Need help discerning teaching theology, what to do career-wise


#1

I am writing this tonight in the hopes that it helps to clear-up some various issues I am having trying to figure-out what God wants me to do with my life. I have, at the very least, discerned marriage and am now in the process of trying to meet women, etc.

The current issue I face is that for a long time I have felt that I was called to teach theology as a college professor but I have begun to question if this is the most practical course for me to take (especially since I want to ensure that I can provide a comfortable life for my family). Below is some background on all of this to help clarify things for the readers (for the record I graduate Saturday the 15th with my BS in business):

1) I went to college for engineering with the intent of going into motorsports engineering. I struggled from the very start with the subject and out of desperation I considered the possibility of switching to a humanities-type major and eventually becoming a professor of some kind—at first very reluctantly but after a time finding myself liking the idea.

2) After nearly failing physics, etc. I learned the hard way that I wasn't cut-out for engineering and switched to business out of need rather than desire. My school has very few available majors so I went with business since it was practical but also because I had no desire to leave my school for another school.

3) As time went on I found that I could do business but still wasn't terribly fond of it; I liked the theory but couldn't really see myself doing that for a career. If I recall correctly it might have been around this time that I realized I was drawn to theology.

4) Before winter break my junior year I was having a conversation with my mom that would ultimately prove life-changing. When I spoke with her she had me conduct a brief exercise that works thus: she would count-down to zero and the moment she did so I was told to pay attention for the first thing that popped-into my mind as that is what I would want to do with the rest of my life. The only thing that came to mind when she counted to zero was the word “theology” and that was it. From here I started to connect the dots and figured that if “theology” was the answer it probably was as a professor.

5) Over the summer between my junior and senior years I started reading-up on discernment and this helped to further solidify my desire to teach theology along with helping to flesh-out my desire to marry. This got more serious during my senior year when I considered various graduate schools. I should stress that up until recently I felt continually and overwhelmingly positive about this particular career path. I considered other paths but they didn't feel the same. I also had some close friend of mine suggest that perhaps I'm better cut-out as a high school teacher instead of being a professor.

6) But around this same time I had a conversation with a priest who questioned me and asked how I expected to be able to support a family on the low pay of a theology professor. He went-on to state that my family life would be very simple, but I largely brushed this off.

7) For this semester I had to take a marketing class and the key component of the class was for each student to complete a marketing report detailing how they would “market themselves” to employers, grad schools, or whatever it was they wanted to do with their lives. This was eye opening for me in that reality finally hit me. After speaking to my experienced philosophy professor I learned that professorships in the humanities are always difficult to find and this correlated with other information I found that confirmed this fact (along with emphasizing the fact that these jobs often pay poorly). It was also around this time that I determined that I would probably prefer to teach rather than do research.

Which leads me to today. Lately I have been reconsidering this particular path because frankly I question how feasible it is for me to support a family on the low pay of a theology professor—that is, if I could even find a job in the field. For me I want to be able to provide a comfortable life for my family, not live from paycheck to paycheck, not have to sacrifice a lot to make ends meet, not struggle financially. I basically want secure income that allows me to provide comfortably for them and I question if teaching theology does this. I also question how devoted I am to theology as an academic pursuit.

I don't doubt that I could study theology without a problem...it's the finances involved that have me worried. The way I see it the overarching vocation of my life is marriage and I need to do what I have to to ensure that I live this vocation out effectively, and for me that includes providing for the family. Theological study doesn't seem to do this.

So at this point I need help discerning what to do next. If jobs weren't an issue I'd certainly study theology but I don't think it can provide in the way I need if I have a family. Some people will mention how there are lay theologians who support families...but to be totally blunt and honest I'd argue that they got lucky job-wise...and I don't want to bank on that. Others might say that God will provide, but there are practical limits—especially when one has a family (I hope this isn't a lack of faith on my part). And as someone who dealt with poverty much of my life I don't want that for my family...I want some financial security and decent wages.

So at this point I think I am interested in teaching and I wouldn't mind being a high school teacher (I like the idea)...as for the subject matter I don't yet know. And, of course, getting married and having kids :thumbsup:

Sorry if the latter part of this sounds harsh...I tend to be a realist and blunt about reality and I don't want to try and sugarcoat my feelings. I hope you all can help me figure-out what to do!

Pax!


#2

No takers?


#3

At this point I want to add a little quip I was thinking about today during lunch. I have a lot of experience in restaurants and I thought about the possibility of doing this for a career…and honestly it’s appealing. I do like working in restaurant settings and I already do, so staying here makes sense.

Plus as I realized recently (and this was reiterated by my friend over lunch) I can always do my own in-depth study of theology on my own time (and I need/want to anyway). Thoughts?


#4

Have you taken a Strong's Interest Inventory (see here) to see what careers you may be suited for?


#5

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.