Career transition does not have to be an unexpected or unplanned event. In his book Switching Careers, Robert K. Otterburg wrote, “To some people, the simple solution to career dissatisfaction is to retire in one’s 50s and avoid the challenge of a career change. Others acknowledge this challenge in their 30s and 40s and switch careers.”
Which one are you? How have you attempted to deal with your career dissatisfaction up to this point?
Will Rogers once said, “even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Are you on the right track? Have you advanced as far as you can in your career or organization?
Here are some tried-and-true strategies for staying on track while you transform or switch your career.
Define your dream. In the words of Coco Chanel, “How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.”
Are you someone who has gotten caught in the façade of “being something” rather than being yourself? Are you secretly wishing you could give up the façade? Do you dream of having a career that reflects who you “really” are? Do you have a clear image of how you want your life to look? What are some of the shoulds and coulds that have influence your expectations and decision making? These self-evaluation questions can begin the process of defining your dream and of being mindful in making choices that reflect your values as a person.
Work through your fears. The title of Susan Jeffers’ book, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, summarizes what it means to work through your fear. The acronym FEAR stands for False Evidence/Expectation Appearing Real.
What evidence or whose expectations are you allowing to keep you to stay stuck? Don’t allow false evidence or others’ expectations to keep you from transforming your career. What are your fears? Fear of failure, disapproval from others, success or fear of the unknown?
Manage your time. Learn to differentiate between what is important and urgent, what is important but not urgent, and what is urgent but not important. Be selective and say no sometimes to things that might be urgent to others, but are not important to you.Develop a business mind-set about your time. Always calculate what your return on investment will be on each activity based on what needs to be done and the time involved in completing it. Your time is priceless, so be wise in how you use it.
Debbie Walker, a mental health therapist and certified career coach who runs Debbie Walker LPC in Martinez, can be reached at (706) 504-4063.