JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Job and My Career Path: Background

So, in response to a comment yesterday about my research work, I figure that I should probably just explain all of this. Here's the situation with my work life:

I currently work 20 hours per week as the Project Manager (PM) of a large research project that involves multiple universities across the country. I work for three faculty members, one of which is my advisor. My involvement with this project started almost two years ago, when I took a class that involved hands on training doing interviews for the project. They asked me to coordinate the interviews done by other students and clearly liked my work. When I returned from Israel over a year ago, my advisor asked/told me that I would take on the role of PM. She said that they'll pay me fabulously (aka $20/hour which is pretty good for a grad student) and that they'll publish with me. They also pay my tuition and health insurance.

My research is something very different, something which I am very passionate about, but which involves sexual violence. I am very committed to this work, but my therapist thinks that it might be a bad idea for me to be doing it because it keeps me engaged with the topic instead of letting it go. Personally, I feel very strongly about the imporance of doing this work, and I think that it gives to me as well as being draining at times.

My advisor wants me to write my dissertation using the data from the project that I work on with her. Whether or not I do it, I still will work on it at least until this summer, and even longer if I really want to get publications out of it. The project is a really big career opportunity for me, which provides me not only with a great jump into being a professor, it also sets up space for me to be qualified to work as an administrator at a college campus.

However, all of this is really stressful. My therapist today confirmed what Kathy and I had been discussing - that graduate school and working in the academy trigger PTSD symptoms. She asked me today to think about other options, and honestly it is hard for me. I can picture working for a not for profit, but I imagine that the stress level there would be no better, if not worse. Maybe I could picture being a psychologist, but I want to work on a more macro level. I could picture being a writer, although that's a really risky business to get into without the academy credentials and support. Plus, I honestly love teaching; I would miss it. My story is nothing like the picture; or well, I guess it could be if I stick with it. But, I might be looking at making a loop and starting over with something different.

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Blogger Gail Rae said...

Something that works for me, Karma, when too many people begin "suggesting" that "this" may not be good for me or "that" would be better...I hone in on the area inside me where "my light" comes from and reposition myself into that light. I usually find that this makes it easier to put other people's advice in the proper personal perspective and figure out what I really need to do.
Also, remember, the key to a vital life is to always have more desires than you think you can possibly fulfill.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger Karma said...

I think that's part of what's so hard about this process. I get a lot of light and inspiration and even probably a big chunk of my sense of self and self worth from my work on sexual violence. BUT so many people have been pointing out to me that they think this is bad for me, its making me question everything in ways that I'm really not well prepared for.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 1:14:00 PM  

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