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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Why You Stay in a Career You Hate

Speaking and working with people every day who are in careers or jobs they dislike intensely, I’ve asked myself, “How did we get here?  How has it happened that so many thousands of people have become despondent, angry and disgruntled about what they do for a living?” 

Clearly, there are many factors at play here, including the rise of technology – that makes setting boundaries around our professional lives virtually impossible.  Further, in the past 30 years, we’ve become slaves to the almighty dollar, addicted to acquiring things we can’t afford, which keeps us working long and hard just to break even.  Additionally, many people jumped into certain jobs or fields early in their careers, only to discover 10 or 20 years later that they can’t find a way out.

But I believe there are even deeper reasons for this epidemic of people hating what they do each day for their living.  These reasons touch on underlying emotional, spiritual and behavioral conditions, and reveal a deep disconnection to what it means to live joyfully, authentically, and meaningfully.

I know some folks will debunk this post, claiming they have absolutely no choice in the matter, and that they’re stuck doing this work.  But I don’t see life that way.  I believe we always have new choices, new paths, new solutions available to us, if we can simply commit to creating a better life.

Based on the feedback I’ve received from hundreds of professionals here and abroad, I’ve observed the following eight core reasons why people hate their careers.  As I share these, know this – I’m not sitting in judgment of any of these; in fact, I’ve lived through each and every one of these conditions.

1)   You don’t know yourself

The vast majority of people I see in the workplace just don’t know themselves at all.  When asked, “What’s your top priority in life and in your career?  What would you give up anything for?” or “When you’re 90 looking back, what do you want to have done, been, and left behind? “  I get blank stares and mouths hanging open.  People don’t know themselves well or deeply anymore.  Why?  Perhaps because we don’t make time in our lives to get to know ourselves – we’re just too over-the-top busy.  Or perhaps the process of knowing oneself deeply is intimidating and scary.  Whatever the reason – if you don’t know who you are, at your core, and what you stand for and care about, how can you lead a life that aligns with your needs, values, and interests? (My free Career Path Self-Assessment will help you know yourself better, if you want to.)

2) You know yourself, but you make yourself wrong

In this situation, you know yourself and what you want, but you simply make yourself wrong.  You tell yourself, “Yeah, I want to change, but I’m wrong to feel that way.”  Or “I’m lucky to have a job, so I shouldn’t rock the boat” or “I have so much – I should just feel blessed and not complain.”  So many people (women in particular) doubt the validity of their feelings or repress their deepest longings because they think they’re wrong to have them.  Until you can make yourself “right,” you can’t find peace or joy.

3)  You’ve lost the courage to act

For many who know what they want, they’ve lost the courage to take hard action.  We’ve been seduced by some erroneous concept that life should be easy.  Where did we get that idea?  Making life change isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it, especially if you hate where you are today. It takes courage, grit, and commitment to bring about lasting change, and you can do it, but only if you decide to connect to your own internal power, courage and fortitude.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON FORBES.COM 


Why do you stay in a career that makes you miserable?  Can you make a different choice?

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Don’t Chuck Your Career Before You Take These Steps

I’ve spent eight years working with mid to high-level professionals and executives to achieve greater career success, growth and leadership, as well as to transform their careers completely.  I know a good deal about the process personally too, as I’ve traversed a number of diverging career paths over the past 20 years, including publishing, marketing, market research, marriage and family therapy, coaching, speaking, and teaching.

If you asked me my views on career reinvention five years ago, I would have said some very different things than I do today.

So what’s different?

In the past three and a half years, I’ve learned what’s required (for myself and others) to navigate through highly challenging financial times while at the same time successfully creating a more fulfilling professional life.

I’m not talking about pie-in-the-sky, follow-your-bliss nonsense here.  I’m talking about real-life positive career and life change that lasts and continues to reap benefit and reward.

The Myth of Career Ecstasy

Today, as new clients come to me – both men and women — I see an alarming myth that thousands of midlife individuals have been suckered into believing.  It’s hitting boomer folks hard, and truthfully, I don’t see this same myth prevalent in younger generations.  I call it the “myth of career ecstasy” – the damaging, misguided notion that all it will take to make your life happier and more rewarding is to chuck out your old, unsatisfying career, and land in a new one, despite what else is falling apart in your life.

Here’s how the story goes:

A midlife professional woman comes to me after 15+ years of corporate work.  She’s awakened to the following realizations, and they hurt:

  • It feels as if her work has no contributive value in the world any more (for instance, she feels she’s “selling” something that doesn’t matter at all or isn’t of positive influence in the world)
  • She’s bored out of her mind doing the work she knows best and desperately wants a change
  • Her family needs her substantial income of $100M+
  • Her husband and children have grown accustomed to her overfunctioning and her perfectionism, and don’t want things to change too much. (Note: she handles over 75% of the domestic responsibility as well as her full-time job, and she’s worn out, stressed and depressed.  And her overfunctioning has held her husband back from contributing his fair share, financially, domestically, and otherwise.)
  • She feels an urgent need to change her personal and professional situation
  • She’s in a financial trap, not having saved enough money to take several years off to re-strategize, gain new education or training, and reinvent her career path
  • On top of these stresses, there are relationship, behavioral and other issues with her family members (elderly parents, children, spouse, etc.) that need urgent addressing
  • Despite the fact that numerous dimensions of this individual’s life are truly in “breakdown” mode, she believes that it’s a new career she should focus on, as (in her mind) that will bring her life the joy, peace, excitement, meaning, health, and purpose she longs for.

The problem is, it’s simply not true.

In her case — and for hundreds of thousands of women professionals in the world today — it’s not a wholesale career change that will bring you the satisfaction and fulfillment you want.  Instead, it’s taking hard, urgently-needed action that addresses the root causes of your troubles that will make the difference in your career and life.

Busting the Career Ecstasy Myth: The Top Six Steps You Need to Take to Change Your Life for the Better

Here’s what needs to happen for your life to change for the better… and it isn’t job change, for now.

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE ON FORBES.COM

What are your top three life and career challenges today and are you addressing them head on?

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