Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Your chance to ask for advice on any aspect of career development that doesn't fit in any of the above categories
Post Reply
Opetha
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:01 pm

Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by Opetha » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:57 pm

Ok, here's the deal...

I'm nearly 33 years old and I am getting absolutly nowhere. I've reached a point where I am very very close to not only giving up my dreams of working as a Psychologist but also on the whole concept of having a career.

Without listing my entire CV I have the following 'going for me'

I have my Psch undergrad and an MSc in Forensic and Investigative Psychology (I also have a BA and MA in Eng Lit).
I've worked as a psychiatric nursing assistant for NHS.
I've got years of expererience working in a voluntary capacity for Samaritans, an Eating Disorder charity, a Self Harm charity.
I've years of experience working in Intelligence services for Govt - which involved research, analysis, complex high stakes decision making etc.

I've applied for probably around 20 Assistant Psychologist posts. I've had one interview for a paid post and one interview for a Voluntary post and I didn't get either. The most recent application I submitted was for a post where they were hiring no nless than 12 assistant psychs... I didn't even get short-listed.

I'm now back to applying for support worker / nursing assistant Band 3 posts - or assistant IAPT posts and still not having any luck.

As I said earlier i'm nearly 33 and hoping to have children in the next few years, once I have them I am only going to be looking for part time work, which makes things even harder.

I can't even get a job as an assistant psychiatrist, so I don't stand a hope in hells chance of getting onto the clinical training program. The way I am going I probably wouldn't even get into training until i'm nearly 40 and only then if I am very lucky, then I have to dedicate 3 years to the training program being getting qualified.

My partner doesn't think it is worth my time pursuing this career option. He has argued that it is too competative, takes too long and ultimatly even if I do get through the training and get qualified, working as a part time psychologist would only bring in, what, around 17-18,000 a year at best? I've also spoken to a career advisor who said very similar things and advised I look elsewhere.

After having spent so much time and money on my education, I am jobless and feeling rather hopeless. I feel like I don't stand a chance in this field, but I also can't see a future doing anything else. I feel like at 32 and after all my efforts, my career is over and i've basically failed at life.

I don't know what kind of responces I am expecting or hoping for. Whether I want people to say "No, you'll get there, it'll be worth it" or whether I want people to say "yes, you're right, it isn't happening for you, move on".

I feel so so lost.

Advertisement
Pearson Clinical Assessment publishes a wide range of assessments to support psychology professionals including the Gold Standard Wechsler range. To view our range please visit: pearsonclinical.co.uk/cpf
Smallblonde02
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:29 pm

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by Smallblonde02 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:10 pm

I wonder if maybe you need some help with you supporting statement/application as it sounds like you have valuable experience! Do you know anyone in psychology who is able to proof read or assist you with this?

PinkFreud19
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat May 18, 2019 3:08 pm

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by PinkFreud19 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:04 pm

It looks to me like two questions are implicit here: 1. why has it been so hard thus far and 2. is clinical psychology worth pursuing at this stage?

1.Why has it been so hard thus far?
As Smallblonde said, your experience does seem really good, and certainly more extensive than mine had been when I got my first AP job. This makes me wonder whether it is indeed an issue with the way you write your supporting statements, both for the DClin and AP positions. Unfortunately, I do not think I'm qualified to take a look myself, although if there's no other option please do message me (I know at least how AP posts are shortlisted). Miriam has done some really good posts on the wiki and her blog about this ("How NOT to apply for an AP position" I think it was called).

2. Is clinical psychology worth pursuing?
There's obviously no easy way to answer. As is covered in many other similar threads, people often fight so hard to get there that they become quite underwhelmed when they finally do make it, because the career can never make it up to the degree of expectation that has been built. You have to also ask yourself why it is that you are so set on CP and not one of the other similar career paths that may be less competitive?

On the counter to that, it may be good to reflect also on how much you've enjoyed the journey so far? I personally loved my AP post, and couldn't quite believe I was getting paid to do the job. If it does take about 3-4 years and if you do only earn a band 4 salary in the meantime, does that matter if you're enjoying the journey?

One thing that strikes me is that you brought up the pay of a qualified CP. The salary sounds quite salient to you, and the question of "is all this grief worth it for 20k a year?" suggests that maybe you are not enjoying the journey enough and is causing enough stress to build up a sort of "will the grass be greener on the other side" type narrative. I think if this is a fair reflection, maybe reconsidering the career would not be a bad shout. Certainly, if money is the goal first and foremost, CP is not the career you should pursue.

lingua_franca
Posts: 907
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:29 pm

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by lingua_franca » Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:00 pm

All the qualified psychologists on here have pointed out that an AP job is not necessary to get onto training. In fact, I think I remember Miriam saying that statistically the competition for AP roles (at least in the NHS) is higher than competition for doctorate places.

I had a similar thought to everyone else (get someone to look at how you write an application, to check you're not selling yourself short). Other than that, I wondered how long you worked for in each role? Assuming you graduated from your first undergraduate degree at 21, then you have been in work or further study for twelve years. If you did a second BSc (presumably three years if done full time), plus two MAs, then how much time has been spent on consistent work (full-time roles, or at least part-time roles that offer a substantial number of hours)? It's not just the duration of time you've spent in a job, but how many hours were involved, so if your work history looks 'bitty' that may be counting against you.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7691
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by miriam » Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:30 pm

Lingua beat me to it! Getting an AP post is waaaaay more competitive than getting on training. About 3% of applicants for AP posts are called to interview and about 1% secure a post. About 25% of applicants get an interview for clinical training, and 15% secure a place.

But as others said, it sounds like your need feedback on your application, and perhaps to attend some groups or training sessions so that you present well at interview as well. But 20 posts really isn't that many, and the key is to really tailor your application to what they are looking for, as so many people don't. I've explained this in a thread recently, and written a blog about it. I think there is a link in my signature.

As to whether it is worth it financially, I think you've been misled. You could potentially get NHS maternity pay during pregnancy, and a salary plus childcare voucher when you return to work, with carry forward leave that means you have loads of paid time off as a new parent. Although newly qualified part-time pay might be as you state, there are points up which you climb with length of service, and you can get a higher band after a couple of years experience. And you will one day have a life again after having children, in which you will be guaranteed employment at quite a respectable level of pay, and have the option of part-time working. I certainly did very well out of the NHS for my maternity leave and the following year of part-time working!

But as PinkFreud19 said, I'd also look at why you have become so negative, and why you aren't enjoying the journey, as I think those subjective factors sound much more important than the actual facts about the profession.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

User avatar
Spatch
Posts: 1374
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:18 pm
Location: The other side of paradise
Contact:

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by Spatch » Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:22 pm

My partner doesn't think it is worth my time pursuing this career option. He has argued that it is too competative, takes too long and ultimatly even if I do get through the training and get qualified, working as a part time psychologist would only bring in, what, around 17-18,000 a year at best? I've also spoken to a career advisor who said very similar things and advised I look elsewhere.

After having spent so much time and money on my education, I am jobless and feeling rather hopeless. I feel like I don't stand a chance in this field, but I also can't see a future doing anything else. I feel like at 32 and after all my efforts, my career is over and i've basically failed at life.
A couple of things I would flag up. First is to make sure you are not falling prey the sunk cost fallacy- that your investment in time so far gets in the way of making a good decision. That time/ money has already gone and its never worth staying in the cinema watching a movie you hate just because you paid for it -you are just further wasting your time at this point.

You also may benefit from researching Plan B and good alternative careers. There has been a lot written about this on ClinPsy, and it could be that you are locked into "Clinical Psychology or failure" because you are not aware of the myriad of other options out there. Please note that these are NOT second rate careers, they use the skills and experience you have built up. There is a difference between not seeing a future doing anything else because you are aware of the alternatives, have experienced them, then decided, or because no one has ever told you about alternatives. Career advisors tend not to know this field too well, so I would go to the various NHS recruitment events that happen from time to time or talk to other related professionals to see what options are out there.

The last thing is that you really need to have your partner onboard for this. Even if you decide to continue are succesful and get onto training, there is at least another 3 years of high stress, placements where you don't get to choose where you go, academic work cutting into relationship time, thesis and all the other junk that goes with training. I remember one cohort used to nickname it the "divorce course" for the number of breakups it caused. If they are deeply unhappy with it now, and questioning the "sacrifices" already, I am not sure the returns from getting on a course will deliver for them when things actually get harder.

It may feel different now, but failing at getting on a DClinPsy is not failing at life, any more than me not gaining an olympic gold medal means I have failed at sport. Most applicants will not get on a course, heck more will not be in a position to even apply. That is reality -yet those people aren't write offs. I know medics, journalists, teachers, NHS managers, businesswomen, academics and senior civil servants that make up that list.
Shameless plug alert:

Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist is available at Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Irrelevant-Expe ... 00EQFE5JW/

Mathan
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:12 pm

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by Mathan » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:51 pm

Hi. I tend to lurk here and I've been meaning to come back to thank some people for their advice a while back. I saw your post though and thought I'd postpone that a few minutes more :)

I was just looking at your experiences and wondering if you had ever considered becoming a registered intermediary? A company called Communicourt hires psychology and speech and language therapy graduates to these positions and this would allow you to leverage your current level of experience and qualifications into a professional role without chasing that elusive AP role. They've just completed a recruitment cycle but they recruit about twice a year from my understanding.

I also wanted to recommend SLT to you in general. I'm currently studying this and there is a lot of opportunity for you to use your current skill set and knowledge. You could potentially qualify within 3/4 years from where you are right now and there are loans available to train, albeit not much. This would allow you to start work at band 5 in the NHS. You wouldn't be ruling out the clinical doctorate in time and you could effectively keep psychology on a side burner as an alternative route to career progression as an SLT. Granted, the earning potential isn't quite as high as a CP (for most SLTs anyway) but you would be using your skills and you could finally start moving forward. Alternatively, you could train as a psychiatric nurse and, again, keep CP as an option. Again, this would allow you to leverage your experiences and strengthen your profile as a CP applicant by gaining a clinical role.

I dropped out of a psychology conversion programme a few years ago because I knew that it wasn't the right place for me at that time if I wanted to progress quickly. There was no guaranteed job option at the end of it and I wanted to do things like house and a family. I knew that psychology wasn't going anywhere and I could always apply later if I wanted to but I wanted to be moving forward with the years, not just jogging on the spot, so to speak.

You have a lot going for you. You have your qualifications and they're not going anywhere. You have a lot of relevant experiences and you've got potentially 40 years of working life ahead of you. You've got time to take a couple of detours if you need to.
Last edited by Mathan on Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alex
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:01 pm

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by Alex » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:12 pm

Just a few points:

- you don't need an AP to get on course
- as Miriam stated statistically more likely to get on course than get an AP post (once you meet minimum requirements)
- applicants have a tendency to idealise CP - it is just a job and a hard job, you will likely to be happy doing other jobs as well (if not more so :s)
- if you are struggling now, it doesn't end when you get on training - training is hard as are qualified jobs

I am not advising any course of action but I would say if you decide not to that you could have a happy future doing something else.

Mudisco
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:21 pm

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by Mudisco » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:07 pm

Opetha wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:57 pm
Ok, here's the deal...

I'm nearly 33 years old and I am getting absolutly nowhere. I've reached a point where I am very very close to not only giving up my dreams of working as a Psychologist but also on the whole concept of having a career.

Without listing my entire CV I have the following 'going for me'

I have my Psch undergrad and an MSc in Forensic and Investigative Psychology (I also have a BA and MA in Eng Lit).
I've worked as a psychiatric nursing assistant for NHS.
I've got years of expererience working in a voluntary capacity for Samaritans, an Eating Disorder charity, a Self Harm charity.
I've years of experience working in Intelligence services for Govt - which involved research, analysis, complex high stakes decision making etc.

I've applied for probably around 20 Assistant Psychologist posts. I've had one interview for a paid post and one interview for a Voluntary post and I didn't get either. The most recent application I submitted was for a post where they were hiring no nless than 12 assistant psychs... I didn't even get short-listed.

I'm now back to applying for support worker / nursing assistant Band 3 posts - or assistant IAPT posts and still not having any luck.

As I said earlier i'm nearly 33 and hoping to have children in the next few years, once I have them I am only going to be looking for part time work, which makes things even harder.

I can't even get a job as an assistant psychiatrist, so I don't stand a hope in hells chance of getting onto the clinical training program. The way I am going I probably wouldn't even get into training until i'm nearly 40 and only then if I am very lucky, then I have to dedicate 3 years to the training program being getting qualified.

My partner doesn't think it is worth my time pursuing this career option. He has argued that it is too competative, takes too long and ultimatly even if I do get through the training and get qualified, working as a part time psychologist would only bring in, what, around 17-18,000 a year at best? I've also spoken to a career advisor who said very similar things and advised I look elsewhere.

After having spent so much time and money on my education, I am jobless and feeling rather hopeless. I feel like I don't stand a chance in this field, but I also can't see a future doing anything else. I feel like at 32 and after all my efforts, my career is over and i've basically failed at life.

I don't know what kind of responces I am expecting or hoping for. Whether I want people to say "No, you'll get there, it'll be worth it" or whether I want people to say "yes, you're right, it isn't happening for you, move on".

I feel so so lost.
I will say that the first thing you want to ask yourself is that why do you want to be a CP? Be honest with yourself. What attracts you to it and after exploring that, if it is what you really want, then go for it. What helped me was that after assessing how stiff the competition was, I broke down CP into the bits that matched my values and that I liked and the thought of which other careers met that.

Another thing, is like other people have said, not getting on the training does not mean you have 'failed at life' - at the end of the day, it is just a job that involves helping people, researching on phenomena, analysing, and improving the way services are run. You can do this with many other career paths.

Your post sounds like they may be some self-esteem issues? If that is the case, that should be your priority in addressing.

From having shit grades and being told I should not apply by teachers, colleagues and supervisors, I had to really think why I really wanted to be a CP. I realised that I had some esteem issues and I focused on working on that and the way I saw life. I then reframed it, for what it was, applying for a job and that if this did not work out, I could do something else that met my values. I also focused on enjoying the job that I had (PWP) and enjoyed learning from supervision. All in all, it is not a magic formula but with positive thinking and framing it that clinical psychology would benefit from me, rather than the other way around, I got on. So I think the key is some soul searching I think. I learnt that if you need something too much or pursue it too much, it repels itself. Mindset is everything.
Last edited by Mudisco on Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Iggy1
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:33 am

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by Iggy1 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:30 am

I agree with what everyone has said about AP jobs not being the be all and end all to getting on the doctorate, but just to acknowledge the assistant application process- it requires commitment in itself!

20 applications is not many at all (I've applied for 5 in the last 4 months and I'm not actively looking- with only one call to interview I might add and I'm currently an assistant!). I estimate I applied for over 100 (mainly assistant) posts between finishing undergrad and getting my first one.

You need a good template of a personal statement that hits all the criteria on the job spec (hopefully in a reflective style), and then be ready to tailor it to the population/service when a job is advertised. Same with NHS Research Assistant jobs. Quick reflexes are necessary here as they're often up for less than 24 hrs, so you need to be checking the NHS site manually as the email alerts can be sent out too late. Apply for the roles where you meet the essential and desirable criteria and if you're planning on going forward with this develop your personal statement now as AP posts will start coming out fast once everyone with a place on the course has handed their notice in!

Re the recruitment of 12 AP's at once, I think I saw this advert- it was for an NHS trust that is huuuge and the ad was open for a week, so I wouldn't have said the odds were any better just because there were more posts available (although your assumption that the odds would have been better may well be an indicator of a bias towards failure you're pinning to yourself!)

Basically what I'm saying is my experience is commitment and persistence are key even for those band 4 jobs... a running theme in the CP career path.

I wish you the best of luck whatever you decide!

PinkFreud19
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat May 18, 2019 3:08 pm

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by PinkFreud19 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:13 pm

Iggy1 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:30 am
20 applications is not many at all (I've applied for 5 in the last 4 months and I'm not actively looking- with only one call to interview I might add and I'm currently an assistant!). I estimate I applied for over 100 (mainly assistant) posts between finishing undergrad and getting my first one.
Similar experience to me Iggy; I think I had applied to 90 before getting my first (and only) AP role.

It took two to three months of applying before I even received any interviews. It was only after my sister pointed out that my approach needed an overhaul that I started to get any at all. Towards the end, I was getting about an interview a week.

Opetha
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:01 pm

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by Opetha » Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:34 pm

Thank you all so much for the thoughtful replies. :)
There are some brilliant psychologists in the making here because there were a number of very insightful comments made which really made me think.

1. From everything that has been said here I think I probably do need to overhaul the way I approach writing my supporting statements. I don't know anyone IRL that could help, so if there is anyone here who could possibly take a look, i'd really appreciate it?

2. Salary concerns - I think this possibly came up in my post because i've been struggling to accept the the way salary sometimes just does not correspond with the actual work being done. My partner works in computer coding / development stuff and without a degree, and with only a years experience has landed a 100k a year job. At that time I was working for the government, doing some really high stakes stuff and earning 25k.

3. Self esteem, self-belief and issues - Sitting behind my original post was a whole caseload of anxiety, insecurity and fear. My self worth and identity is wrapped up in how sucessful I am, what job I do, how clever I am. I don't think very much of myself. For example, at the minuet, i'm out of work, this weekend my partner's mum is hosting a big family get together, and I've said I can't go, because all his family will be asking me "so, what is it that you do?" and I can't say "well, i'm on the dole!". The shame and embarrasment. I also can't 'spin' it like some people would do and say "oh well after finishing my second postgrad degree and working for the government for several years, i'm now just taking some time to myself while I plan the next episode in my career!". That feels so inauthentic and braggy.

4 - why clin psych? - That's a good question too. Why do I want to be a CP? Well, originally I planned to go into Forensic Psych, that's what my MSc was in. However, I decided recently that I didn't want to work in a prison, and jobs in the secure hospitals just never ever appear. So I thought i'd switch to CP. It gives me the oppertunity to complete a doctorate and gain a professional qualification which opens the door to lots of jobs. I see CP jobs advertised in my local area constantly. I am genuinly extreemly interested in clinical psychology too, I have a real desire to help people, to reduce suffering, to support development of psychologically informed therapy, i'm interested in research and have a real genuine desire to contribute to the profession.

I think I am also probably incredibly limited in my imaginative scope, I can't see what other jobs there are, I'm very stuck in the old traditional career route and I measure success by letters after a name etc.. There must be a job out there that I could do well and actually enjoy. It just sometimes feels like I wasn't made for the world, like theoretically I have everything I need, but in reality something is missing.

User avatar
Beggarsroost
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:37 pm
Location: Surrey/Hampshire

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by Beggarsroost » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:09 am

Hi! Just wanted to say that I could have written your OP myself.

I am a couple of years younger than you and I have a young child now. The cost of childcare, wanting to be home with my child while they are young and the stress of short-term, low paid contracts have made me decide that CP, at least for now is not for me.

I have applied a few times in the past and twice have made to interview and then onto reserve lists but have never been offered a place.

I am now job searching as my contract (research) is coming to an end and am looking at permanent, (somewhat) decently paid roles in a variety of settings. I have been offered interviews in research, prisons (my MSc was also in Investigative Psych), schools, private psychology firms and advocacy settings. When you open up your search criteria you may find you may be so much more likely to get an interview as there is less competition and many industries see a psychology background as a real positive. I have taken a bit of a scatter gun approach in that I've applied for anything and everything that looks interesting and have been pleasantly surprised but the amount of interviews I've been offered! That being said, I have also applied for a few AP roles and have not got that many interviews (this is despite have 5+ years of different AP experience on my CV...... not that I'm the "perfect" AP but just shows the level of competition!)

I can completely empathise with feeling like a failure and not wanting to "give-up" or "drop-out" of the CP race. I just wasn't prepared to put my life on hold anymore for a job and once I had children, as cliche as it sounds it really did put it in perspective. My plan now is to find a permanent role that will pay enough for me to work part time and enjoy my time with my child and any others we may have in the next couple years and then maybe reassess when they are a little older.

Good luck with it all! Remember you're running your own race :D
Life is far too important to be taken seriously

PinkFreud19
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat May 18, 2019 3:08 pm

Re: Time to Give Up? *sad face*

Post by PinkFreud19 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:55 pm

Opetha wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:34 pm
I think I am also probably incredibly limited in my imaginative scope, I can't see what other jobs there are, I'm very stuck in the old traditional career route and I measure success by letters after a name etc.. There must be a job out there that I could do well and actually enjoy. It just sometimes feels like I wasn't made for the world, like theoretically I have everything I need, but in reality something is missing.
It's interesting, because I only realised just how many clinically relevant jobs there were after I got my AP job and worked in a hospital. There are some jobs offering truly excellent experience out there, for a paid salary, such as:

- Activities coordinator: work with patients with mental or physical health problem to keep them socially stimulated. Can include helping them walk around the hospital and contributing towards MDT assessments
- Rehab assistant: supporting OTs and physios in rehabilitation of patients. If you work on a neuro ward, you are exposed to neuropsychological sequelae of stroke.
- Many other healthcare or mental health related jobs that are advertised on NHS jobs that people don't generally know about!
- Working with learning disabilities in various settings, such as "special schools" (I hate that term, is there a less pejorative term nowadays?)

Please do give me a message if you'd like me to have a look a your supporting statement.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 8 guests