Why Chucking Your Career Won't Solve Your Problems (Usually)
by Kathy Caprino
I've spent eight years working with individuals to achieve successful professional growth, change, and reinvention. 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 corporate marketing, market research, marriage and family therapy, coaching, writing, speaking, and executive recruitment.
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 years, I've learned what's required to navigate through highly challenging financial times while at the same time successfully achieving 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. (And a word to the wise - many coaches won't share this information with you.)
The Myth of Career Bliss
As new clients come to me - both men and women -- I see an alarming myth that thousands of midlife individuals have been led to believe. It's hitting baby boomer women hard, and honestly, I don't see this same myth prevalent in younger generations. I call it the "myth of career bliss" - the damaging notion that all it takes to make your life happier is to chuck out your old, unsatisfying career, and come up with a new one, despite what else is falling apart in your life.
Here's how the story goes:
A midlife 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
- 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 individuals in the U.S. today -- it's not a wholesale career change that will bring you the satisfaction and peace 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 Bliss Myth: The Top Six Steps You Need to Take to Change Your Life for the Better
Here's what you have to do to change your life and career for the better... and it isn't job change, for now.
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