Change Your Career For Your Health

A few years ago, Tom, a fortysomething mid-level executive at an insurance company in Fairfield, CT, told me one of the more interesting career change stories that I’ve ever heard. 

Part of Tom’s work includes overseeing the operations of his firm’s life insurance products. He was early for a meeting one day. Just to pass the time, he picked up some literature related to life insurance. He zeroed in on a section on how stress affects health. Tom knew that high stress can temporarily cause high blood pressure and had some effect on heart health. He was more surprised to learn the potential affects that stress has on everything from cancer to diabetes and a variety of other terminal diseases.

Tom was immediately struck by the irony. He found his job highly stressful and was selling products that advocated lowering stress to prevent premature death. More serendipity – that very day, Tom’s boss had made an off hand remark: “this job is killing me.”  Tom said he almost felt like he was a character in a movie as he decided right then and there that he had to leave his job.

As is the case with most mid-career professionals, Tom had no idea about what to do next. So, he contacted me and told me his story as we started the meeting. Flash forward a year later, Tom’s transition to a more enjoyable, less negative stress, environment has made him happier on a day to day level. He’s also convinced he’s added years to his life due to his happier work life.