I’ve come to understand that finding and doing work you love is a metaphor for living an enjoyable and sustainable life. And that may look different for you and for me. But some of the common elements I am aware of that constitute that include
- Balance – work and recreation
- Enough – to meet your needs
- Discovery –ever new joy in what you do and who you are.
So, even though I’ve spent over 30 years promoting the concept of and the importance of having meaningful work, it may not be for everyone. It’s amazing, isn’t it at mid-life how we are suddenly thrown into one of these whirlpools of spiraling energy that bring us new insights? And before we know it, (hopefully) we get spit out and land somewhat firmly on the nearest shore. At least that’s how it’s been for me lately. My work is shifting and yours should be too. In the middle of a transition career planning can be a great tool or not.
WHO SHOULD NOT DO CAREER PLANNING?
If you’re in the middle of a crises it’s awfully difficult to honestly assess your motives, desires and values because of the actual transition. Your crisis is more likely related to work, employment, life style changes, such as moves, changes in relationships and spiritual insights. Here’s a typical assessment question “do you prefer working alone or with others?” Simple, yes, but if you say, duh sure, both, you’re not getting to the heart of the question for you. You need to dig a little deeper beneath the surface. I know I enjoy mostly the ability to work alone, but I love collaborating for the fun of it and then going back to integrate some more.
Most likely the desired level of introspection won’t be possible or even that helpful. When we’re in crisis our core identity is being assailed. We have neither enough objectivity to be discerning or insightful enough to glean some increased awareness.
CAREER PLANNING ISN’T RIGHT FOR YOU IF YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO STABILIZE YOURSELF IN THE AFTERMATH OF A LIFE CRISIS.
I’m thinking of Samantha, a young woman who had taken on a stressful job as a bright young woman who believes “she can have it all”. She had recently managed to reposition herself within the company, after a medical leave, and was now in charge of a BIG project. Any time we take on a new project we are putting ourselves in a stressful situation. In addition, she was still recovering from the previous events that had created the initial leave. Could she benefit from Career and Life Planning.? Of course, but not now. She’s already got a full plate. So think about “what do you need to take care of NOW to clear the decks of your life? .. in order to have more of what you want. Once she has the project under control, there may be some time for reflection. I look forward to working with her then.
GOOD CAREER PLANNING IS AN INVESTMENT IN YOURSELF. ARE YOU WORTH IT?
And finally, there are those who think if you throw enough money at a problem it will go away. Right? So for one person the exercises in the Career Self assessment process, represented yet one more “to-do” that required her being a “good girl” and just getting them done, to secure my approval. Not surprisingly, she didn’t report much insight beyond the immediate responses to most of the questions. So when it came time to pull it all together, she balked. It frightened her to think she might be “this close” to being more content and she wasn’t ready. Not Ready to take the risk, to leap empty -handed into the void as e.e.cummings wrote. It saddens me to think of her, but I honor her choice.
Everything she tried and loved and card about passionately (writing gardening, public spaces, sustainable environments, effective political activism, family, spirit and community) had not met her own expectations nor had she received the kind of recognition she wanted. Together they spelled FAILURE, and she just wasn’t ready to let that familiar feeling go.
So looking at the wants and needs of the ideal client to benefit from Career and Life Work Planning, I would say this:
- You have a LONGING to find your true Path
- You are committed to achieving fulfillment and making a living
- You respond enthusiastically to self inquiry and creative visualization
- You believe in yourself and have faith in your unique reason for being here.
Is it for you?