Pay Cut/Job Change

I have a Master's in Professional Counseling, not licensed yet, over 13 years of progressive Administrative Assistant experience. I don't want to enter the mental health field as I would have to take a huge paycut. Human Resource jobs at higher compensation levels do not seem to exist. Should I just give up and be an administrator for my career or can you think of any way I can leverage my valuable skills to transfer to another industry, without taking such a dramatic pay cut?

Sounds like you have had some great success in your career, and have been rewarded for it. If you have finished your master's in counseling (and congratulations for that!) you understand that the answers to a person's dilemna rarely exist in a short answer and it is important to gather additional information before offering anything that resembles a "simple solution."

The answers, of course, have to come from you! Counselors ask questions, clients search for their own answers. Actually, I made a similar move from business to counseling and faced the same dilemma. Tough choice. Sounds like you didn't quite do enough research prior to completing the program but I would have to ask you to think about and describe the reasons you were interested in redirecting your career in the first place. Do those reasons still exist? Have you really spent enough time thinking through what is really important to you? What, if anything, has changed since you entered the program?

You would also have to think about exactly what those transferable skills are, research where and how you might use them in the field of mental health (if you are still drawn to the field) and where you want to be over a period of 5, 10, 15 years from now. Is there continued financial security if you continue on the administration track. In most cases, whenever you are making a move into another field, or taking on a new skill set, there are dues to be paid - additional education, internships, entry level positions, etc. This also might be a good time for you to think about and pursue connecting with people in fields of interest to you for informational interviews. This will give you more information about the realities of the workplace. There are also some excellent government and salary websites that can offer you information on what different types of positions pay. So, you have your work cut out for you!

One area, however, that does come to mind that might combine your training and your skills might be organizational development, you might want to do some exploring into that area to see what is required. Sounds like a pure career counseling case to me!!! You might benefit greatly from talking this out with someone at Jewish Vocational Services or another agency. Lots to think about and with your eagerness to move forward you should be able to make some good choices.

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