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 the anonymous , and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact in ation is here.


Dear Career Doctor:

I recently closed my real estate business that I have been running for several years and currently have a fall-back job here in Missouri where I am earning $100K. I like the work but I am not happy. I want to follow my dream and go back to college and pursue a PH D in Psychology. However, I am 34 and feel like I am too old and the financial aspect could burden my family. Any advice?


Dear Randy:

I think you are the one who should be giving advice -- telling all the people who want to get out of the real estate business how to find a $100,000 fall-back position! But to answer your question:

You are not necessarily too old to pursue a Ph.D., but the financial burden will be extreme. You will have to count on being in school 4-5 years where you pay for your education but make very little money. Then, even after a number of years of experience, given managed care, you may never make your current salary. So you and your family will have to decide whether or not this sacrifice is worth it.

Given the fact that you say you like your work, I would tend to stick with it, while trying to find the benefits you seek as a psychologist elsewhere. There are many ways you can counsel people in your off hours. For example, I recently suggested to a client that he counsel people with excessive credit debt, helping them negotiate better deals with their creditors. Your real estate knowledge could be a great asset with this.

If you want to engage in a different kind of psychological counseling, there are many opportunities: mentoring troubled young people or volunteering at a victim's assistance or crisis hotline agency. Agencies like these often train volunteers. Some family courts have programs too, training volunteers to be child advocates or work with troubled families.

Study psychology and try to use what you learn, but the most practical approach would be to use it as a volunteer, rather than trying to support your family that way.

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.