Yesterday was one of those days where you feel like you’re attempting origami for the first time in a room full of Japanese 7-year olds. It was one of those days where I torment myself with the constant refrain of “what would Oprah be doing right now?” Oprah is my mental formation of absolute competence in all things great and small. Oprah always makes the right decision; Oprah always knows what to say and do. Oprah wouldn’t have had my day. And to be clear, it wasn’t a tragic day. I didn’t run over my cat or anything. I don’t have a cat. I only said that because I couldn’t bring myself to say dog. Cats are more expendable. Everyone knows that. No, it wasn’t a tragic day, thank God. It was, I guess, an incompetent day. And it was a Monday, to top it off. It’s never good to start your week off as incompetent; it doesn’t exactly bode well for the rest of the week. I had good intentions. I “set myself up for success.” I followed a Tony Robbins approved foundation – brisk walk to get the blood and mind flowing, some strength training (even included the dreaded burpees), meditation, good breakfast, then mentally outlined my day. First up – I would call down to North Carolina and I would SAVE THE DAY by setting up the vaccines for my 87- & 82-year-old parents. Brilliant! Thoughtful! Caring! What a way to start the day and the week! Fifteen minutes later I’m foaming at the mouth and leaving simmering angry voicemails with the Governor’s office and ranting about the dysfunctional broken health care system. As my husband calmly in the other room tracks down some ACTUAL possible solutions.) Ok, off to meet my friend for coffee and to unpack the emotional turmoil from dropping my daughter back at college the day before. No sooner do we have the lattés in hand, the friend gets the call. Time to pick up the cat up from the vet. This time there really is a cat in the story, and the damn thing wasn’t even sick or hurt – “it was sneezing”. Swear to God. So, she’s off out the door like a black Friday shopper (remember those?). I walk home alone. Next up – I get on the SCALE and weigh myself. Because that makes sense, right? Well, I won’t bore you with the details but there was a practical reason for it and it was now showing me 6 pounds heavier. (My husband tried to convince me it was my sweater). Add in 2 more other things that went equally bad and that brings us to 8pm when I threw myself on the sofa and turned it over to the Great British Baking Show for the rest of the night. Talk about resignation. Looking back, I do wonder why I actually had the expectation that it should all go well and according to plan. That somehow, I’m entitled to it because I did a few burpees, or if I were just a little more Oprah, I could avoid these – I don’t even know what to call them – “unfortunate events”, “things to be avoided”. Where does that little black box come from? The one I put myself in that feels like a straight jacket made of cactus quills. It’s a Monday. The sun rose. I’m not even entitled to that. I just expect it. How much else am I expecting? San Diego weather, Matt Damon for a spouse, business successes great and small, cooperative bureaucrats, healthy cats, magical scales, light sweaters… Perhaps its my expectations that may need a Monday morning adjustment. Have a good week. Be nice to cats.
You’ve been doing the same job for a long time. Whatever luster it once had, is long gone. Maybe it was never the right job for you. You start thinking about career change.
You go on vacation to a beautiful remote exotic location and you do yoga on the beach and you are in a state of euphoria and you conclude – “that’s it. I’m chucking it all, I’m moving to Bora Bora to teach beach yoga.”
Or you join a CrossFit gym and it’s all new and exciting and challenging, and you say, “That’s it. I’m chucking it all, and I’m going to be a CrossFit coach.”
Here’s the thing for career change -
liking an experience is not the same as being good at the SKILLS required for the JOB/TASK you need to perform.
Just because I like participating in CrossFit doesn’t mean I will be a good CrossFit coach. They are two different things completely.
Chucking it is a big deal. It’s disruptive, costly and does a number on your self-confidence because you’re doing something completely new and different.
In order for career change to work successfully, you need to be sure first – that the job/task you’re going to be doing is one that you’re actually good at – dare I say – genius at. Second, and only second, you need to determine the who you’re doing it for is something that you care about.
But that comes second, only after you figure out the first part, first.
I see people fall into this trap all the time; and it’s because they’re so eager to get out of the pain that they’re in now. I get it; it’s real. I’ve been there myself.
And you do want to take action. Life is short; there are no do overs or medals for sticking with a joyless endeavor for 40 years.
But set yourself up so you can be as successful as possible with the career change and so you’re not jumping from the frying pan to the fire.
Slow down, do your homework and make a transition that honors who you are at your essence and capitalizes on your strengths and what you do best, bringing those talents to the industries you care most about. How can you lose with that recipe?
Btw, if you want to discover some programs that guide you through this process, please check out some of my offerings.