The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use our anonymous form, and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact information is here.


Dear Career Doctor:

I work as an air traffic controller which pays well but is stressful. I went to a good private college to get this job and have a lot of school loans. I have been in this field for 2 Ĺ years and am almost done with my training.

I got in trouble last week for losing separation between two aircraft. It wasnít really a safety situation Ė the two planes were not going to collide Ė it was that they were following each other too closely. But now I feel like I am walking on hot coals at work.

I knew this job was going to be stressful at times and I know I can do the job. I just donít know if it is worth the stress. I donít like the feeling that a bad decision could cost lives or my job. I feel I donít want this responsibility and maybe I should pursue another field Iím interested in. To complicate matters, Iím living three states away from my family: Iím married with a three year old daughter and my wife is pregnant.


Dear Robert:

You had your first scare on the job, and I hope you have calmed down a bit by now. You have invested so much time, energy and money in this field that it would be a shame not to stay with it for a while Ė while you explore how other people in your field cope.

Everyone with a stressful job Ė especially a job where lives are at stake Ė has to find healthy ways of dealing with it. One good way is to go home to a loving family and leave the job behind as you walk in the door. So, I hope your wife can join you as soon as possible. Other helpful ways include joining (or forming) a peer support group Ė a place where you can share your concerns and fears and find empathetic responses. Some people take yoga or learn to meditate. I often make relaxation tapes for people coping with stress.

The point is, donít give up before you have tried to find healthy ways to cope. If none of these methods help and you are still eaten up by stress, then you will be absolutely right to change fields.

The Career Doctor


The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.


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