The tumult of the last few years has led to Career Counseling Connecticut working overtime on how to help our clients navigate their careers. Some lessons:
- Career and life happiness are intermingled
The Great Resignation stemmed from a massive amount of workers realizing that their unhappiness in life was brought on – at least in part- by their careers. I’ve written about this phenomenon elsewhere but I’ll comment briefly here: it used to be that most workers went to work but “left it behind” at the office/factory. Today, knowledge workers bring home their work and are just an e-mail/text/phone call away from being at work… all the time. If you like your work, then this might be irritating but not soul-sucking. If you don’t like your work, then you won’t like your life. Your life is time and career takes time. Ensure you are in a happy career so that you can ensure you have a happy life.
I was working with a twentysomething from Fairfield, Connecticut who found herself depressed after a year of working. She had no history of depression. But her job made her feel so stressed at home that she never decompressed.
2. Career decisions made in one’s late teens/early twenties are often wildly wrong
Let me be clear here: it’s not that 16-22 year olds can’t make effective career decisions. Instead, it’s that there are no systems in place for effective career education. For that reason, 16-20 year olds choosing programs of study in college and/or college majors are basing their decisions on random pieces of advice and barely any real knowledge base. 22-24 year olds who choose their first job do not realize that they are “branding themselves” in a certain career. The 22 year old who takes her first job doesn’t realize that after a couple of years she’ll be considered a [first job] with experience in [first job’s industry]. Then when she’s 24 and not happy at work she’ll discover that she’ll get more interviews for jobs from places that are similar to the first job/industry and also hard to break into other types of jobs/industries.
Last year, I worked with a 24 year old from Danbury, Connecticut who was perplexed why his resume was ignored outside of the insurance industry. “I never did anything with insurance before my first job.” But his first job had “insurance” in the title as did his company. Computer algorithms are not great with subtlety. He was now an “insurance” guy.
3. You can quit but you can’t hide
Much like the boxing adage said by heavyweight great Joe Louis (you can run but you can’t hide)… you can quit your job but you can’t simply hide in your house and not go back to work. The original purpose of work – survival – is still present. There is only so long that savings last (or your parents’ patience). So you have to find work that suits you.
Currently, I am working with many twentysomethings who quit for various reasons. They discovered that the Great Resignation has become The Great Regret for many. As they sit home and watch their savings evaporate, they realize that they need to figure out what makes them happy soon.
We can help.