Career Change: It rarely is ever “the right time”

“I always thought it was not the right time. When 40 approached, I realized that there will never be the right time.” Melanie, a mid-level manager at a bank in Shoreline, Connecticut said.
As Melanie told her tale, I mentally checked off some of the usual reasons:
(1) even though she quickly realized it was a mismatched job, she needed work experience in her early twenties
(2) she didn’t like her job but got married in her late twenties and was saving for a house (3) she really didn’t like her job in her early thirties but she had her first child
(4) she hated her job in her mid-thirties but she had her second child and (
5) now, she could barely stand going to work each day but there were bills to pay. But here is where she needed help to see the big picture.

Melanie’s husband could pay all the basic bills but they would be just getting by and not have enough for any of the luxuries enjoyed by upper middle class Connecticut types. The latter seems to be a big reason why people are stuck.  We forget that we live in an extraordinarily wealthy state.  The suburbs of Connecticut, particularly those in Fairfield County and the coast of Middlesex and New London Counties, are filled with affluence. This will be a subject for another lecture! But, suffice to say, Melanie was trading in day to day misery because she didn’t want to give up going to fancy dinners, driving a Lexus, and vacationing in Nantucket.  

I should note that Melanie’s husband was supportive.  He was the one who suggested career counseling. He had heard of me through a friend at his work and realized that Melanie needed to get out of her head and meet with someone who could help her create a plan.  ”Happy wife, happy life” he said.  He, of course, wanted her to make money in her new career path but had the sense that tightening the belt now (even though it wasn’t the right time) would be better than having his home life disrupted by his wife’s job misery.