I would suggest doing some research immediately after you read this article: “what do people regret as they age?” “what are the biggest regrets people have for their career?” “what are the biggest life regrets?”
In almost every case, different variations of “I wish I was more authentic. I wish I took more risk. I wish I worked in the career I wanted” will come up.
Perhaps because Connecticut is the land of steady habits I’ve noticed that most of my Connecticut neighbors are too risk adverse when it comes to career change. Before I continue, I note that I have been the sole-primary breadwinner for a family of 5 for nearly 20 years. I understand financial pressure (the dominant reason for risk aversion). I also was the product of the 1970-1980s achievement driven way of raising children. So, I fully understand the pressures of striving to be conventionally successful (the other big reason for risk aversion).
Perhaps because of genuine soul-searching and deep reflection, I was able to overcome my cultural programming and transition from working at a large law firm to starting an education-counseling company. Lawyers – particularly those from elite schools who were earning big salaries- did not do such things at the turn of the century. I certainly endured a lot of curious inquiries, along the lines of “why would you do such a thing?”
I didn’t tell people I wanted “to be more authentic.” But that would have been a pretty good answer. “I want my work to be more meaningful. I want to help people. I like this type of work”. Those answers were given to some, usually women. “I want to be an entrepreneur” was told others, usually men.
I was fortunate in that I started an education company, unwittingly, when the tutoring boom was just starting in the early 2000s. The Learning Consultants rode the wave and became Connecticut’s largest private education consultancy. Nonetheless, I suffered through much financial anxiety during the first few years of building the company. So I know…
My passion for career counseling led to Career Counseling Connecticut. But it came from my own drive for authenticity. I know I won’t have career regrets when I look back on my life. I hope the same for you.