Do you want career regrets in the future?

“Still doing what I’ve been doing…” Bill ruefully sighed.  I knew Bill when he was an attorney in New Haven twenty years ago.  He wasn’t happy then.  He’s not happy now.  He relayed his career doldrums and then noted that his edginess from work was definitely a factor in the demise of his marriage. Bill could still change careers.  He’s 51.  He probably will work until at least 70.  I hope he does.  He told me he read my career counseling blog and saw himself in some of the sad case studies.  I urged him to change.  “If you don’t now, when will you?” Strangely enough, his main reason for considering my suggestion was personal “I’ve been getting kind of serious with this woman and I don’t want to blow it again due to my mood,”  I responded: “I don’t want to run into you again in your 60s and hear the same tale.”

That old saying – “you will regret the things you don’t do more than the things you do” – is absolutely right from my post 50 year old vantage point.  My friends who took some of career risk in their 20s and 30s all – and I can’t think of an exception, albeit in my very limited sample – all have happy careers.  My friends who took two risks are of the two expected types: (1) the ones who either guessed correctly or really did know what they wanted to do for their careers and (2) the ones who realized it was a mismatch but pressed onward and now feel it is too late to change.  The latter outnumber the former.

When I started Career Counseling Connecticut, my mission was clear: help people find happy and successful careers.  I soon grew to realize that since careers are so intertwined with life that career counseling successes were leading clients to happy and successful lives.