feels soooooo good to follow your heart. I am making about 35,000 less per year but I have never been happier at my job. Crazy huh??

In the spirit of my mom's death, I made huge life changes for the good.

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OK, here goes- and this isn't a mid-life crisis speaking because it is my birthday...

When we took on this endeavor of a website for LC survivors and family members--I was a full-time student and mom of one.

Rick worked full-time of course and because I didn't have a full-time job, things ran pretty smoothly.

Then I went to work full-time, dad died, we added a baby girl to our family and this website has grown ten times in size an responsibility.

A board of directors has been formed and things are still working themselves out.

Here is my situation in accordance with this thread.

I have the opportunity to quit my job and stay at home, concentrate on my family and this website 100%-

the downside, no time just for me, and a big loss of income.

What would you do? In my heart I would quit in an instant...in my mind, my brain tells me that not having an income would really be hard.

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Andrea - I didn't take time to read all the replied to your post, and I gotta get back to work here (working for lawyers, by the way :? ) but I am dying to go to nursing school myself. I want to help people, I am very open minded and caring, and besides, nurses make pretty good dough (better than legal asst. anyway). And all of this has happened pretty much since Dave's diagnoses.

The thing is, we can't afford for me to quit work to go to school full time, and I don't want to go to school, work full time and take care of Dave and Faith. So it ain't happening for me. But with time maybe I'll find a way, and with time I'll know whether it's something I really really do want to do.

I don't blame you. It's a natural feeling. Give it a little time and see how your feelings about making a change develop. It might be just what you're going through with cancer in your family, OR, it might be God talking to you!

God Bless,

Karen C.

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Thanks everyone :) I am going to see how I feel after this long weekend since I am going away, but with each passing day I realize that I am going to have to do what I have to do and most likely move on out of here.......I just can't deal with all of it and I want to take care of myself.........Katie you have two little beautiful children, so for you, having 1 income could be very hard. I can totally see why you don't quit your day job. I have the "luxury" (which to me is not a luxury and something I wish I don't have) of being able to be without an income for a few months or so as I don't have mouths to feed and clothes to buy and diapers. I kind of wish I did :):):) I want a baby! If only Brian were just ready to have kids, I could be like oh, I am pregnant :D

I wish though Katie that we can somehow make thiswebsite of profit to you too b/c of how hard you work. Sort of like the Cancer Society, there are volunteers like me on the committees for Relay, but the person who runs the event gets paid b/.c it is a full time job.

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Ok, Karen mother hen here.

Andrea - talk to Brian - I know you're newlyweds, but your clock is ticking, dear. Take it from someone who's "been there, done that". We got married when I was 34, starting trying about a year later, a year after that went into infertility treatments, found out I had a bunch of little things wrong plus one big thing (fibroid tumors) - had some miscarriages, got bad clinical depression, snapped out of it, then started the adoption process - which, by the way, was what I was MEANT to do all along, I just had to take the path to find the pot of gold . . . but your ability to make babies goes downhill fast after 30 - plummets after 35. I tell people who are putting it off but really want to have babies to at least go get checked out by a decent infertility specialist to make sure the equipment is all in order and your hormones and still pushing eggs out at the correct rate.

Katie - that's a tough one. I always thought when I become a Mom I'd want to stay home with her - but since Dave's diagnoses, I've decided that I have to keep my job skills up and keep employed, if only to keep myself employable - because every woman needs to be able to support herself. Even though he is doing so well our future is still not as set in stone as I thought it was two years ago. Faith is in a wonderful church child care center where they teach her things I'd never even think about working with her. That being said, I'd sorta like to see you stay at home and be able to devote yourself more to those kids and US, ha!

Anyway, thought both of you might benefit a little bit from my perspective.

Andrea - being a mom to an active 2.5 year old at 45 is TOUGH. I wish I had the energy I had at 25 or even 35!

Karen C.

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I sort of changed jobs after I was dx'd. I stayed in the same company but received a promotion last August. I now have a job that I sit down just about all day and do research on the internet or make solicitation phone calls to past groups that have not been here for awhile. The job was pretty much created for me by my boss (God Love Him) because he saw how hard it was getting for me to be able to carry out the duties of my old job (lots of running around setting up events). I still assist with events when needed but now I work more on the planning side than the "working" side. this has allowed me to stay working full time (and keep my insurance!!!).

God Bless,

MO

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Andrea,

You should pass a GBAT.General Battery Aptitudes Test,

it may give you a lot of answers for what you may look

for as far as changing work is concerned, as long as you

remember that the work would be for so many hours a week

and so many week a year +++++++, you may have aptitudes

for many things but you would have to decide the one you want

to do for a while.

Good luck and keep us posted on your next move.

xo

J.C.

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