Seeking career advice


#1

This question is not about a vocation to the religious life, but rather about a secular career. I am 26 and work a clerical job for a Catholic organization in addition to being a professional classical musician. From the age of 8 the violin was my passion, and I was quite precocious at it. But when I went to college (a Catholic university) I majored in theology, while also keeping up with my music. After college, I took some graduate work in music performance at a music conservatory but did not complete a degree. After almost three years of searching for a steady job (I graduated just as the jobs crisis hit),
I found my present job. I also, after college, found myself getting excellent freelance music work, so that I now perform with one of the most prestigious musical ensembles in my metropolitan area. Moreover I formed a chamber music group with some fellow students, and we are starting to make a name for ourselves. When even many graduates of music conservatories don’t perform music for a living, I am as surprised as anyone with my success in this field.

I like to think of my life as bifurcated into two areas of interest, one musical and the other theological. I never wanted to make my living solely through music (nor am I sure that one can, outside of teaching, which doesn’t interest me). The musical side of my life is secure: I am getting good work and improving my skills. As to the other side, I am not satisfied with my current entry-level job and am looking to find a more intellectually stimulating job in the Catholic world. I want to contribute in some way to the intellectual side of the Church. Still, I’m wondering if I should someday earn a graduate music degree or diploma, if I can afford it. I guess my main question is, should one earn a degree for no other reason that to say that one has it? I don’t technically need a music degree, and yet it still bugs me that I don’t have one when 95% of my colleagues do.


#2

I don't know if the fact that it "bugs you" is a good enough reason. :p If you legitimately need the degree to increase your success in your field, then that is another story.

You said you are wanting to contribute in some way to the intellectual side of the Church, yet you didn't specifically ask for feedback on that side of things. Are you looking for advice there, too?


#3

Hi friend,

I think that to go for a graduate degree if you don’t really need it to do what you are already doing and obviously doing quite well, would be a waste of time, energy and money. This seems to me to be the voice of pride and I have fallen prey to it many times in my life. With many experts out there predicting that the economy may get much worse, now would not be the time to be racking up needless debt, in my opinion.

On the other hand, if you still feel called to serve the Church in the field of theology in the future, going for a graduate degree in Theology would be wise, as you said you never really wanted to make your living solely through music. (Though if you could that would be a good thing too.) And seeing as how you realize that you may need more of an intellectual challenge, this might be something to consider.

Perhaps you could find a graduate theology program that would suit your interests and calling and begin working towards your degree part time while you do your music on the side.
It seems like you are enjoying that part of your life. Going full time to college and doing your music could prevent your success and enjoyment of both. Maybe take a course and see how it goes.

Only you know yourself, but in my experience, taking on too much at once can take its toll.

And I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but, go before the Lord in Adoration as often as you can, especially when discerning life changes. You’d be surprised how clear things can get after giving God some time in prayer. There’s something about Adoration!

God Bless you in your discernment.


#4

[quote="StMartinTours, post:1, topic:266070"]
This question is not about a vocation to the religious life, but rather about a secular career. I am 26 and work a clerical job for a Catholic organization in addition to being a professional classical musician. From the age of 8 the violin was my passion, and I was quite precocious at it. But when I went to college (a Catholic university) I majored in theology, while also keeping up with my music. After college, I took some graduate work in music performance at a music conservatory but did not complete a degree. After almost three years of searching for a steady job (I graduated just as the jobs crisis hit),
I found my present job. I also, after college, found myself getting excellent freelance music work, so that I now perform with one of the most prestigious musical ensembles in my metropolitan area. Moreover I formed a chamber music group with some fellow students, and we are starting to make a name for ourselves. When even many graduates of music conservatories don't perform music for a living, I am as surprised as anyone with my success in this field.

I like to think of my life as bifurcated into two areas of interest, one musical and the other theological. I never wanted to make my living solely through music (nor am I sure that one can, outside of teaching, which doesn't interest me). The musical side of my life is secure: I am getting good work and improving my skills. As to the other side, I am not satisfied with my current entry-level job and am looking to find a more intellectually stimulating job in the Catholic world. I want to contribute in some way to the intellectual side of the Church. Still, I'm wondering if I should someday earn a graduate music degree or diploma, if I can afford it. I guess my main question is, should one earn a degree for no other reason that to say that one has it? I don't technically need a music degree, and yet it still bugs me that I don't have one when 95% of my colleagues do.

[/quote]

Hi friend,

I think that to go for a graduate degree if you don't really need it to do what you are already doing and obviously doing quite well, would be a waste of time, energy and money. This seems to me to be the voice of pride and I have fallen prey to it many times in my life. With many experts out there predicting that the economy may get much worse, now would not be the time to be racking up needless debt, in my opinion.

On the other hand, if you still feel called to serve the Church in the field of theology in the future, going for a graduate degree in Theology would be wise, as you said you never really wanted to make your living solely through music. (Though if you could that would be a good thing too.) And seeing as how you realize that you may need more of an intellectual challenge, this might be something to consider.

Perhaps you could find a graduate theology program that would suit your interests and calling and begin working towards your degree part time while you do your music on the side.
It seems like you are enjoying that part of your life. Going full time to college and doing your music could prevent your success and enjoyment of both. Maybe take a course and see how it goes.

Only you know yourself, but in my experience, taking on too much at once can take its toll.

And I'm sure you've heard this before, but, go before the Lord in Adoration as often as you can, especially when discerning life changes. You'd be surprised how clear things can get after giving God some time in prayer. There's something about Adoration!

God Bless you in your discernment.


#5

I positively do not want to take another degree in theology. I have gone as far as I want to go, academically speaking, with this subject, and pursuing a grad degree in theology would truly be a waste of money for me. Perhaps I should have specified that the type of music program I am thinking of is a Graduate Performance Diploma rather than say, a Master’s Degree. There is a conservatory that offers a “free ride” for tuition, and I have been told that I could easily get in if I audition. On the other hand, what would happen to my job if I were to do this? (And mind you I would be doing this four years or so down the road, not now.)


#6

[quote="StMartinTours, post:5, topic:266070"]
I positively do not want to take another degree in theology. I have gone as far as I want to go, academically speaking, with this subject, and pursuing a grad degree in theology would truly be a waste of money for me. Perhaps I should have specified that the type of music program I am thinking of is a Graduate Performance Diploma rather than say, a Master's Degree. There is a conservatory that offers a "free ride" for tuition, and I have been told that I could easily get in if I audition. On the other hand, what would happen to my job if I were to do this? (And mind you I would be doing this four years or so down the road, not now.)

[/quote]

Well, that changes things. A "free ride" is nice. Of course, I can't answer what will happen to your job, but you do want to take that into consideration. If you feel you'll come out of the program in a better position, though, it's certainly worth looking into.


#7

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