Worried You Waited Too Long

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Are you worried that it is too late for you to find a career you love?

I heard a story the other day about a woman named Joanna. Joanna is in her mid-50s and is certain that the time for pursuing a career she loves has long since passed her by. She never went to college and believes it is too late to get that sort of education. There are reasons for Joanna’s current circumstances: she dealt with health issues, family commitments and a few other unexpected curveballs that life sometimes brings. She doesn’t regret the choices she made, yet she has spent decades feeling unsatisfied by her work. Because she now believes it is too late to make any changes, she has given up. Today she is waiting to retire, which she hopes will happen in her early 60’s. Joanna’s plan is to spend the next 10 or more years working in misery, hoping retirement will bring her enjoyment.

Unfortunately Joanna’s story is not unique. I hear countless stories just like hers every day. I have had phases in life where I felt like Joanna. I just wanted to give up.

How about you? Do you feel like Joanna? Or does just reading Joanna’s story trigger your fears for your own life and career? Do you worry that too much time has passed and wonder if it is now too late for you?

I have learned that if you are willing to do the required work to unearth your own worth, you can find a job and career you love. And it doesn’t have to take years to do it. What could Joanna really do to change her situation? Even more importantly, what can you do?

Here are 5 steps to reclaim your career right now. The good news is you can take these steps on any budget.

1. STOP!

My friend Francesca has this great technique she uses when she catches herself thinking thoughts that don’t serve her greater good or happiness. She just says, “STOP!” out loud to her inner critic. If you are caught in a cycle of thinking your career options are doomed, right now say, “STOP!” to that voice in your mind.

Is it really too late for you? Unless you’re dead (in which case you probably have other serious concerns), it isn’t too late for you. There are steps you can take and things you can do.

 

2. LOOK!

So what is the next step to take? Look at who you are. Spend the time it takes to unearth your innate strengths and skills. These are the ones that find a way to express themselves even when you’re not paying attention. Once you know these, you can leverage them into a job you’ll love. But you must start by taking the time to LOOK for them. Figure out what are the things you truly love to do. There are clues to these in your own stories from your life. But if you don’t take the time to look for them, you won’t find them.

 

3. LISTEN!

Listen with your ears. Seek expert advice from a professional career coach who specializes in your situation. Don’t assume you can’t afford expert advice. Many coaching services offer hardship rates if you ask. Ask your local department of labor workforce group about services they offer. Seek support and advice from a local job club or employment group. These typically are free or low cost. Ask for support from your friends and family. I have conversations every day with someone who found their current job or career because a trusted loved one suggested it for them. Do informational interviews to find out what your dream job is like in the real world, along with what are the real job requirements. These cost you nothing but time and effort.

Listen with your eyes. Do research. If you find a field you’d love, do some research online or at your local library. Find out what jobs are in that field. My favorite free online resource for this sort of research is http://www.onetonline.org . Look for options that fit your skills and education. Not all jobs require a degree. Look for organizations that will pay for your training and education.

 

4. CHOOSE!

Once you know what you’re great at and would love to do, and have sought advice and support from others, then it’s time to make the big decision: Will you be like Joanna, and choose to live and work in misery until death or retirement? Or will you take the time you do have to find a job and career you love? The choice is yours. And you must choose.

 

5. ACT!

Of course, setting the goal and making the choice to pursue it are not quite enough. You now have to do the work to get you there. Develop your job search strategy. Schedule your steps. Follow your plan. Put in the effort to actively seek a job you’d love.

 

The bottom line is that it is not too late for you, unless you choose for that to be true. No matter what your circumstances, there are options for you to improve your job and career situation. There are steps you can take right now. You can keep waiting, hating your job, and wishing it were different. Or you can spend the time you have doing something about it. I know it can be done. I’ve seen people of all ages do it.

What is stopping you? What will you do? I invite you to share your thoughts on my blog below. 

I have helped clients from their 20’s through their 60’s to find a job and career they love. My clients rely on 1-on-1 support to help them create a real, pragmatic plan to land their dream job. If you want to schedule time with me, just email me or schedule time now at http://tungle.me/lori.howard

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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