Be the writer of your own movie

That phrase is what Ben said was the click moment that made him change his career.  Ben had graduated from Emerson in Boston with a degree in film. After spending a few years in New York mostly working as a waiter at night and as a low paid production assistant on some projects, he decided that he didn’t have enough passion for film to continue living a barely above substance lifestyle where he was working 60-80 hours per week.

Ben moved back to his parent’s house in Mystic, Connecticut.  He felt defeated and depressed.  His parents actually initiated the contact with Career Counseling Connecticut.

Ben was 25 when we met a few years ago.  He felt old.  Anyone reaching 40 would think otherwise.  We discussed possible career paths but it was clear that Ben’s energy was so low that he needed some type of energy shift.

While the positive energy shift that effective career counseling provides is a subject for another day, I will say that it may be the biggest unexpected benefit from career counseling meetings.

Ben felt that his life was not under his control.  He had applied to a couple dozen jobs.  He didn’t even get an interview.  He felt like he was begging others to give him a job, any job, even jobs he knew he didn’t want.

I knew we had flip the switch related to control.  “Be the writer of your own movie.” You can create a different vision than being a film maker.  You then can craft a plan to make that vision happen. The rest of the meeting went very well as we reviewed various “pilots” (my word that I use even for non-filmmakers when I reference exploring different possible careers, much like a network reviewing TV pilots).

Three years later, Ben wrote me an e-mail noting that the one phrase “be the writer of your own movie” had become a mantra of sorts.  He had entered film making school because he wanted to make documentary films that made a positive difference in the world. When we had met, I had emphasized that there were lots of ways that he could make a positive difference in the world through his career.  That was another click moment.

Ben targeted non-profits in Boston, as he also realized that’s where he wanted to live. As tends to happen when people become laser focused, serendipity aided his search as one of his college classmate’s mother was an executive at a large non-profit in the Boston area.  After paying his dues in fundraising, Ben shifted to marketing for the non-profit, even using his film skills to create short films that would enhance public awareness of his non-profit.

Be the writer of your own movie, strangely effective career counseling advice.