Five ways to stop drifting and find a new career direction
Q. After several months of feeling terribly uncomfortable with my profession, I left my job and gave myself time to review my options.
But now I do not have clear goals. I drift from one idea to the next. How can I define my personal life goals?
A. We've all read about people who took time off to wrestle with a knotty question.
They become desert hermits, go on long quests or just take long walks with or without their dogs.
Some report getting flashes of vision and insight. Others return home, tired, hungry and cold, with visions of hot chocolate far more vivid than visions of life purpose.
So how do people really figure out what they want to do?
First: Prepare to live with chaos for awhile.
One week, we want to go on pilgrimage to the east; the following week, we're considering returning to school for a law degree. This confusion seems to be an essential aspect of change, not a reason.
Second: Forget about chasing your goals the way a cat chases a mouse.
Believe it or not, serious career researchers, following respected mainstream methods, find that
serendipity plays a role in almost everyone's career change.
Third: Stay active.
You investigate one option. Then you consider another. It's two steps forward, one step back, and a job to the side. But if nothing's happening, you won't have a zig to use as a base for your next zag.
Fourth: Take care of the basics.
Panic can be the enemy of insight. Find a less-than-ideal income source to keep afloat during the
Fifth: Partner with mentors and experts, but hang on to your power.
Talking to others can rekindle a fire that's gone out or overcome discouragement. But ultimately you find your new direction, which should emerge from your own actions and ideas.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals gain and re-gain career power.
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