I’ve had numerous calls lately from adults in their 40-50’s who are needing to 1) reenter the workforce after being out for a long period of time or 2) have realized their job is no longer satisfying. Often times when we hear “Career Exploration,” we think of young kids in high school or college. We don’t think of ourselves. WHY would we? We have degrees, maybe a career and are much too old to think about making a change.
My last podcast with KSLR talks about this topic in-depth and if you are on the fence about how happy you are in your current situation, I highly recommend you take 13 minutes to listen. Our jobs, or lack thereof, can be one of the single most important aspects of our lives. Yes, faith and family typically are #1 and #2 on the priority list but honestly, when we are in a career that is making us miserable…everything else is affected, hence it sneaks its way up the list.
Making changes are hard. It required you to acknowledge all is not okay and take action! We all need a sense of purpose. It’s vital to our mental and physical health. Just ask anyone who hates their job or can’t find a job.
One call that has stuck in my head, is a man who called and hadn’t been able to reenter the workforce in a couple of years. He stated all the reasons that kept him from gaining employment. In the free consultation call that lasted an hour, I probed him on his actions to date in getting a position. All responses were met with “Oh, that didn’t work”, “Oh, I don’t do LinkedIn because that’s social media”, “Networking isn’t for me”, etc., etc., etc. I state this example because I’m very serious about how hard I push my clients to get them back into the workforce. He was doing every single thing that does NOT work in getting a position but had a million reasons why he didn’t want to take my professional suggestions. This is not uncommon in human behavior. You are miserable, you are defeated, you get so frustrated you reach out for help…then fall back into old behaviors.
Career changes are not easy or they would have been done years ago. I am extremely knowledgeable about how to get a person moving on the right path, but here is the bottom line; you must be willing to 1. Learn new behaviors, 2. Change your patterns, 3. Listen. One of my favorite quotes in counseling is, “People will only make a change when the pain becomes so great…then, and only then, will change occur.”
I will say that phone call isn’t unique. I get a couple of calls each month from frustrated adults. They seem to fall into two categories. The first is, I just need you to tell me “REAL quick” what to do so I can do it. The second is, “I’m so frustrated but I don’t feel your suggestions will make a difference.” The link to depression from job dissatisfaction is enormous. You need someone to help keep you focused, accountable AND motivated by being your cheerleader.
There is a method to getting into the field you want and a job with the company you love. But it takes work. Hard work. Connections and preparation. It will not be handed to you because you apply online. In fact, I can almost promise you will never hear from the company. YOU…are a dime a dozen so we must work together to make you shine brighter than anyone else.
Career exploration isn’t a “career coach” who has been in business and opens a company. There are counseling theories that go into working with individuals who are so frustrated they can’t get out of bed. So frustrated they only see defeat. So frustrated that when someone provides direction, they only see excuses as to WHY that won’t work for them. But you must be willing to invest the time and money that goes along with getting your foot in the door and finding YOUR passion. It’s not a quick fix! Ask anyone who has been miserable for years. Or anyone who has been searching for a job with zero response from the 100 jobs they’ve applied for.
We are passionate about working with adults to find what makes sense for them. But it will not be a quick 1-hour phone call that wraps up all of a person’s issues into a nice bow. It takes time, determination and commitment; but I promise you, it’s worth it. And…you may just learn something new about yourself along the way. Don’t give up on your happiness. It’s too important.