Max is the kind of guy who’s capable but not driven at his job. His interests lie elsewhere and sometimes in more places than one. Max complains and thinks he needs to quit this rat race every single day of his life and yet low and behold, even through increasingly less stellar reviews and moderate promotions, he is still stuck at the same job for years.
You see, Max isn’t unhappy enough to leave and his employers, while not being exactly thrilled with his performance, don’t see enough reason to go to the trouble and expense of replacing him.
Max can’t leave this job because of a couple of reasons:
- He doesn’t know exactly what he would do instead of this job
- Max is scared he would never find anything that would pay as much as this job
- He’s comfortable where he is and is ok with waiting for the weekends to start
Does this sound like you or someone else you know?
More than ever in the history of mankind, what I call re-careers are happening today. This is the phenomenon of starting a brand new career after establishing one’s self for sometimes decades in a completely separate one.
A research conducted by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) in the UK found that a fifth of office-based graduate men are currently considering a career change with 55 per cent saying they will do so in the future. The biggest reason for this is that the majority of respondents have a partner who would be able to support them during the transition.
In Po Bronson’s bestseller “What Should I Do with My Life?” The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question (Random House, January 2003), he identifies several insights about making the move to a more rewarding career.
The first is that money doesn’t really have much to do with the right re-career choice. It has to do with what is really important to your heart. As in the case of Don Linn, who left investment banking after he came home from a business trip and his two-year-old son didn’t recognize him.
Another point Bronson makes is that the more capabilities you have, the harder it can be to decide where your heart lies. Take Lori Gottlieb, a rising television executive in Hollywood who did every career aptitude test in the world and decided to become a physician based on the fact that she loved doing puzzles as a child. She later dropped out after several months of schooling when she discovered she didn’t like being around sick people!
In the end, Bronson states that your beliefs are your biggest obstacles to change. He notes that people are ashamed of even seriously considering transitioning to a re-career when they have a perfectly good life. Their fears and limiting beliefs keep them from dream careers.
Such as in the case of Leela de Souza who knew she wanted to become a dancer from the age of 15 and through a belief that she had more brains than to become just a dancer, spent years and a fortune training to be a high tech PR executive. She then discovered that she wasn’t happy and would never be again until she embraced her calling of dancing.
The real question I ask as a coach is what can you do if you’re someone like Leela or Max? You have several options:
- Do nothing; you’ll retire in 20 years anyway
- Get some help to make the transition
- Make the transition on your own and hope for the best
As it happens, I’m the perfect example of a re-career.
A 12 year corporate veteran in the field of marketing, I always found myself gravitating to Organizational Development books and courses. Then I discovered a field called “Professional Coaching”, a form of self-guided consulting offered to both business professionals and individuals to get them to achieve their goals faster than they would on their own.
So I did the most logical thing I could think of to help me re-career and hired a coach based on a friend’s referral. Knowing a little about credentialing, I made sure that my coach was fully certified and trained in corporate coaching.
Like Max, there were many things holding me back:
- I believed I had to leave my current job to re-career
- I was scared about stories from other coaches who ate Mac and cheese for two years while waiting for more clients to show up
- I didn’t want to travel much and I heard in the industry, traveling was expected
- I loved marketing and the company I was with
- Lastly, I believed that if my employer found out about my re-career ambitions, I’d be let go
My coach and I worked for four months before I saw that most of my fears were unfounded and together we built a new reality for me where I now have two careers that simultaneously compliment each other.
I am a better manager because of my coaching skills and I’m a better business coach because of my marketing expertise.
For me, it was and is possible to have the best of both worlds.
Two years ago, I was Max. Today, I’m a certified business coach with a growing list of raving clients. I am not finished with this story though, I’m currently enrolled in Advanced Corporate Coaching programs and will continue to certify to higher credentials until I can help even more managers make their dreams come true.
What’s holding you back? Let’s talk…
With kindness as always,