Are you meant to do something different?

Over the last year, I’ve had several career counseling sessions with Kevin.  Kevin has a good job by conventional standards.  He earns a bit more than $100,000, he has a solid title, and he has solid job security.  He also has a twenty minute commute to his job in New London, CT, reasonable hours, and decent bosses.  There are some challenges, of course, his co-workers aren’t “his type of people”, the work ranges from dull to ok, and the big bosses – above his boss – are definitely not his type of people.  

Kevin is a smart, hardworking, likable guy. Due to his general competence and interpersonal skills, he has done well enough in a career field that he drifted into and never really liked.

Kevin is approaching 40.  This has made him more reflective, particularly as he realizes that with one child and another on the way he’s locking himself into financial responsibilities that will make it more difficult to move to another field.

When we first met, Kevin’s challenge was that he had no idea what else he could do.  As a young guy, his only real passion was sports.  He was a college athlete and had thought about going into coaching or sports management.  He got a sales job in his field after college graduation and then made a move to his present company when he was 27.  He progressed from sales to different facets of operations and management.  He only really knows his industry and has spent his free time doing what most people do: enjoying time with family and friend and indulging is his hobbies.

Kevin never really engaged in what I call “exploratory work” – the type of work needed to build his career.  He had come to me to find another job.  It became clear to me that Kevin’s job within the corporate grid was not the problem – at best he would just trade his job for another – but rather that he did not know what he wanted to do.

We began our exploratory work last April.  Kevin would come back every few months with different ideas.  We would engage in situational analysis to determine the viability of the ideas.  In August of this year, Kevin’s idea for a side business seemed plausible.  We began what I call “entrepreneur training.” He piloted the idea and now in November its making money.  He hasn’t quit his job.  But, he now is very excited about creating his business by his 40th birthday.