Do you worry about timing?

Yesterday I met Eva, a 52 year old woman who has built a successful career as a corporate accountant. As we chatted over afternoon tea, she confessed that she hates accounting, and longs to change careers and find a job she’d love. Then she put down her mug and looked at me and said these words, “I’m foolish to consider changing jobs or careers at this point. I should be grateful for what I have. Even my friends and family say this to me. Is it true? Is it too much to ask to find a job I love at my age?”

Have you ever said these words, or maybe just thought them?

Every week I meet someone who expresses these thoughts to me. Many of my clients express this to me at some point in our work together. In fact, I have said them to myself while working along my own path of career transformation. I thought it might be helpful to break this thought down into its components, and get to the real truth.

1. “I’m foolish to consider changing jobs or careers at this point.”

Is it foolish to thoughtfully consider something? Is it foolish to consider change in other areas of your life? It is foolish to leap without thinking, but to thoughtfully consider change that affects your job or career, that’s not foolish. In the current economy and job market, that’s actually wise. After all, you are the one responsible for your career. And that requires serious thought and consideration. Another way to look at it, is it foolish to consider your alternatives, to explore what’s out there? I find it is the responsible, prepared person who knows their options.

2. “I should be grateful for what I have.”

Gratitude has been shown to be a key to happiness and satisfaction. My question is, does considering a change mean you are ungrateful? Is it possible to be grateful for what you have learned, the skills you have developed, the accomplishments you have made, while contemplating moving forward in a new direction? The reality is one of the keys to successfully changing jobs or careers is to be grateful for how you got here, and what you’ve learned along the way. The path you’ve taken is the one that allowed you to build experience, develop your strengths and skills, and discover what you love.

3. “Even my friends and family say this to me.”

Typically this means, “Some of the people in my support system think I’m making a mistake.” It is critical to create the proper support for yourself when making major life changes. Do some of the people in your support system encourage your desire to explore your options, and find a new job or career? Can you create a stronger support system by seeking out an expert to help you (e.g., coach, therapist, mentor)? There are also job clubs you could join for support from people going through a similar experience.

4. “Is it too much to ask to find a job I love at my age?”

Another variation of this question, “Is it too much to ask to find a job I love at this stage in my life?” It is a lot of work to look for a job, whether you love it or hate it. If it’s going to require commitment and effort to look for a job anyway, it will be a lot easier to follow through if you look for a job you’ll love. It is also important to know what the job you love looks like. Take the time to figure that out, and you will find it is not too much to ask. And much more rewarding to find one you love, than one you hate, or are just putting up with.

So, now that we’ve taken this apart and looked at each component, let me ask you the final question, “Is it true?”

I say no, it’s not true! And if you long to have a job and career you love, now is the time to go for it!

What do you say? I invite you to share your thoughts on my blog.

 

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Client Stories

 I was looking to make large changes in my life, both job and city.  I was a happy midwestern resident for nearly 30 years but wanted to see what life on a coast was like and get a dream job.  This was a tall order and going into it I thought I would have to make large compromises on parts of my dreams to get any of it.  

I went to Lori to help me achieve these dreams.  It was the best decision I made.

She focused on two things right out of the gate:
  1. clarify my goals, both personal and professional
  2. get me to stop selling myself short

These twin achievements allowed me to approach my hunt with confidence, patience and focus.  My original dream job was to try and combine my technical joys with a personal one.  I enjoy large scale data processing with cutting edge tools, music and baseball.  Through the tools Lori taught me and helped me unearth in myself I got that gig that would have fallen into day dream territory before our work together.  

And yeah, there's platinum records on the walls of my lobby and I have tons of data to process.

Pat Christopher, Intelligence Engineer, Seattle, WA