Dear Career Doctor:
I have been self-employed for 26 years as a contractor. To be honest the stress has taken its toll on me to the point I can hardly digest my food and have bad cramping when I do eat. I do high end carpentry and most everyone loves my work, but these are desperate times and people will do desperate things, like just recently rip me off for 6 grand.
I have a wife and three kids. I love kids and I love to teach. I am considering finishing college, obtain my masters and teach. I need to get away from the stress. In short are you aware of any way I can do this and still support my family. I am 42 and looking for something new.
When you are so stressed that it makes your stomach hurt, it’s time for a change — and for some stress management.
You want to get into teaching for the right reasons, so go for it! Empire State College (www.esc.edu) might be a great place to finish your undergraduate degree. It’s part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system and specializes in working with people like you — people who want to complete their education later in life. Empire State gives credits for life experience. So, they will probably give you college credits for subjects like business administration and creative arts — experience you obtained through working as a contractor.
After you get your degree, there is a program called New York City Teaching Fellows (www.nyctf.org) which will hire you for $45,530 to teach in the public schools and subsidize your Master’s Degree while you are teaching. Your application might receive “extra credit” because the schools always are looking for good male role models.
But here’s the first thing I think you should do: tell your doctor about your stomach problems. If there is no medical reason for your cramps, get stress management help. The cure might be quicker that you think. For example, I can often can teach a patient relaxation techniques or ways to block stressful thoughts in just a few sessions.