My friend Peter recently underwent a serious operation that has improved dramatically his ability to function under the strain of a chronic illness. He took a leave of absence from the job he’s had for almost a decade while he recuperated. How he’s returned to work a different man. His body functions in new ways and his attitude has changed. Peter is not the same man who got the job years ago and he’s finding it difficult to adjust. He’s more aware of the reasons why he went after this kind of work, the motivators that kept him in this job, and the fact that in some ways, his work is sabotaging the new way he sees himself. Peter is redefining himself and pushing the envelope of his life.
We’re all pretty familiar with career changes that we or friends have gone through. Regular shifting from one kind of job to another within a field or changing fields altogether has become a way of life. It’s a very different experience from growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s when we were urged to pick a long-term career goal, prepare for it in college or grad school, and stay with it for a lifetime, just as many of our fathers had done. We got jobs that seemed to suit us and we stayed with them come hell or high water because we let them define us.
Today more people are first defining themselves and then seeking a career to fit who they are. And as we shift our interior identities and come to a deeper understanding of the complexities of our personalities, we are more apt to change jobs and careers to find a better fit.
This change in perspective whereby we seek employment as an expression of our selves, rather than seeking an identity from our employment is a dramatic change from past practices. Yet many still remain unreflective concerning how they are changing, and blame outside influences, and even long-term relationships, for holding them back. Change means growth and we either grow consciously or have to play catch up.
What about your career/job stories? In retrospect what are the shifts that actually took place in your personal growth that led to career change? What are the areas of growth and change you are now experiencing and need to be more conscious of? Where do you dream of working down the line; what might be your perfect career? Don’t be surprised when the shift takes place.
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