So Many Career Paths, So Little Time

“If I had 10 lives, I wouldn’t be able to do everything I wanted to.”

“My problem is I love to learn a job, then I optimize the job to do it in the fastest possible way, then I’m bored, and I want to move on to something else.”

“Sometimes, there are so many things that I want to do, it’s paralyzing and I end up doing nothing.”

Sound familiar? Could this be you? If it is, you may suffer from multipotentiality. A condition that afflicts many of the rainforest-minded. You may think that you are a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none or a dilettante; that you skim the surface and never dive.

Maybe.

But what if it’s just that you’re fascinated by anthropology and gardening and researching and mathematics and art history and sustainability and, well, you get the idea.

How do you choose? What gets left behind? How do you explain to your parents that you’re changing your college major for the fifth time? How do you explain to your friend Amy that you’re bereft because you have to choose engineering over music? How do you explain to yourself why you’re still working at Starbucks? How can such a smart person be so confused?

And how many times have you heard: Just pick something. Anything.

Oh boy.

You would if you could. It’s hard for others to understand that you love learning new things. And you learn them quickly. The possible career paths are overwhelming. Friends look at you quizzically, “This is a problem?” YES. It is. But how do you choose when you want to do it all? How do you choose when you’ll lose interest in a year? How do you explain that you’re not ungrateful but that you just have to avoid boredom at all costs?

This is how.

1. Refuse to Choose. This is the title of a book by Barbara Sher. She explains how you can craft a career plan that combines many of your interests. She provides examples and suggestions and understands your rainforest mind because she has one.

2. Go to empoweryou.com and read Zen and the Art of Making a Living. Laurence Boldt, the author says, “Make your work an expression of love in action.”  He provides resources for people wanting to have a positive impact on the world. He has powerful ideas and lots of fine philosophy.

3. For the poet in you, read David Whyte’s books on work. (Crossing the Unknown Sea–Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity) His ideas aren’t practical as much as they’re brilliant.

4. Go to rebelsatwork.com. Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina provide fabulous support for smart people working in the corporate world who are struggling with the inequities, ineptitudes, and injustices.

And finally, you can walk many paths over your lifetime. You have a right to a work life that is meaningful, purposeful and intellectually stimulating. And, as David Whyte says,“To wake the giant inside ourselves, we have to be faithful to our own eccentric nature, and bring it into conversation with the world.”

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Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

21 responses to “So Many Career Paths, So Little Time”

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  1. Giftedness, Multipotentiality, and Your Fear of Losing Interest (FOLI) | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] Learn more about multipotentiality. Emilie Wapnick and Barbara Sher are good resources. […]


  2. Multipotentiality: Are You Overwhelmed By Your Too Muchness? | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] ideas on what to do, read this post, this post and this one. And if you want to join a community of multipotentialites, check out […]


  3. If I Can Do It, So Can You — Finding Your Purpose(s) | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] here and here. I write about how psychotherapy works here and here.  Career paths here and here. Parenting, here. And I suggest some books here. Maybe you spend time in Nature or you […]


  4. Existential Depression in Gifted Teens | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] would be worth the money, her “laziness,” internet censorship, GMOs, how she would find a meaningful career, the “enormity of the universe,” how to deal with climate change and on and […]


  5. paulaprober Avatar
    paulaprober

    Thanks so much, Judith. I’m not sure what to do about that. Do you know? I’ll try contacting the WordPress support people. I’m getting many of the pics from flickr. I appreciate your letting me know.


  6. Judith Avatar
    Judith

    Hey just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.


  7. Are You A Multipotentialite*? | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] those of you who are new to the term, let me explain. In an earlier post, I described how you may be overwhelmed  by your extraordinary curiosity. Not only that. You may, […]


  8. Munchkin Avatar
    Munchkin

    I don’t know what to do. Every time I think I’ve found a passion to pursue as a career, I find multiple reasons not to pursue it. They’ve ranged everywhere from writer to geologist to pharm tech to psychopharmechologist to teacher to tutor to even mortician. Could Refuse to Choose truly be effective when you’re not even sure what you’re passionate about?


    1. paulaprober Avatar
      paulaprober

      It sounds like you are passionate about many things and just don’t know how to choose. That’s where Refuse to Choose can help. Also Free Range Humans is a good book. Easy to read and full of ideas. And Emilie Wapnick’s site http://www.puttylike.com.


  9. Kathy Avatar
    Kathy

    Paula,

    So great to have found your blog! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard ” Just pick something. Anything.” The good news is that I am doing just as you prescribed and loving it. Combining all of these things has unleashed a creative landslide! Keep writing, I cannot wait to hear more.

    Kathy


    1. paulaprober Avatar
      paulaprober

      Here’s to more creative landslides!


      1. Kathy Avatar
        Kathy

        It is great to see what can happen if we just let go.


  10. Anna Avatar
    Anna

    Thank you so much!

    I’ve been reading but not posting.


    1. paulaprober Avatar
      paulaprober

      Thanks for reading, Anna. I appreciate it!


  11. kerlund74 Avatar
    kerlund74

    Thank you for sharing:) We are a lot of people trying to figure out what to do next or what we are “meant” to do. I think you sound like a clever person and your tips for more reading are great.


    1. paulaprober Avatar
      paulaprober

      I appreciate your comment. In case you didn’t see it, another resource was suggested by someone in ‘comments.’ It’s a blog at puttylike.com. The young woman who writes the blog has many great ideas and is creating a community of “multipotentialites.” Thanks for writing!


      1. kerlund74 Avatar
        kerlund74

        Weel thank you, I did not see that… I will check that out as well:)


  12. Manal Khalife Avatar
    Manal Khalife

    I’d like to add a resource http://www.puttylike.com EXCELLENT posts and support from Emily.


    1. paulaprober Avatar
      paulaprober

      Oh my goodness, Manal. I just went to her site. She looks like quite an amazing resource. I love her term “multipotentialite” to describe people with multipotentiality. Thanks so much for mentioning her. I’ll spread the word.


  13. Kamala Quale Avatar
    Kamala Quale

    I really like this one Paula.


    1. paulaprober Avatar
      paulaprober

      Thanks for reading, Kamala!

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