I woke up this morning with an epiphany that my life stinks. I need to find a career that is right for me. I am a person centered on fun. I have had too many jobs that I could not stand and it did not go well for me. It is time to take charge and finally start getting the career that I soooooo long for. I came across your article and liked your philosophy. I am 42 yrs old. My main career has been as a truck driver and a police officer. Due to an unfortunate back injury I have had to stop both of these permanently. It is time I start doing what I want to do. Any advice will be appreciated. I am a very creative person. I am good at making people laugh (not a comedian just good B.S.er). When I am not being shy I am a very social person. Very family oriented. Willing to go the extra foot or possibly mile for things I enjoy, people included. My wife says I am very moral (not a preacher). I am sure I have a lot more good qualities. –R-
Dear –R-, First, let me say congratulations for waking up to your life! Many people are unhappy with their work but simply won’t even take the first step. As I say “It’s not just a job, it’s half your life”. We spend too much time working to be unhappy with it and it’s more than half your life.
- The journey you are about to embark on is one of self discovery. To be truly satisfied with the work you would do, you need to first find out what works for you and what doesn’t. What I’m saying with this, is what are you doing when you’re at your best? What skills are you using? What are you doing that makes it simply just work for you and satisfy you? Spend time with those questions, go back into your life and look at multiple situations so you can “see” yourself under a variety of circumstances. Then, look at the opposite – what were you doing when you were at your worst or unhappy? What made those bad for you? This will help paint a picture of what values your hold, what skills you like to use and things you want to avoid. I would then suggest you look at things that you are naturally attracted to and go research and follow those things – talk to people, go on the internet. Let me caution you to not discount anything in the early stages. I know about a guy that builds sandcastles for a 6 figure living,, so any human pursuit can be turned into a job or income producing work.
- Many people think the path to a new career is a job search. I warn you against doing that, at least at this stage. Some of the worst job searches I’ve seen are people who think they will “find something” – a messy, unproductive job search is what they end up with. You have to do the work FIRST to get to a clear resonant decision. Then, if it implies a job search, you know what you’re looking for.
- The best career changes decisions are ones where you spend time exploring yourself and exploring anything that might remotely sound good. You have to be curious. You have to go “in search” by doing research into the field of work. It will only be by doing that level of exploring will you ultimately unearth something that will ignite your passion. No, you can’t just magically have the answer come to you while you sleep (wish that could be the way it works) and yes, you have to be patient with the process because it is a process – one that you must embark on to get the answers.
- I will say that many career coaches believe the best career change is one that isn’t too radically different from your history. I understand the concept but I think that for people like you, that probably is not the case. I mean, you could investigate related professions like shipping logistics since you were a truck driver or safety education but I think you want to be open to all possibilities because of both your back injury as well as simply giving yourself permission to explore. I know a guy who was a carpenter and now does spa services – how’s that for radically different? I can only tell a bit about you from what you’ve said but it sounds like people play an important role in your life, so I would consider careers where service is a strong component, sales? Teaching?
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