Your Work - Change Your life
By Norma Zuber, M.S.C.
With the turbulent changes taking place in today's workplace, career
paths are ever more frequently taking new, and sometimes quite unexpected,
directions for men and women of all ages who are seeking new options
and/or clarification and direction for their lives and careers.
Are you discouraged and believe you are "stuck" in your occupation
with no concrete idea of how you can change your plight? Whether
your occupation is a "paid" job or homemaking, do you struggle with
the dilemma of "stay or leave" with no obvious answers at hand?
There are four essential, integral components to gaining control,
making changes and moving through the lifetime process of career
development whether you plan to stay in your current occupation
or move on.
The first component is self-evaluation to identify personal characteristics
such as your interests, values, preferred skills and personality
The second component is to identify occupations or aspects of work,
based on these personal characteristics that would be satisfying
and suitable for you, and to learn how to locate accurate resource
information about these occupations or jobs.
The third component, once you are well-versed in the first two
areas, is to make informed choices. You are already aware there
is no easy answer or perfect job. However when you have the right
information, you gain control of weighing your own "trade-offs"
and you no longer feel like a victim, whether you choose to stay
in your current position or move on.
The last component, once you are well prepared and ready, is to
"take action". This step may include developing a resume and learning
interviewing and job search skills.
Changing jobs: Although navigating
career changes in this current occupational climate might seem quite
intimidating, all this change also creates an ever expanding vista
of new opportunities which can be quite exciting to consider. Now
may be the time to take the risk!! This could be your golden opportunity
to reevaluate what you really want to be when you "grow up". It
is a time when you can take stock and determine your personal "trade
offs", establish more satisfying personal boundaries and perhaps
pursue new educational goals.
You may have more life/work time left than you think and when you
find a career path you love, you aren't really "working" anymore.
Even though there are no easy answers, the best way to move forward
is to break the huge, overwhelming big picture down into small pieces.
Set goals by deciding when you would like to see the goal achieved.
Put it on your calendar and work backwards through the steps you
need to take to get there. If you would like to have a degree in
five years, you might start with one or two classes. It is said
"A goal without a date is just a wish".
Once you get focused on what you really want, it may be more feasible
than you realize to plan ahead to a more satisfying future and far
reaching goal that requires some research, training, education or
job search skills. Go to a local library or career center and explore
options. Read about job search skills and local educational or training
programs. Many of these programs are short term and structured for
working adults. You may be surprised at the options you uncover.
If you feel you need some guidance find a qualified career counselor
in your area.
When changing your job is not an option and you are really unhappy,
what can you do? Many times a career change does not seem to be
an option. There may be instances where financial needs must be
met, or you feel geographically trapped or overwhelmed by family
obligations. There could be health problems that would not be covered
in a job move. Perhaps in evaluating your personal circumstances
and today's work climate, your decision to make a career change
would be too risky or intimidating. Because of this you may be unable
to make a responsible change at this time.
Are there other possible options? Yes!!
of your job: Analyze the job. Compare it with
what you need and see what is there and what is missing. What kind
of work environment would be right for you. Can you create it? Look
around at the whole company. Could you transfer to another department
that would be more fitting for you?
Change work groups or projects:
Are there other areas, projects or tasks in your place of employment
that are attractive or interesting to you? Are you unhappy with
certain people you are working with or for? You might ask to be
reassigned to change these components. After you have been with
a company for a period of time, you have value to the company which
gives you power to ask for changes and a good possibility that your
request for change will be heard.
Change the meaning of work in your life:
Your work must relate to the rest of your life as you
strive to balance family, personal interests and civic roles. If
your work is all consuming and you are not happy in your job, it
may be helpful to also look beyond your work to evaluate how well
you are integrating all aspects of your life including: physical
(exercise, diet, no substance abuse); intellectual (stimulating
learning, e.g. taking a class, reading etc.); emotional (dealing
with depression or past history); spiritual (inner peace and strength);
and social (connecting with friends and having fun).
Are other things missing such as hobbies sports, artistic interests,
working with your hands, gardening, travel or other pleasurable
activities that may have been laid aside? Some of these could enrich
your life and lessen the negative dominant role your job now has.
Tips For Making a Career Change
- Determine what you
really want and/or need in your life and from your work.
- Learn how to effectively
research occupational information.
- Be able to logically
and realistically measure personal "trade offs."
- Develop career transition
tools such as resume, job search skills and effective interviewing
- Learn how to inflitrate
the "hidden job market" where 80% of job openings are