In my experience career counseling, most people are not too reckless but rather too safe. Maybe because Connecticut is known as the land of steady habits, my career coaching is usually centered upon showing clients how to take calculated risks.
“You are not going to starve or become homeless.” That’s one of the lines I repeat to my clients. I then walk them through the happy reality of living in an affluent state like Connecticut and, for most, having enough informal support through family and friends that if things really went south, they would be ok.
“I read your career book and realized it was time for a change.” my friend Mike said as we were having drinks at a friendly bar in Stamford, CT. Mike bought Career Path of Abundance simply as a gesture to 30 years of friendship. He continued: “I picked up the book, expecting to flip through a few pages to get the basic message but then found myself wondering why I’m settling.” Mike elaborated on what I already knew: he had settled into a company in the financial sector that paid the bills but that never really suited him. Mike’s great personality and natural drive enabled him to succeed in financial sales but he hasn’t really liked his work for the last 10 years.
10 years is a lot of life. But we are creatures of habit. If work pays the bills and it is not flat out awful, most people trudge along each day until change is forced. In Mike’s case, he faced what many working parents do: the twin pressures of wanting to provide for their children and to be present more in their lives. Mike’s work required travel 2-3 days on most weeks. The challenge that he faced was figuring out how to create more satisfying work that pays the bills.
This very predicament is what prompted writing the book. The subtitle is more revealing: “Career Wisdom for Idealists Seeking Happiness and Success.” My work is immersed in the practical. The practical involves paying bills as a baseline.
Mike is now engaged in Exploratory Work, the work required to figure out the next move. I look forward to my next visit to Stamford.