Career rescue: save yourself from “career drift”

“If you told me at 20 or 25 or even 30 that I would be in this career path at 40, I wouldn’t have believed you or would become immediately depressed.” John said.  By conventional standards, John was a success.  Having graduated from UCONN, he worked in a large Stamford marketing agency for a few years and then migrated closer to New Haven in different marketing jobs since then.  When I pointed out that “he’s doing fine” – which was not just a morale booster but the truth in my eyes – he thanked me and then said “but I could be doing so much more with my potential.”

John was now in middle management.  His marketing work was more analytical than creative.  He did not have much autonomy to make creative decisions.  He had a fairly stern boss and his company was experiencing some turbulence.  Again, I pointed out that he was far from alone in experiencing any of these issues. “I know and I read your book so I realize that gratitude is important. But I thought I would be running my own ad agency, making creative decisions, developing my preferred client base, and really killing it.”

John then proceeded to tell the all too common career drift story.  John had a vision for what he wanted to do – start his own marketing agency – but he never put in the time to learn how to do so.  He was understandably busy with both his full time job and being a young Dad.  Each year for the last 5, he would put on his resolutions: “start a company”.  But without the know-how for where to start, he would browse through some motivational books on entrepreneurship and would read some articles and then get back to his daily grind.

John had discovered me through a friend of his that had a somewhat similar situation.  Steve, John’s friend, had come to me several years ago for career counseling which turned into entrepreneurial training.  Steve now successfully runs his own business.  Now, let’s hope it’s John’s turn to direct his career rather than continue to drift endlessly.