Career Change Story: Linguistics to Gut Microbiome

Melody Dobrinin
Melody Dobrinin

Career change is hard especially when you have spent time in developing skills and networks in one field only to come to the realisation you want and maybe even need to change. Meet Melody our career changer. She developed a career in linguistics, become an Oxford scholar, even worked for Amazon in London but felt deep down inside there was more she had to give in another career pathway. This is Melody’s story in her words but if you prefer to watch rather than read, check out the interview on the youtube Career Jam channel below.

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Hi, I’m Melody. I’m a PhD student in gut microbiology. My first degree was a bachelor of speech pathology. And I chose speech pathology because I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be a doctor or whether I wanted a career in musical theater. So I chose speech pathology, and then I was still trying to make a similar decision once I finished speech pathology. I knew that I didn’t want to be a speech pathologist, so I was facing a similar decision and I chose to pursue linguistics instead.

And then after working in the field of linguistics and project management for a while, I decided that I could make a greater difference by studying something in the science field. And so, I did a diploma of science to test out the waters, and then I later decided to pursue a PhD specifically.

When I was making the decision to change fields, there were a lot of considerations to be made. I had to consider my finances, and it was quite scary. But now that I have changed fields, I feel like I’m moving towards something that I want, rather than just doing something for the money that it brings in.

I don’t regret doing the work that I did in speech pathology and linguistics though, because I don’t think I would have discovered what I really wanted to do unless I had taken the exact path that I took. So I feel like I’m definitely moving in the direction that I want to be moving in my life. And I’m really excited to see what the next chapter is going to bring.

So I think the greatest difficulty when I was changing careers was that I had spent a lot of time and energy in developing my career in speech pathology and linguistics. And so when I was deciding to change into a more science-based field, I felt like I was abandoning a lot of that work that I’d done. And it was a lot to transition into an entirely different field.

But the other thing was that I felt like I really wanted to make a difference, and I felt like, across a career, I could make a greater contribution in working in the field of health rather than linguistics. And that choice is going to be different for different people. But I also didn’t want to completely abandon that career without trying it out first. So, I took a shorter course in a scientific field in biochemistry and microbiology before I completely changed over and committed to doing a PhD. So it took quite a long time and quite a lot of consideration before I made the ultimate jump.

Take a bit of time to figure out your own personal circumstances and what really, really matters to you, because you do have a lot of time to try new things. I would also say that you don’t have to make a dramatic change very quickly. You can test the water a lot first by doing a small program or doing online courses to test out if you like that new thing that you’re interested in. And I would say follow little things that you’re interested in, like going to talks, or talking to people or watching YouTube videos on the topic you’re interested in.

I think it’s also important to talk to other people about it, but also take everyone’s advice with a little bit of a grain of salt, because people all have their own opinions about what you should do. And ultimately, you have to make a decision that is right for you and your circumstances. Even if some people think you’re crazy or completely disagree with your decision, ultimately, that decision has to be yours and you have to do what is right for your life and your circumstances. You can continue to follow Melody’s journey at https://melodydobrinin.com/ or follow her YouTube channel for nutrition myth-busting tips.

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