by Gina Motzko
I grew accustomed to the look (eyebrows raised, slight open mouth, and a sharp inhale of breath) when I revealed the "new plan" to friends and family. The conversation typically followed the same path: Yes, Joe has a great job that he wants to quit. Yes, he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering. No, he doesn't want to be an engineer. Yes, he is going to school for audiology. Yes, it makes sense. No, I am not mad. Yes, we are still married.
When they asked if I, a speech-language pathologist, had convinced my husband to leave a corporate position to pursue a career in audiology, I could only laugh. They didn't know my husband. Joe has very strong moral and ethical platforms and is not easily influenced. Having said that, however, I believe that Joe's witnessing my sincere enjoyment in my career may have had some influence.
I was fortunate to know what I wanted to do early on. I knew I wanted to work in a field related to health care and I knew I wanted to work with children. It was a natural choice for me to choose speech-language pathology. I find my profession to be incredibly fulfilling. I often tell of the joy I find in teaching children how to communicate effectively. In fact, I frequently promote speech-language pathology and audiology as rewarding careers to students entering high school and college. Yet even with all of my outward efforts to promote the professions to others, I was surprised when my husband told me he had an interest in pursuing audiology.
Once the surprise subsided, I grew cautiously excited about the opportunities this new career could offer him. I know he enjoys research and science as well as making a difference in people's lives. I have no doubt that he will be an excellent audiologist. I, on a personal and professional level, have enjoyed discussing his coursework and trying to understand the information he is studying. This experience gives me a broader perspective in speech-language and hearing disorders and I enjoy learning from him daily. We have moved back to our hometown and our families have been incredibly supportive of this endeavor.
Our future is still undecided. We have taken a risk. However, we are incredibly happy and truly enjoying our careers. Isn't that what everyone should strive for?
Gina Motzko, MS, CCC-SLP, is a clinician at Wayne Highlands School District in Honesdale, Pa. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.