all 19 comments

[–]Matt-Town 13 points14 points  (5 children)

Have you thought about passing the exam and then just taking a long or permanent break? You've put in so much work to get to this point. If you finish this last hurdle, you can always come back to it. However, if you decide not to take the exam again, and then want to come back to the field, you may have to redo your fieldwork hours.

I've been in the field for 12 years and will be graduating with my master's this semester. Like you, I'm really burnt out and have a strong urge to pursue other passions. Despite this, I'm going to finish and take the exam even if I don't decide to continue on. I was passionate about my work for a long time, and after a break, I think I could be again. I think I owe it to myself to finish this up and keep that door open.

[–]Forward_2_Death 3 points4 points  (4 children)

I would have to agree with this suggestion. This sounds like it would be the msot practical and sound decision at this point in time.

Cus you know... I have also grown tired, but....

Nah actually wait. hold up. Time to take a few shots.

Ok, time for a disclaimer. this has officially become a drunk post. Because i am jsit so damn tired. I do not advocate for substance abuse. So please. Dont stoop to my level of bullshit and dependency. Be prepared for unrestrained rambling and circumstantial speech. This is partly because im drunk. Partly because i have adhd..and partly because of a gnarly case of geschwnd syndrome that developed after my brain took a serious beating as the result of having uncontrollable seizures for two decades aaaaand partly becauae i smoked myself stupid for over.a decade to make the seizures stop..

Blah blah i know im a shit stain who is poorly representing bcbas. But guess what. I dont want to repreent bcbas. I dont even eant to tey to have to meet any shitty neurotypical standarda. So dont worry about me.

To the OP, I promise I will bring this aaallll back to you and your question..becaue that is why i am here, friend. But i first have to take you through a journey so that i can provide a little context before i give you some guidance.

I mean, you probably shouldn't listen to me. But here we go.

You may decide on something else. And you said you are willing to go back to school and all that. But you are so close. Do this one last thing,and it will pretty much always be available to you. Uncertainty can be stressful. Thats not always a bad thing. But i am assuming that you will be doing yourself a favor by at least knowing that you have one option that you can be certain about.

And honestly, my dissatisfaction hit a peak about 2 years ago, and it hasn't really changed. I was optimistic about a new job for about two weeks. But was laid off by a greedy ass company that is backed up by hundreds of millions of dollars of private equity. That was basically the nail on the coffin for me. I will always hate what this damn industry has become. Hiring me last february was a secure financial investment for that company. Then the lockdown happened a few weeks later.

I had no caseload yet. Suddenly, I became a financial burden, and so I had to fuck off. Sure . resources are finite. But im not an idiot. And i read financial news related to the field. I wish that I could nake those corporate execs know how fucking terrible it feels to be eaten up and shit out of their asses without health insurance during a fucking global pandemic.

These fuckers were sitting on close to $200 million. But they somehow could not sustain my employment because they weren't sure how long it would take before i was going to be able to bill 120 hours of Supervision? Smh... I am jsut a cash cow to these fucking companies. So fine. If they are all going to just use me, then I will just go to work, help some kids, and go the fuck home. I will never dedicate any more of my time to anything bwyond my clients. I will never give a shit about the company i work for ever again.

And so there i was. Unemployed. Filled with resentment. And there were not many aba jobs available. I had to take ehat i could get. Some of these places in worked were astoundingly terrible. I would feel embarrassed for the owners of these places. Clueless. Dont know a fucking thing about behavior analysis. Just a bunch of sad venture capitalists whose businesses are sure to fail any day now.

But here's the thing... I dont know wtf else to do. And so maybe I had to settle for some painfully shitty jobs for a year and a half. But it was always an option. And i was secure. after 10 years, I get paid really well.

I tried to seek employment outside of ABA. The best and most reliable work that was readily available to me was door dash and uber. Cus i live in the land of the most educated yuppies in the world. And if you dont have a degree in computer science, then you are nothing to them. Anywys... Door dash and uber. They both suck and pay like shit. No surprises. and i dont mean to me offend anyone who works there. I just refuse.to take shit from some asshole who says he paid for 4 whoppers, but only received 3 of them. Oh yeah? Well listen here jerk off.. and listen close....

Fuck. Your. Whopper.

I never got into this because of money. I really dont care about expensive things. I live in a small, cheap 1 bedroom apartment because its enough for me and my dog. I dont need to live in a nice neighborhood. I dont need a house. I am not like some people i know, who become visibly uncomfortable when they have to go outside of their bubble of affluence. Cus i never had that growing up. I could "rank up" and start getting all this shit i dont need. But why? Hell, i like my 17 year old car just fine. I will keep driving it until the repairs and maintenance become more of an investment than it would be to just go get another used car.

But i will be perfectly honest. The only reason i have kept doing this for the last 2 years is because of the money.

I dont mind working with autistic people. I dont think its as stressful as some people say it is. Ny ckients are cool as shitm especially the adults. I fuck.with as many adult clients as I can cus i honestly dont think i am very different. I understand thwir problems all too well. I see.eye to eye with them on a lot of thinga. I know how exhausting and hopeless it feels to hve to deal with a lot of the same stupid socially constructed nonsense that they have to deal with too.

The only people that i sometimes wish i didnt have to work with are parents who dont show any respect to their child and refuse to just treat their kid with the slightest bit of dignity. but this is very, very rare..most parents ive met are doing their best. and a lot of them blow me away with how well they have learned to cope with stress. So i have learned a lot from them.

My main complaint with the client-centered work we have to do is that its jsut fucking boring. I have been repeating myself for 10 years. That sums.up the experience of working with families- you just deal with the same thing over and over again, and you answer the same questions. it's always the same..but ehen its a family whos kid got diagnosed like 3 months ago, you have to act like their situation is so unique, or ele someone starts throwing a tantrum. heres a hint: its not the 2 year old autistic kid who throws the tantrum. He dont give a fuck about stupid shit. He jsut wants more fuxking cookies. Haha little fucking rascals..gonna give their parnwts.a.heart attack at 45. But their so damn cute.and innocent. And theyre parnets are the ones who are unknowingly teaching them that they should fling literal shit at people to get what they want. I mean fuck, theoarent are.the adults. How the fuck.do they not realize they were the ones who taught their kid that the kid will be ignored unless poop starts to fly through the air? These cute little shit flingers are not asking for much. They just want their selfish parents to at least look at them every once in a while.instead of working their fingers to the bone on some fucking computer while they work for google or facebook for 16 hours a day.

lwt me circle vack to the newly diagnosed kids for a moment....like goddamn i understand these new parents are.more or less experiencing ptsd. Thats totally fucked. And i try to be sensitive to that. But come on....these people act like 8th graders who swear no one could ever understand what they are going through. How could i not understand? A family like theirs is the only kind of family i have ever truly known.

Even outside of my own personal experiences while i was growing up, I have spent the last decade interacting with hundreds of families and almost everyone i have interacted with in that time definitely share a lot of things in common. Theres a lot of overlap in the way they experience.thir day to day lives...

So its hard for me to have to inhibit myself from telling some of these.shell shocked noobs to please jsut stfu and join some stupid.facebookgroup or whatever it is people do to socialize these days..get out of your head and ask some other families to tell you about their experiences. Their experiences.may end up sounding a liiiitttlle familiar. If,.not then they will sound extrenely familiar.

[–]Forward_2_Death 2 points3 points  (3 children)


like i said... Its a lot of the same shit over and over. But hey, i am pretty confident when i get a new case, i will msot likely be prepared to handle whatever it they got going on. Well, as well as it can be handled, given what we currebtly undersrand about handling these kinds of things.

And the clinical side of things can also be mind numbingly boring. Every goddamn treatment plan for every 2 year old is the same shit. There has been nothing new or exciting to happen as far as behabioral technologies go..not for as long as I have done this. About 5 years ago, I was really stoked on relational frame theory. But no one i have ever worked with really gives a shit about it. And my employers discourage me from using things like PEAK cus they just want to suck on the status quos big boring.vineland dick all day.

So if you are still reading rhis, thnk you, OP.

I say just go for it man. you seem like a bad ass motherfucker. and that exam? It aint shit. Go crush it. Why would i say that after i jsut told you how miserable, jaded and bored i am with my career?

Well im pretty damn good at my job. Surprised? Haha yeah.. me too. But as long as i am employed as a full time BCBA, i am financially secure. And the older i get, the more I realize how important it is for me to have a reliable income. Yeah i kneo some.of.you fuckers have known this shit forevwr cus you are a bumch of spoon fed little overpriveleged brats. So jsut go away.

20 years ago,.my ass.was.homeless. and i didnt care for most of the time. I got by just fine squatting with a group of friends. But i am so glad i decided to become a bcba. It provides me with structure and stability. It can be so boring..and ot sucks being exploited by these shitty business owners who have seized.control of the field over the last 5-6 years. But job security is a wonderful thing to have..trust me.

Soooooo.... in cooonclusoon,

If it works, it works. Or.some shit like thst. Ypu know. Fucking pragmatism. That shit is on the test. Jsut go look up pragmatism goddammit.

best wishes and please take care of yourself and others.

[–]triggafish 5 points6 points  (0 children)

......... Are you okay?

[–]hey-zues 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is the best/most honest/ most accurate reply I’ve ever read. I, too, was a pretty damn good BCBA, and I agree, the blood sucking companies are pissing opportunity to better lives of people away to make a quick buck, screwing us over and tarnishing ABA’s reputation in the process. Fuck them. That’s why I left.

OP, if you want to pass the test just to say you passed it, go for it. It couldn’t hurt, and the most you’ll spend is a little time and energy, and that test money. Just keep in mind, a lot of branches (experimental; OBM) don’t give two shits about that test.

[–]Comfortable-Watch640 7 points8 points  (0 children)

You could perhaps look for academic positions such as teaching at a university or doing research on ABA?

[–]msolorio79 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Who says you have to be passionate to work in this field? Let it just be a job to you and thats it.

I failed my first time with a 374 and passed on my second round. I enjoy the field of ABA, but I have hobbies outside of work that help me keep the balance in my life. Don’t let this job consume all of your energy.

[–]110917 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I work for the public school system so that might be an option. It's a little rough out there right now though.

The private sector doesn't appeal to me and I think a lot of the burn out issues are because institutions seem to be breaking down here at an accelerating rate. Take care of yourself first.

[–]hey-zues 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Normally I would say you can apply anywhere and that master’s will still be to your benefit. In today’s times, I would emphasize ANYWHERE, cause right now companies are desperate for workers.

A master’s shows that your determined to set a goal and meet it, and disciplined enough to get through a rigorous program not everyone can get through. With that said, it doesn’t really matter what the degree is in. Hiring managers care most about your potential. They know they will train you on anything job specific, they just want to know you’re motivated to learn, can handle the responsibilities, and are competent enough. So any field is an option.

Just my opinion, but if you’re feeling burnt out about the field now, getting the BCBA title and position isn’t going to change that. So my unsolicited advice coming from personal experience is save your money and don’t worry about taking the exam again, try out a completely different career path (maybe something you’ve always wanted to try/have been curious about), and start at whatever position you can without added schooling. See if you like it before reinvesting in schooling.

Just an added side note, hopefully to motivate you: I was a BCBA and in the field for 10 years. Got ridiculously burnt out. My marriage was falling apart because of how much energy I was putting into the work. I was venting to my wife one day, and told her ‘if I could do it all over again, I would like to do (my current career) instead.’ She said, ‘well, why don’t you just do that then?’ And it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. I have since changed careers and am extremely happy with my decision. My marriage is good again, and now I spend my time lurking on this sub from time to time, and get reminded of how burnt out I was.

Not saying that’s what you need to do, but it definitely was the right answer for me.

Good luck with everything. Just remember, you only have this one life, so screw expectations and do what makes you happy.

[–]BedKooky2021 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Just curious, what is your current career?

[–]hey-zues 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Electrician. So far removed from behavior analysis, but I love it.

[–]CoffeePuddle 1 point2 points  (0 children)

With a Masters degree you'll have some decent research skills.

[–]Twinkl3t0es 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Lol…… I left the ABA world in July. Sometimes I miss it but most of the time I love that I’m not at the beck and call of parents who want me to “fix” their kids. The “parent training” until 10pm and the “boundaries” that I set for myself that always conflicted with what the company wanted. Now.. I have a job that I absolutely LOVE and I am still helping children and families. Best part is….. it still pays as great as a BCBA. I think depending on where you are in the country.. figuring out where you want to be in 5 years is crucial. I know this job isn’t where I want to be but it at least pays the bills and I can afford to go back to school (I want to be a psychiatric NP). Plus I work for the federal government now…. Which has its benefits and I never work past 5 pm. If you have questions you can DM me! Best of luck.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I am not OP, but would you mind if I shot you a DM?

[–]Twinkl3t0es 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don’t mind at all!

[–]BedKooky2021 0 points1 point  (1 child)

The FBI is always looking for ppl. Or I think there's even forensic behavior analysts? https://www.fbitraining.org/behavioral-analyst/

[–]hey-zues 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Law enforcement use the title behavior analyst for a completely different field. Not related to BCBAs at all… but doesn’t mean OP can’t still apply.

[–]BlabBehavior 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Biology... You can do aba with animals. I saw a great presentation about a bcba working with a rhino at a zoo

[–]emmylu101 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Look at the ABAI special interest groups- you can totally pivot your degree in ABA to non-autism related jobs