Pivoting careers

So I’ve been on a path to become a physics teacher and or theoretical physicist. BUT! I am very passionate about data science. Now, I will complete my physics degree, but I feel like I should go into this new career, because it’s so much fun being a problem solver. My husband keeps reminding me I have Schizophrenia and how that may hold me back. But I can’t accept that as an excuse any longer. I feel like I’m sane enough to go into this profession. He’s right about not being able to work well with others, but I can’t help but try. I feel like a failure because I keep theorizing, but not really applying my skills. Any advice? I guess I need a little support in this. Maybe a pep talk, or some experience stories.


What does a data science job involve?

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Math, statistics, problem solving, algorithms, visualization, hacker mindset. Those types of things.

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There are meds out there where your focus isn’t as affected. And it looks like you are already doing well study wise since ur doing a physics degree. I think ur on the right track… Do what you love :yellow_heart:


hi @Cici2 you sound like a high achieving, very bright person, that’s awesome! Congratulations on getting so far with your studies. I’m middle-aged and have changed career 3 times due to schizophrenia. In my first career I had difficulty concentrating and coping with the high level of responsibility and stress of the profession. I got sick and had to throw it all away, including 5 years study for the Bachelor degree. In my second career it was people-intensive and dealing with lots of crises and trauma so I got emotionally traumatised and burnt out. I got very disturbed and sick and had to throw it away, including 2 years study. In my 3rd career I have less responsibility/stress and it’s pretty cheerful and positive so it’s going ok, I think I’ve finally found the right job.

In my experience, you need to have excellent communication and social skills to perform in the workplace well. You have to make eye contact with your colleagues a lot, verbally communicate a lot and maintain a positive working relationship with each of them. It’s not enough to just be good at your job/duties, you need to perform socially as part of the team as well. From what you wrote, I’m not sure if you’ve ever worked in the workplace before? Or have good social skills in the workplace?

You can develop good communication/social skills in the workplace thru work experience or maybe even from professional help. What’s getting in your way, is it social anxiety or bullying or lack of workplace experience? I’d like to give advice but can’t just yet without a bit more info from you.

I have found workplace relationships to be a total minefield and a nightmare at times - I’ve had horrible managers & petty colleagues. But the good news is, meds really helped with my performance & ability to relate to other humans at work and I now have lots of lovely colleagues who treat me with respect & warmth. If I can find that anyone can.


Thank you @Flutterby, I’ve yet to work out in the field. I have only been working with my professors and have experience with my peers, as I’ve had to do group projects. I feel a bit insecure about socializing, and holding such a responsibility. But, on the other hand I feel like I need to try. I have a need to push forward, but I don’t want to fall short of I become sick again.

You have experience with managers @Cici2 because you’ve worked with your professors. So be confident about your ability to work with managers. You’ve had experience working with colleagues as you’ve done group projects - you can delegate tasks, communicate & reach an end goal as a group. So be confident you can operate well as part of a team.

Yeah, socialising is hard but I’m the most nervous, socially awkward person ever. So if I can do it you can too. It just takes a bit of practice and some good guidance (I can share with you my tips if it helps).

Responsibility is tough, I can’t handle much. But you’re a very bright person and you’re currently highly functioning & have the support of a husband & cope well with the responsibility of marriage. So who knows, maybe you’ll rise to the occasion & surprise yourself & be awesome!

I think the most important thing is your passion. You want this & want to give it a try. Go for it! Everyone has life experiences involving trial & error, not just us schizophrenics, you never know until you try. I’m very impulsive & I would have never travelled, had romantic relationships or career changes & career successes if I hadn’t acted on my instincts & impulses. I think you should go for it. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point, with the right support you can move forward & enjoy it :slight_smile:


Those of us living with Schizophrenia have to deal with positive, negative and cognitive symptoms. It sounds like your symptoms are well managed. As long as your negative symptoms are well managed you should do very well in achieving your objectives.


Well, I certainly applaud that.

If you never try, than you will never know if it was possible.
If you try and fail it’s not the end of the world and maybe you learn something about yourself or life in general.


If you believe you can do it, then go for it. Otherwise you may end up living a life of regret. I’ve found that when you’re passionate about something, it is easier to work in it.


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