Glenford Smith | Need a new career path, again
QUESTION: I read your column dated May 28 titled 'Fed up with career'. I have been in my career for 13 years. I was miserable and believed I suffered burnout. I left that place and started working elsewhere but have now been experiencing frustration again. I need to find a new career path, again. Problem is, I don't know what I would like to do. At age 34, I envy those who know what career path they want and set out plans to achieve it. Help!
CAREERS: Thank you for reading the Gleaner Careers column and for writing in. Your letter had to be edited because of length.
In that article, I outlined having a get-out plan and considering what you would like to do. I also suggested that you ask yourself if this is something that you would enjoy doing for free. That is an important clue to what it is you should be doing.
Permit me to point out that you've now come to the end of practically two careers, and in search of the third. I want to point out that working at one career for a number of years and then leaving it for something fulfilling is not unusual. And neither is it unusual for you after 13 years to be yearning for a change, now at age 34.
There is no need to be envious of those who have some idea of where they are going. I believe you have some inner urgings, if you will be frank. If you are self-accepting and assert your self-esteem, you will know. We are reared to wait for somebody else to tell us what is right for us.
We are not brought up to realise that the world is ours and we have been given the freedom to determine what we will be. It is only very late that it occurs to some of us that we were responsible for our lives all along. And further, what this responsibility entails.
Now, with regard to your question specifically, take off an afternoon from your job. Sit silently, and ask yourself: What would make my heart sing? You don't have to know how you're going to do it. Just do it.
Discuss your insights with a friend or a career counsellor. What may come up is fear. Fear may even prevent you from doing the exercise.
But remember, finding satisfaction in a career requires understanding yourself your needs, values and skills. These are found within yourself. The assumption of an implicit social contract guaranteeing your work, status and income isn't realistic.
Forbes has an article online titled 'Unhappy Employees Outnumber Happy Ones Two To One'. In it they show that "the vast majority of people, some 63 per cent, are "not engaged", meaning they are unhappy but not drastically so. In short, they're checked out. They sleepwalk through their days, putting little energy into their work.
These are the people who are happiest on Friday afternoon when they can say TGIF- thank God it's Friday. And they are depressed when Sunday evening comes. Don't find yourself among them.
- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.