Monday, October 22, 2007

Early Mid-life Crisis.

I've been freaking out a little for the past two days. I'm not sure if I'm picking the right career path. I've had a strong sense of what I wanted to do for years; suddenly, I'm questioning it all.

I've already finished city college (community, junior, etc.) and am at a university working on my B.A. I'm majoring in Latin American Studies with most likely a minor in Chicano Studies. I love my classes. I love everything I'm learning. I'm passionate about helping people. I plan on getting a Ph.D in Cultural Anthropology and living down in Central or South America. I want to work for either the UN, an embassy or a non-profit organization. I know what I'm getting myself into. The chances of me dieing before I hit thirty is a possibility. My involvement in war zones and poverty-stricken areas will be strong. None of this is a deterrment. My sister is. I can't imagine living far away from my sister. It already kills me to see her once a week. Because of this, I'm looking at the possibility of going for a Ph.D in Ethnic Relations. There are some local schools with excellent programs (USC and UCLA).

Then there comes the questioning. It comes in the form of another area I love: wine and good food. Everyone in my life thinks I should go into culinary arts or become a sommelier. Truth be told, I'm already involved with the wine industry. I've made friends with proprieters of wine businesses; I love the community. No one treats me as though I'm some idealistic kid; I get treated as an equal. My memory is excellent and taste buds are keen. I've gone on interviews for upscale fine-dining establishments. Supposedly, the managers were blown away with my wine knowledge. Unfortunately, they all say I'm too young (which is a complete paradox to the way I'm treated by actual wine merchants). I love exploring with pairing, reading up more information and tasting new things. I love the new experiences and people I come across.

The biggest difference between these two fields comes down to knowing how to get where I want. I've been focusing on Latin America for years and still don't know what I'll end up doing. People ask what I'm going to specifically do down in Latin America and I merely tell them that I'll go where I can. On the other hand, I know how to move up in the wine industry. It's all about networking and I already have my foot in the door.

I'm utterly torn.

I want to help people and I feel as though a part of my life won't be complete if I don't. Forever will I feel a burden on my conscience that I didn't use my intellect for the greater good of humanity.


Fabulously Broke in the City said...

Couldn't you do the wine thing (sounds like you're on the path to becoming a world famous sommelier!) and then use your money for charity?

Fabulously Broke in the City said...

Oh wait.. but you mentioned you wanted to use intellect.

Could always volunteer...

Strange Bird said...

Or you could do what everyone else does and change careers at some point. :) They don't even have to be marginally related.

GG said...

I hate that I'm not remembering her name right now, but have you heard of that woman who runs "Check, Please" for the public station? She's Indian... good heavens, what's her name? Anyway, she's a sommelier and one of the few female (maybe the only?) ones in the world.

She's also turbo young. You should read her story. Google Check Please. I'm telling you.

Escape Brooklyn said...

Well, honestly you still have plenty of time to decide, but I'd vote for the wine job since it sounds as if you're really cut out for it and there's a potential to earn money, versus doing the PhD/nonprofit thing, which will be a financial struggle and may even involve taking on additional debt. (Says the do-gooder nonprofit employee who's still paying off her MFA.)

As other folks have suggested, later in your career (when you have more assets) you can always switch fields to "give back" to the community. Or, if you don't want to wait, you can use your vacation time to travel and do volunteer work in other countries. And you can always volunteer at home to feel more personally/emotionally fulfilled.