Sometimes hopping from career to career can be wise, fulfilling, and even beneficial, as you carry with you what you’ve gained in experience, knowledge, and contacts from past jobs. Our choices don’t have to be forever. How refreshing!
These days it’s very rare to find anyone who stays in a job for life the way our parents did.
If you find yourself in the situation looking for a change, here are some tips to help you get through:
“Fear of failure, of looking silly, of being rejected, of losing status — it’s the single biggest dream killer in the world of work,” but don’t let that stop you from making what could be your best move yet!
Mental illness, suicide and depression have been everywhere on broadcast and online media in the last week due to the tragic deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. The reality of changing careers by choice or by force can put many of us on a shaky limb with our mental wellbeing. Let’s address some of the reasons why and some factors that can help steady the course of big changes.
Money + Uncertainty + Identity Crisis = Troubled Times
In my experience, money is the first factor that shakes one’s stability in the career transition journey. Even people with ample savings or the ability to start retirement (although not their preference) get anxious about finances when facing a change in job or direction.
Add uncertainty which in and of itself can set people off. Then throw in the identity crisis which creeps in from even considering giving up a role that has defined for decades, and you have a fertile breeding ground for emotional disruption. Change, for most people, is no picnic. But, that doesn’t have to be a deterrent to making one.
Richard came to work with me recently after being let go from a high paying job. He had enough money to retire if he had to, but he wanted a few more years of earning a top income to feel more secure. The opportunities, however, were not showing up and the truth was, we discovered, he had no motivation to pursue them. He was feeling down.
The lack of motivation was due to really wanting to do something more fulfilling, but he didn’t see any way for his interests to equate to any salary remotely close to what he was making. The result? Complete paralysis.
Through the Now What?® Life Story process Richard began to see what he wanted to weave back into his life. However, his mood did not automatically improve. He still found more reasons to doubt a happy outcome than to believe in one, and he couldn’t see beyond his doubt. Music and songwriting was a long-gone passion that he wanted back in his life, but he knew he was not going to be a more than-middle-aged rock star so just as quickly as some excitement showed up, his spirits were quickly dampened.
Before one particular session, I had an intuitive inkling to mention to Richard an idea about an artistic space where music recording, lessons, and performances could all take place. As soon as I did, the light bulbs started going off! One thing led to another, and as I write this he is exploring a few opportunities to do something along these lines. Some already existed and others he would need to raise some funds for (which he can certainly do)! He also took on another creative project or two , and his spirits are lifting tremendously.
Richard and his wife decided to downsize their home to make their finances more comfortable. And, as sometimes happens, an opportunity to do some of his old work without a stressful full-time job showed up as well. Things are still in flux, but the darkness has dissipated. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
How do you do this yourself?
First, don’t go down the path of thinking that he has money and you don’t. I’ve seen results like this without financial freedom. Secondly, decide which “wolf to feed.”* Do you want to keep dwelling in dread or do you want to invest in possibilities – things that just may work out?
Like all my clients, once clear on some possible angles, Richard took small step after small step to talk to people, network, ask questions, and follow the leads where they took him. You can do this too.
Here are a few tips:
● Take extra good care of yourself—sleep, drink plenty of water, eat right, take walks, whatever is right for you, do it.
● Gather support—don’t go at it alone. Engage someone to hold you accountable, have cheerleaders, join a group of like-minded folks and make it happen together.
● Maintain rituals– the things in your life that work and comfort you and do more of them, whether it’s journaling, exercising, weekly dinner with particular people, etc.
● Take small steps—Small steps are more easily attainable, they get you moving forward, and when they bear fruit, they encourage you to take more.
To keep emotions and fears from eating you up, to navigate the lack of structure that comes from being out of work, and to stay mentally fit, try some of the above. If you’re suffering or feel afraid of your own feelings, please do get help. Here are some helpful resources for those in need.
National Institute of Mental Health 1-866-615-6464
Follow your dreams! Live your passion!
We hear it all the time and sometimes it just sounds too good to be true. At Now What?® we know that it’s possible, and we know that it’s more likely to be successful when certain steps are taken.
Sometimes we need real-life examples that it can work.
Here’s one that not only offers the story, but also takes you through some concrete steps that this man took to move from a “sensible life” to a fulfilling one.
Having your choice of jobs at the start of the new year is a lucky place to be, but when none of them screams YES at you, how do you choose?
This was the situation a coaching client found himself in recently – an employed manager presented with a new job opportunity. He’d been looking for a new job since the summer of 2017 after completing the Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction work with me.
In hand was the current job (which will end in a couple of months) where bitterness and backstabbing palpably taint the atmosphere. In the other hand was a new job, carefully vetted to be a good cultural fit. However, he was not totally thrilled with the product the company produced. Nothing contrary to his values. Just not exciting. The third choice was to go jobless and wait for the ideal job opportunity. Preliminary research revealed the ideal was not readily available in the area, and relocation was not an option.
So, he can stay put and keep searching amidst the looming black plague while holding out for the perfect job. Or, he can take the new job which checks many boxes, but not all. What would you do?
Do you know your criteria for happiness? My client and I worked on uncovering his, and the new job met a lot of the criteria.
Are you clear on what you ultimately want to be known for? Can it come from the new position? If so, there’s a chance of having the impact you want to have. It might take time and trust-building, but in a culture that values connectivity and ideas, it is possible.
I don’t know yet what this client will decide, but I can tell you what struck me. If you’ve read my work, you know I believe in the ideal. I believe in full expression of your capabilities and desires. With that said, I also understand that searching for a job while unemployed can be very isolating. It’s easy to get derailed.
In this instance, a place where the culture is a fit and the atmosphere is light and collegial, the likelihood of having a healthier mindset, geared for creativity and good work is strong. Staying put in a toxic environment while holding out for the ideal, which could take many months to find, could be stifling.
What I know to be true is that when our nerves are no longer frayed and our mornings are energetic because we look forward to seeing the people we work with, we are a different kind of human. We are someone who can contribute with greater connection and creativity. From this space, we can step into an unknown worth exploring.
The new job could become the ideal as your influence grows, or it can be exactly what shows you the next better opportunity. It may not be possible to see that NOW without this next experience.
Nothing is ever a waste. I’d choose good energy over stagnation and bitterness every time. The answer will come if we give it a fertile place to germinate and to grow.
In hand, in the other hand, in the sky … which would you choose?
If you are due to press the restart button on your career, join me January 16th at 1pm Eastern for a free video conference call where I’ll help you discover where to look to find these answers.
Midlife is a natural time for many to ponder what they’re doing with their lives.
Wondering if you’re locked into a career you’ve devoted decades to? Not necessarily!
These folks share how they’ve made a change with no regrets.
You may think you have to stay with what you studied in college or what you’ve invested yourself in for a decade or more. You may think you’re too old to make a change. And, none of this is true.
If something else is calling to you, give it a go! You may just discover things within you just bursting to come out as Ina Garten, AKA The Barefoot Contessa, found when she took a leap into the unknown.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe, but it IS possible to turn your passion into a career. Here’s some evidence in the form of six very successful people who did just that!
Layoffs, downsizing, and “rightsizing” are a common occurrence these days, and often they happen without rhyme nor reason.