I have an old friend who has a wonderful wife and two terrific kids. He has excellent relationships with his neighbors and extended family and friends. His health, finances, and psychological make-up are all in good shape. He has it all but he called me in semi-depressed state. I can’t believe I’m turning 50 and I still haven’t figured out how to have a job that I enjoy.
I tried to bolster him by reminding him of all the good things he had in his life and noted that his job had provided for his family for years. “I know. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or whiny but a career is a lot life. I’ve already spent 25 years not really liking my work and I’m just depressed that I probably will have to spend another 20 years doing the same.”
I suppose part of the reason my work-life mission has shifted from focusing on helping young adults to helping adults has been from seeing the psychological impact that work has on so many people. We can justify things to ourselves only so much: “a job is just a job”, “it pays the bills”, “work is not supposed to be fun, that’s why it’s called work” etc. But fooling oneself with such cliches takes its toll.
The solution: take control of your career by investing in exploratory work. Most people give fleeting thoughts related to different career paths and then bury their heads back into their work day.
While I know form client feedback that my suggestions have led to breakthroughs on “what to do”, I also know that the mere process of career counseling – whether I was any good or not – led to change for my clients. Simply contacting Career Counseling Connecticut led to subconscious thinking “I want to change.” Scheduling an appointment led to further thought. Answering the career personality profiling questions and providing a career narrative before the meeting sharpens their thinking. Mentally thinking about what they want to say to me or other career counselors on staff further increases thought on the matter. Interacting with a career counselor – again, regardless of the counselor’s skill – deepens thought.
The hope and expectation, of course, should be that I or other career counselors on staff will provide insight on what path you should take and how to efficiently move forward on the path.
Regardless, however, do something. Don’t fool yourself into thinking career stuff doesn’t matter. It does. Careers equal a lot life.