Finding your passion to build a career in Behaviour Analysis
Whether you are still in school, finishing up, or recently graduated, did/do you feel uncertain about how to build a career in Behaviour Analysis? For a while, I did. I went through a two-year college diploma program in Behaviour Science and found that it was very focused around working in Autism. I had two great placement experiences in IBI and in a school setting, and I thought that this is what I wanted to do…I enjoyed it and where else would I work if this is where the field is? I live where majority, if not all, Behaviour Analysis professionals work in Autism, schools, mental health, developmental disabilities, and gerontology (just to name a few). Don’t get me wrong, professionals in these fields do amazing work and I have nothing but the utmost respect for them. However, deep down, I always knew that this is not where I wanted to spend my entire career. It was more of a starting point where I could gain more experience and complete my hours for the certification exam.
Once I completed my program, all I wanted to do was find a job, a supervisor, and to pass the exam. Of course, all the jobs I was applying for were in Autism because that is a large field. So, fast-forward a few months, I landed a job, the job didn’t work out, and I was still feeling lost. It was a situation where I always felt uncomfortable and felt as if I wasn’t cut out for the field. However, based on the feedback that I received, I thought maybe I was being hard on myself and was experiencing the infamous imposter syndrome. I reflected on my experiences and I felt that this was beyond imposter syndrome. I did not want to be in this field, nor were my skills suitable for it, and it was time to accept it (Ethical Compliance Code 1.02: Boundaries of Competence).
One year after completing my program, I do not work in Behaviour Analysis and I still do not have one supervised hour completed. Despite the rough patch, I did not lose my love for behaviour analysis. I started rereading Cooper for fun, subscribed to a handful of podcasts, and followed more behaviour related social media accounts. This was the beginning of trying to figure out what career path to choose. I have to admit, if it wasn’t for the countless hours I invested in listening and watching other analyst’s online content, I probably would not have considered chasing my true passions in behaviour analysis, even if it meant that I had to pave my own way.
Behaviour is all around us. Why not explore other fields?
So, here are three things I did to figure out my career in Behaviour Analysis:
- Find What You Love
For me, I looked at other things that I love to do and learn about on a regular basis. If you are like me and love to learn about anything and everything, your options will not be limited. A couple of my passions that I’ve had since I was a kid are nutrition and fitness. Growing up, I imagined that I would end up with a career in health and fitness or even athletic therapy, so I thought, “why not revisit this”?
- Research (Articles, Blogs, Social Media)
I did what most people do when they need information – I turned to Google. I started to research Behaviour Analysis, Fitness, and Nutrition to see if there were other people in the fields (newsflash: there are). This made me feel like I finally had a sense of direction for my career.
- Connect and Network
Finally, I started to follow all these blogs and subscribe to Youtube channels and additional podcasts so I could continue to learn about how these professionals were using Behaviour Analysis to help people in the field. In addition to the great content and research that is available, one of the best things about Behaviour Analysis is that a lot of professionals are amazing humans and if you reach out, they will take the time to respond and connect with you. Talking to other professionals can be intimidating, but also extremely rewarding and reinforcing (because you will likely contact other analysts).
Remember to go at your own pace and stay true to you!
About The Author:
HI! My name is Cassandra, and if you didn’t catch the “u” in “behaviour”, I’m Canadian. I am a self-proclaimed Behaviour Analysis geek. When I am not learning more about the field, you can find me walking my dogs, working out, reading/listening to a book, or watching a sport/binging something on Netflix. My dream is to work in the fitness and nutrition field and show how Behaviour Analysis can help people reach their goals.