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    #247522 - 09/03/20 06:56 AM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4292
    Originally Posted By: raphael
    ...thoughts like "he would have been a better father if he had felt more fulfilled as a person".
    There is a saying which may apply here:
    "In a perfect world...!"
    smile
    Originally Posted By: raphael
    providing me with opportunities that he didn't get
    ...
    turn all that he gave to me into a good life, and I will have plenty of opportunities and ways to give back.
    At some points, when it feels right and would fit naturally into the moment, you may want to thank him and express your gratitude and appreciation for opportunities he has provided for you. Hearing this from an offspring's heart now and then, may be very meaningful to a parent.

    As you continue to make decisions along your life path, please recognize that having one or more positive options to consider is a wonderful privilege to be grateful for. It can be a life's work just to secure opportunity for one's offspring. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons there are many in the world who do not have a positive opportunity or option before them... much less a choice of positive options. Please do not create a weight or pressure on yourself in imaging that you must accurately forecast the optimal path. There are few catastrophes if one looks to find the benefits in each path taken, and focus on those. Even so-called setbacks present learning opportunities, spark self-reflection, introduce the possibility to learn and develop new skills, meet new people, and/or make a lateral move.

    What many/most parents want for their child(ren) is for them to cultivate the ongoing ability to experience happiness in life, stability, security, resilience. For many/most parents, their offspring's happiness is what signals success in life... much more than the offspring achieving eminence or excelling in any particular field.

    Other forum members may have great tips and advice on analyzing the options before you now. I have only a few sayings echoing in my mind about scientific research in general:
    - Science is never settled.
    - Correlation does not mean causation.

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    #247530 - 09/04/20 07:44 AM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    raphael Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/23/20
    Posts: 16
    Thanks again for this great answer.

    Originally Posted By: indigo

    At some points, when it feels right and would fit naturally into the moment, you may want to thank him and express your gratitude and appreciation for opportunities he has provided for you.


    I hope I will be able to do this one day. By that, I mean that by a lot of my actions, I have not expressed my gratitude and appreciation for opportunities he has provided for me. While he was working for financing my studies, I have been using some of his money for going out, buying alcohol or drugs. I was not living a healthy life, not exercising, wasting too much time on watching movies or playing video games. Not so long ago I was still blaming my parents (or others) for my lack of self-esteem, bad habits... I only start to understand how to be truly responsible for myself and my own actions.
    -> I hope I will be able to express my gratitude, when I truly feel grateful.

    Originally Posted By: indigo

    Please do not create a weight or pressure on yourself in imaging that you must accurately forecast the optimal path.


    Trying to do that has been causing some dose of suffering, headaches, overcomplicated thinking so far, and I am still learning to focus on the present, not the future (or the past).

    Originally Posted By: indigo

    Other forum members may have great tips and advice on analyzing the options before you now.

    I'll take this as an opportunity to quickly talk about my motivations/aspirations. So since a few years I seem to have been a bit obsessed with the AI/ML/data science conglomerate. In my free time, I would read a lot about the subject. It came to a point where I was completely stuck, because I was seeing a lot of the possibilities that come with the methodology (e.g. biomedical image classification, detection of disease specific fingerprints in the human body (proteomics), applications in humanitarian development such as at https://www.unglobalpulse.org/) and I had kind of lost hope because I didn't know how to get to a point where I might work in a related field, feeling strong guilt about not finishing engineering school, not feeling tough, mature or organized enough to quit psychology, make a fresh start and studying something new.
    In my job as a research assistant in social science I had performed a cluster analysis; it took me a while to understand that this was a very first step, that I lack a lot of foundations in mathematics if I wanted to know how to analyse data (-> as a data scientist), and even more knowledge in mathematics and computer science if I want to develop algorithms.
    I also saw that there a lot of areas in more advanced mathematics (e.g. topology, differential geometry) than seem to be relevant in certain cases. Intuitively, these are things I would like to explore.
    There are also some overlaps with psychology (e.g. human-computer- interaction, human recommender systems...) but intuitively these are, in my "ideal world", not the thing I would be studying. I am simply kind of fed up with psychology.

    So this was my main motivation behind bioinformatics. It seemed like a field I would be reasonably interested in - scientifically (and somehow also personally - my mother went through quite advanced breast cancer because it had not been recognized has been diagnosed with breast cancer which got into an advanced stage because the cancer had not been detected) would provide me with first skills in developing algorithms, and would probably give me diverse opportunities after finishing the program - either in gaining a PhD in the field, or working as a data scientist. However, I am still a bit uncertain if it is worth it to go for 2 more years of studying.

    In essence, my heart tells me "mathematics. algorithms. find something where you can learn more about this and apply them usefully".

    If you have any idea or experience in the field, and maybe have any other ideas where I might go with these ideas, I will happily take them.

    If you think this is still me trying to figure out the "ideal path" - please warn me smile.

    Best,

    Raphael

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    #247531 - 09/04/20 12:48 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4292
    It seems to be a gifted trait to want to optimize! For the most part that is a strong, positive trait. What may be difficult for many gifted people to remember is: all things in moderation. Too much of a good thing can become negative.

    If the desire to optimize moves beyond a healthy motivation to weigh options and evaluate what is a workable next step given the constraints of reality... and becomes a need or compulsion related to determining self-worth, then it has become detrimental.

    The book "What are the odds?," authored by the MyPillow guy, Mike Lindell, is an interesting autobiographical story of a person who I believe MUST be gifted. I read it with rapt attention and parts of it may resonate with you, too.

    If a field interests you, it is worth 2 more years of studying, if real life constraints allow this. If real life constraints do not allow this, move to Plan B. I have always encouraged people to have a Plan B... and a Plan C. Know what these plans are, and know what the triggers/circumstances are for you personally to change from Plan A to Plan B, from Plan B to Plan C, from Plan C back to Plan A, etc. For example, if my parent requires assistance I would offer to dedicate my time and effort to provide his/her supportive care, rather than have him/her living in a facility. If I win the lottery and current realities of financial constraints are removed, then I would _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

    Your options and thoughtful reflections on them are very interesting. I fully believe that whatever you choose, you can't go wrong.
    smile

    Hoping some others chime in with their stories of career path choices, and any advice and tips from what they've experienced.

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    #247533 - 09/05/20 02:41 AM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: indigo]
    raphael Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/23/20
    Posts: 16
    Thanks again. I can only repeat myself: having great conversations here.

    Originally Posted By: indigo
    What may be difficult for many gifted people to remember is: all things in moderation. Too much of a good thing can become negative.


    I think that I am experiencing a bit of this at the moment. In the last 2 weeks I have been experiencing heart palpitations, dizzyness... Sometimes feelings of detachment from work where it is really hard to say whether they come from my frustration with not working on a subject I find really interesting or meaningful, or maybe one that goes with burnout-like states (and after reading a bit on the subject, I see that I must be careful with this, because of the pattern of being extremely engaged, having high aspirations, then not getting the expected results). I tend to obsess over the "career" subject also on weekends, which is probably not a good thing.
    I try to counteract it by things such as relaxing in the evening night/not watching anything arousing, turning the computer off, yesterday I did some PMR, trying to walk and move as much as possible (which can be challenging with the COVID situation), trying to eat more slowly and not doing anything else aside from eating...
    (Aside from giftedness, I think that this obsession is also fueled by the the typical stress from the millenial generation, which is having to be someone special, doing special things, the whole FOMO thing... it can get pretty annoying and after having fought with it for a while, I consciously try to detach myself from this as much as possible).

    Originally Posted By: indigo

    If the desire to optimize moves beyond a healthy motivation to weigh options and evaluate what is a workable next step given the constraints of reality... and becomes a need or compulsion related to determining self-worth, then it has become detrimental.


    This was one of the main points from my therapist. "My work is not my worth". Funny thing is, I wasn't even working (or only as an assistant), but I was already so consumed with the idea of having to do something great, or being successful... Emotionally speaking, it is only in the last months that I have truly started to be more relaxed and detached, and even this is still stumbly if you consider the state I've been in in the last 2 weeks as I described earlier.

    Originally Posted By: indigo

    The book "What are the odds?," authored by the MyPillow guy, Mike Lindell, is an interesting autobiographical story of a person who I believe MUST be gifted. I read it with rapt attention and parts of it may resonate with you, too.


    Sounds like an interesting story smile. I will check that out.

    Originally Posted By: indigo

    If a field interests you, it is worth 2 more years of studying, if real life constraints allow this. If real life constraints do not allow this, move to Plan B. I have always encouraged people to have a Plan B... and a Plan C. Know what these plans are, and know what the triggers/circumstances are for you personally to change from Plan A to Plan B, from Plan B to Plan C, from Plan C back to Plan A, etc.


    That is a good point. I am a dreamer and I have had my issues with real life constraints until now. Also probably typical for the middle-class child who got too much used to his parents providing for him.
    (and a bit for the gifted. My imagination can get so vivid, I have spent weeks living in imaginary worlds during university. I was Was also a bit scary sometimes).



    Originally Posted By: indigo

    Hoping some others chime in with their stories of career path choices, and any advice and tips from what they've experienced.

    Also curious to hear about yours if you want to share and think it is relevant! smile

    One of my worries for example is that I might be on my way to "overstudying". I might get bored by picking up new "basics" like organic chemistry while I am getting at an age where well, you start feeling like you are able to contribute. I have some experience with doing research work. I am just a bit sad that I kind of trapped myself in studying a subject which in the end, I simply don't care so much about as I expected while it didn't provide me with the skills that I need to do the work I would like to do (as opposite to for example the telecommunications engineer who does a PhD in biomedical image analysis). I wanted to understand my behaviour, more than I wanted to become a psychologist (which is probably the confusion that some people have in the field). Now I've understood enough and I kind of want to move on to something else.


    Edited by raphael (09/05/20 02:42 AM)

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    #247535 - 09/05/20 11:47 AM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3685
    There were a few personal anecodes some pages back, mine among them.

    To expand on my own story a little: I went into the first few fields of study for a combination of reasons, including that I was capable of them, that I perceived family expectations as valuing certain fields of study over others, and that I found them interesting to learn about to varying degrees. It turns out, however, that while it is possible to engage in tertiary or above studies with these kinds of motivations and conditions, it is more difficult to maintain motivation -- or to move toward some level of career satisfaction -- without more powerful motivational elements. At least for me.

    I also have four degrees (and parts of another--five different kinds), in four (or five) different fields of study. While I work formally only in the last of these fields, I firmly believe that the others enriched my life experience, and contribute to my understanding of others' perspectives, and my capacity to problem-solve creatively.

    Understanding your own behavior is a perfectly legitimate reason to have undertaken studies in psychology. Now that it appears you are finding your interest in the field is restricted mainly to understanding yourself, rather than other people, you have obtained what you needed from this stage of your education and whole-person development.

    I think another way of framing what you are calling "overstudying" is that you, along with most GT adults, are likely to be a lifelong learner. Some of the topics you pick up to learn may turn out (intentionally or not) to be relevant to the work which pays your rent and puts food on your table, and is identified as "contributing". Some of it may be purely to feed your own thirst for intellectual growth. Neither is more worthy than the other.

    And finally, you have value simply because you are. A unique, precious human being--a singularity in history, never to be repeated again. That is enough.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #247538 - 09/06/20 02:54 AM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: aeh]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 670
    Loc: Canada
    As always, aeh, you get right to the essence of things. Perfect.
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Some of the topics you pick up to learn may turn out (intentionally or not) to be relevant to the work which pays your rent and puts food on your table, and is identified as "contributing". Some of it may be purely to feed your own thirst for intellectual growth. Neither is more worthy than the other.

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    #247539 - 09/06/20 06:48 AM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    raphael Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/23/20
    Posts: 16
    Thank you for expanding on your story aeh, and giving me perspective on my motivations.

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    #247541 - 09/06/20 02:39 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4292
    One possible antidote to FOMO and weekends of wondering may be experimenting with different hobbies and personal pursuits apart from your career interests.

    Many hobbies and pastimes exercise a conscious and deliberate focus relegating other ideas to "the back burner."

    Spending time in nature can be very self-nurturing, and may sometimes be paired with exploring photography, sketching/drawing, plein air painting, and/or journaling or logging steps taken, venues visited. Cooking is another activity in which a keen interest may be developed, and this can be related to gardening (growing fresh herbs, spices, produce such as vegetables or fruits). Decorating, landscaping, woodworking, sewing, knitting, crochet, singing and/or playing music are other creative endeavors which can be dabbled in and/or developed over a lifetime. Collecting can also be absorbing... just be sure that your collections will fit in the space you have available. I'm familiar with collections of rocks, shells, vintage baseball cards, miniature books, stamps, coins, and items featuring specific pet breeds.

    As a millennial who may have been steeped in an era of educational approaches which may have emphasized collectivism, hobbies and pastimes can encourage reflecting on who you uniquely are, and aid in exercising your personal decision-making, leadership, independence or inter-dependence in a low-stakes arena (away from one's career). This can be a strong antidote to focusing on what others may be doing that you may be missing out on, essentially being a follower.

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    #247550 - 09/08/20 12:53 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    raphael Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/23/20
    Posts: 16
    Good point, Indigo. Thanks for pointing out to all these activities.

    I used to do some photography when I was a bit younger, which I actually enjoyed a lot. I have also been a guitarist in a band, and have recently discovered that I might be actually able to play (basic) jazz music, which I had thought to be impossible before.

    I also like to cook, though I must admit that I haven't managed to make it a habit lately. I am also fortunate to have a small garden down my balcony, which is a rarity here in the center of the city and have a few vegetables and herbs growing. I even was involved in designing and building a community garden at university. I enjoy nature a lot and have even nearly sent an application for studying environmental science when I was 23.

    I though sometimes have trouble to find the right measure in such hobbies. Like a lot of things I do, they tend to "have to turn" into a performance. I "have to become excellent at it", or else "I have failed".

    It has been the center of therapy to understand that I cannot be excellent at everything I do. I am still in the process of understanding that it is possible to enjoy doing little things for their own sake, without having to be excellent at it. In the last months I have therefore been feeling grumpy -> "pff.. so boring.. just playing 15 minutes of guitar is nothing compared to being a great jazz musician". But I guess this is part of the process smile.

    Developing a sense of thankfulness, which has been a recurring concept in your responses here, is probably one the ideas that will help to continue getting out of this strange sense of frustration and cynicism.

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    #247553 - 09/08/20 01:55 PM Re: Career/taking control of my life at 26 [Re: raphael]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4292
    Ah, yes! Being a gifted pluripotent individual has its drawbacks. One is often able to engage in an activity and also provide critique of one's performance relative to a high standard. It can be frustrating, when no sooner is one goal accomplished than striving for another (or several) begins. Striving can be positive or one might feel driven to prove something and unable to turn that off. You've not failed if you've enjoyed the process, the use of your senses... the smell of the soil, the sight of your garden, the taste of your herbs, the sounds of your surroundings and/or your music.

    Having a pet such as a dog or cat that will make its needs known, and provide feedback as to how well you are meeting those needs, can be a wonderful experience, as well as providing ever-present reality checks:
    - the need to step back from tasks and interact with one who depends on you (thereby exchanging the pursuit of perfection in a hobby for the pursuit of a few moments to "unwind" with a hobby),
    - the need to sleep, to budget, to have some semblance of a routine,
    - to receive the acceptance, admiration, affirmation, and validation that such pets can bestow.

    Although when introduced many people ask about one's career, and may continue to identify people by their career throughout the lifespan, the world economy is rapidly changing:
    - computer automation may take over some career fields,
    - jobs may be exported to less highly compensated labor markets,
    - individuals with visas may move to a country and begin to dominate certain jobs,
    - demographic apportionment may play a larger role in hiring and promotion,
    - meritocracy, work ethic, ongoing professional development may play a decreasing role,
    - governments may begin to pay a uniform wage to all workers regardless of the work they do, under socialism, if supply-and-demand capitalism falls.
    Therefore my advice to everyone deciding on a career or seeking a career change, is to consider that taking control of one's life may involve prioritizing being OK regardless of career, career changes, career loss, or possible dictation/assignment of job roles in the not-so-distant future.

    Just my 2 cents.

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