A somewhat frequent conversation with some of my academic friends is what we would do if we hadn’t gotten our degrees in our respective fields. This isn’t the “I’m having a day at work and I wish I had a different job” sort of thing, it’s really an analysis of what other career path we might have taken.
My friends provide various other paths they would take – everything from architect to dentist to being independently wealthy (not sure how that one works, but…). My standard response has shifted over the years, but at this point the only other thing that I think could hold my interest long enough is meteorology. But even then, I really can’t imagine doing anything other than researching and teaching about human behavior.
At the annual SPSP conference this past year, there was a bulletin board where we were supposed to write why we studied social/personality psychology. My answer (below) is why I just have to keep doing psychology.