In the past week I had several occasions to tell my story of making a mid-life career change. In each telling I shared how once I paid attention to the messages I was getting about being in the wrong career, support for making the change showed up. I have been aware for some time that I get “messages from the Universe” that let me know that I’m on the right path, or that I need to make a course adjustment.
Even the name of my blog, Blue Heron Wisdom, tips my hat to those messages. I think that acknowledging this support on a regular basis is a good way to get even more support from the Universe. In that spirit, I want to share the ways in which the Universe has supported me in pursuing my new (now current) career.
When I first awoke to the idea that I needed to make a career change I was in a job where I wasn’t challenged and my boss was not supportive, was volatile, and was sometimes verbally abusive. I was really unhappy and the stress was affecting my physical health. For several months I had been looking for a different job, and once I became clear on the fact that I needed not just a job change, but a career change, that next job showed up.
I had worked for many years – 26 years at that time – in software development. I decided that I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a counselor, but of course I did not have the right education yet to make that possible. I would need to return to school and get a master’s degree in psychology, counseling or some other related field, so I couldn’t immediately change careers.
However, I couldn’t wait two years or more (when I finished school) to change jobs. My current job was just too unpleasant and stressful. The next job I found, and ultimately my last job in software development, was the opposite. My boss was supportive and actually liked me, the team I worked with liked and appreciated me, and upper management thought I was great. It was wonderful to be appreciated.
But this change to a more pleasant work environment did not mean that I didn’t still need to change careers. It just meant that now that I had woken up and realized I had been on the wrong path and was moving in the right direction (I had applied to grad school for the fall), that I no longer had to suffer.
The lovely new work environment even extended to supporting me in making my career change. Although my boss new that once I finished school I would no longer be working there, he gave me time off to go to school and let me work part time while I did my internship. Now that is support! Not only from my boss and the company, but from the Universe!
Since the school I attended met for full days on weekdays every seven or eight weeks, I could not have participated in the program without that flexibility from my workplace. Additionally, in the second year of the program I was required to do an internship 20 hours a week. As a single parent of a child that was too young to be left home alone, there was no way I could have worked 40 hours a week while doing my internship. I was, and am, extremely grateful for the support I received from the Universe, through my boss and workplace, during those two years.
Once I graduated I was hired into the community mental health organization where I had been interning. My plan was to work there until I gathered enough client contact and supervision hours to be licensed, and then I would start my private practice.
I want to forewarn you that there is going to be a lot of talk about money coming up here. I know that many people in our society believe that money is something that should be kept private. My belief is that I need to thank the Universe and express appreciation for what I receive, so I need to be truthful about it. Additionally, I hope that my experience will be inspirational for others, which it cannot be if I don’t tell the truth about it.
The sad truth about social services jobs is that they are extremely underpaid. I went from making $100,000 a year in software development, to making a little over $13 an hour (that’s less than $30,000 a year) in community mental health. I knew this would be the case when I chose to make my career change and had decided I would supplement my income with withdrawals from my 401K.
About nine months after I graduated from my master’s program I needed to start making payments on my student loan. Even stretching the payments out for the longest possible term, this meant a $300 a month payment. Given that I was already drawing on my 401K just to support myself, the additional payment seemed like a lot.
I had been attending an intention circle, where we practiced the Law of Attraction by writing intentions and sharing them with the group, for about year at that time. I wrote an intention that said “My school loans are repaid easily and effortlessly without impacting my lifestyle or my savings” and forgot about it.
I had the idea that I would ask my mother to give me the money to make the first year’s worth of payments, which would be about $4000. It was a big step for me to ask my mother for money. There’s a lot of history I won’t go into right now, but suffice it to say it was a conscious choice for me to do something different in that relationship. I knew that she would say yes, but I didn’t like being indebted to her.
When I called to her to ask for this favor she immediately agreed. We went on to talk about the logistics of when this money would be available to me, and in the course of that discussion I said something about how much more expensive school was now than when I had been an undergraduate thirty years earlier. I said something like “Back then it was $282 a semester and now it was $40,000 for these two years!” My mom replied by saying, “Well, I can give you the whole $40,000.”
Wow! This exactly fit the intention I had set a few days earlier, but was not at all what I’d had in mind when I wrote it. The Universe works in mysterious and wonderful ways that I cannot even begin to imagine!
A couple of months later I met my mom at the bank to get a cashier’s check to fully repay the school loan. She was cashing in a $100,000 CD that had come due in order to give me that money. When we were having lunch later that day she said to me, “Interest rates are so low it doesn’t pay to put the rest of the money (the remaining $60,000) back in a CD, so think about how you could use that money.” Wow again. Thank you, mom!
I didn’t immediately clue into how I was supposed to use that money. I could have paid off my car loan, but it wasn’t enough to pay off my mortgage which was the biggest outgoing monthly payment that I had by far.
It took another month or so for me to realize how I was intended to use this gift from my mother. As I mentioned earlier, my idea had been to stay in community mental health until I was licensed, which was still about a year away. However, I had begun getting messages from the Universe that it was time to move on.
These messages were sometimes subtle, such as my voice mail at work getting disconnected multiple times, but I began to notice that my patience for that work environment was wearing thing. Finally, one day I had an epiphany that this generous gift from my mother was intended to fund the start of my private practice!
In the end, I left community mental health a year earlier than I had originally planned, and it has all worked out well. It was the exact right choice and in the exact right time, made possible by the Universe supporting me through my mother.
Since then I have continued to see evidence of being supported by the Universe on this journey I’m on, both through the manifestation of financial means as well as emotional and spiritually.
Thank you Universe, Spirit, God – whatever name you prefer! I am incredibly grateful!