Yet in today’s world, it’s increasingly unlikely that any individual will remain in the same career role throughout their life. This trend will likely continue as our young clients grow up and enter the workforce, and it has certainly been true of my own career journey that brought me to Seneca.
Throughout my adolescent and adult life, one aspect of my career journey has remained the same: I have always enjoyed working with children. When I was a child, this goal would have translated to a single, recognizable career identity, likely "A Teacher" or perhaps "A Nurse.” It was only as an adult that I discovered the many different avenues one can take to working with children – and since then I have tried on several of them.
My first job, for instance, was working for a children's play place (similar to the more recognizable icon of Chuck E. Cheese's.) I wasn’t a teacher, and I wasn’t a nurse, but I was working with kids. Yet even at the time I knew that this was a temporary role, a “stepping stone” so to speak. Looking back, I would say that my career journey really began with the two jobs I held in college, working in research labs – first studying language and cognition, and subsequently attachment. Instead of supervising children, I was studying them – a new role, with new responsibilities, and a much broader range of required skills.
Since then, I have been a special education aide, earned a Master’s in Fine Arts, taught classes on social justice & creative writing through an arts and education non-profit, set up side-gigs making art, transcribing audio, and substitute teaching, and most recently interned at my first MFT site placement with East Bay Agency for Children. Now here I am, working as a clinical intern with Seneca’s All-In program, and in May I will finish my master’s program and begin working towards licensure as a marriage and family therapist.
In some ways, I see MFT licensure as a “finish line,” establishing the career path that – at least as of now – I expect to follow long-term. Yet I still struggle sometimes with the questions “What do you do?” and “What do you want to be?” At twenty-nine years old, I have already “been” many things. Each of these roles has prompted me to strengthen new skills, tackle new problems, and take on new perspectives – contributing far more, in my opinion, to my sense of who I am than any particular job title. I try to keep this in mind when working with my clients, who also cannot be defined by any one role or aspect of their identities. And if anyone asks “What do you do?” Well, I listen, learn, try my best to be of service. “What do you want to be?” Empathetic, kind, and perhaps most importantly, flexible enough that, no matter what role I find myself in, I can continue to grow as an individual.