Career exploration – the no (or minimal) risk way of seeking to live a better life

“I realized that I’m settling for a mildly unhappy work life.” Morgan said in our introductory phone call. Morgan was in the real estate field in New London, Connecticut. “I have no reason to quit. The pay is ok. My boss is ok. My work is ok. My lifestyle is ok. Compared to a lot of others, I have it pretty good.”

I liked Morgan’s attitude of gratitude. Even if you don’t like your job, starting in a place of gratitude for having a job that, at least, pays the bills is a good thing from both a spiritual/psychological place and from a practical place because it is easier to move when infused with positive energy.

“I just don’t want to risk switching careers.” Morgan continued. I explained to Morgan that she wasn’t risking anything at the moment. She was not near the point of making a leap. But, she was engaged in a process that stops many people from exploring their dreams. She was comparing her current job with a phantom job. Certainty beats uncertainty almost every time.

What is the risk of career exploration? Reading/reflecting/discussing work in other fields with friends/acquaintances. That costs nothing and the time invested is hardly a cost. Taking a class might cost some money but the whole notion of stopping education after college is rapidly becoming outdated. Meeting with a skilled career counselor – warning self-serving notice – is potentially life changing and, at worst, an hour with an objective advisor who might provide a few insights for the cost of dinner at a restaurant. Regardless, how big of a risk is that in the context of something as significant as your career?

Career exploration is almost risk free. Staying in job or career path that you don’t like is risk free only if you think mildly unhappy for the rest of your working days is worth the price of certainty.