Thursday, October 29, 2009

Maybe I should work in public health?

I've been thinking a bit about where I want to go in life, and what other careers I'd like to pursue. I love my job, but there isn't opportunity for promotion within the company. On top of that, there aren't many jobs elsewhere. Journalism is a dying field. I do like the idea of working in freelance writing, especially since that is a flexible career that would well with having kids.

I've often thought that I would transition into marketing of some sort. I love food, so I've also thought about working with in-store marketing, etc. Wouldn't it be cool to work for Whole Foods or Trader Joe's? I think they do a great job and I'd love to be a part of their community awareness campaigns, or even managing supply chains or something like that. I've also thought of working in the "CPG" (consumer packaged goods) market, even going so far as to learn the acronym. For the record, it's working in things like cereal, canned and frozen foods, neosporin, all the stuff you buy in stores. However, for some reason working in a store, where people make those choices, sounds better to me than actively convincing people to buy YOUR product.

I've always been interested in health. I loved my epidemiology class in college, which required fairly sharp math skills and the ability to read some rather tricky articles in medical journals. But I hated all my science classes in high school, so I never considered myself qualified for a job in a health field. I recently found out one of my friends, who also graduated with a degree in anthropology, is pursuing a degree in public health. She wrote her thesis on media representations of gardasil, I believe, and is working at the NIH in a receptionist role, so she's clearly on the track to doing that (unlike me). But I like the idea of doing marketing, but for public health. So much of writing is the joy of sharing ideas with people and trying to be persuasive and predicting what people are interested in. I would love to do something like that. Like advertising, but for good. I've done research this week on the field, but I'm still not totally sure about what types of qualifications you need to go to school, what degree in public health I could pursue, or even if there is a job out there that would utilize my interests. I've never been a politics person, and I'm terribly impatient, so I imagine that would eliminate a lot of potential positions for me. Would I want to work in advocacy? Would I want to try to do some kind of anthropological research of certain health populations? My mom works in educational research (she has her master's), and doing her kind of job, but in health, sounds very doable to me. And in terms of job stability--well, people will always need health care. If anything, couldn't government involvement increase the amount of funding available?

I really don't want to go back to school right now, and even more I really like my relationship and the idea of making choices that would move me away from my friends and boyfriend is not appealing to me. I also think that if I'm really, truly interested in this field, I need to work in it before I go back to school. Maybe even abroad? I've heard of, and know, many paralegals who decided against going to law school after their experience, and I think I should do the same thing. After all, it turned out that media planning wasn't really the best career choice for me.

So that's my plan out of left field. Thoughts?

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