Hello and WELCOME to PsychAssist. This week we have another installment of Serkan’s story. This time around, Serkan gives us an update on his journey and the highs and lows of taking a break from the psychology world. He also speaks about his time as a waiter and how this has kept him humble and grateful for everything that he has (Very similar to my Pizza Hut experience!). Just goes to show that some setbacks are actually blessings in disguise and this is exactly the case for Serkan. We hope you enjoy this installment of his journey.
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It feels sooo good to be blogging once again, after what seems like a million years. Yes, yes, yes! 😊So let’s begin by putting things into perspective. A few months ago, I quit my Assistant Psychologist job within an IAPT service to establish a new career path. All of my colleagues were shocked as I was only 3 months in…. reactions varied from “Serkan you are so good at this [referring to telephone triages]. Why go?!” to “Trust me. I don’t have the guts like you do to just walk off.”Since leaving a dream job to many Psychology graduates, I’ve been working on stability, keeping distant from stressors and achieving personal goals. Perhaps my biggest concern up until now has been living expenses, which I have covered by working as a waiter and a Kitchen Porter (KP). My duties have varied between serving food, washing dishes and cleaning toilets.“What a massive step down?”.Everyone has recently been implying this either directly or indirectly. For your entertainment, I’ll share a few empathetic remarks(**sarcasm alert**) I’ve heard from relatives and people at work:
- “You’ve got very good English, so why work as a KP?”
- “You think you’ll return back to complete your education lol!? Sure, sure. That was me when I left University. I’ve been working as a bartender for years now.”
- “You must have lost it working in mental health, or else why would you be here haha!?”
- “You owe the government over £30,000, all so that you can clean toilets?! Why did I support you?”
“What a massive step down?”.
Serkan Avlik (2019)
Now at this point, can I underline that I am not ashamed to have been working in hospitality and catering at all? Regardless of the task, I’m given (washing dishes or delivering psychological therapy),I will do it with pride and to the best of my ability. Plus, if anything, my casual jobs have kept me grounded…every single moment I reminded myself of the importance of gratitude and being humble, no matter what qualifications I have. Additionally, two of my priorities were to a) develop life skills through appreciating the sweat and tears of labor work and b) extend my social network. Looking back, it’s fair to say I’ve achieved both! Nevertheless, I can’t deny that even the few thoughtless comments triggered frustration and a need to justify myself (I wasn’t doing anything wrong!). Yet after a certain point, I gave up. It was draining. Those mocking or dismissing me weren’t leading a path in Psychology so they could never ever fully understand the complications. Thus, I had to do what I had to do. Live life…BOOM!
“If you don’t like how things are, change it!”
Serkan Avlik (2019)
Charity work is something I love spreading awareness of. Quite recently I’ve supported five minutes of silence campaign for young carers through social media. Besides that, I’m currently fundraising to skydive for a hospice service helping children and young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families. Now I’m not sharing any of this to get recognition. I’m sharing this to highlight that regardless of the position you’re at in life (e.g., a Psychology graduate lost on their career journey), there is literally nothing to stop you from being passionate, exploring opportunities or driving change! In other words, “If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.” (Jim Rohn). Besides charity work, I’ve been working on my cognitive style…. social comparisons, to be specific. According to research, comparing oneself to others with a similar background (e.g. an MSc Psychology graduate, for my sake) promotes self-evaluation, self-improvement and self-enhancement (Taylor et al., 1995; Wood, 1989). On my end, I’ve noticed that excessive self-comparison can occasionally become an enemy to self-esteem. It’ll probably sound like a cliché, but it’s worth remembering that EVERYONE HAS A UNIQUE PATH(e.g. education, relationships, view of humanity). EVERYONE IS GOING THROUGH THEIR OWN BATTLES IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL.So am I. Thus, ongoing reflection and self-compassion are central to maintaining positivity.