"My job is 'beige'."
That's how a client recently began her first session with me.
As you might imagine, her descriptive statement began an interesting discussion about how she perceived her work. Despite many friends thinking she had the ideal job, my client admitted that she felt flat about it. You know--kind of how you'd see "beige" in a rainbow of possibilities.
The fact is, if you’re not interested in your work, terrific benefits, great compensation or prestige aren’t likey to change your attitude. Furthermore, feedback from others about how wonderful they think your job is can diminish your inner voice that says, "This job is not for me". When external messages conflict with internal ones, you may feel stuck and at an impasse about what to do.
The essential step in this case is to focus on the inner messages and sort out which are accurate and which ones are merely assumptions. For example, you may be wondering about a new job or career and when an idea comes to mind, you assume it won't pay well or be flexible enough for your needs. Then poof! goes this possibility, deflated by assumptions that may not hold true in the real world.
If a particular idea keeps coming back to you, you should evaluate it in the following ways:
- Be clear about your criteria for your career or work transition including what you want in a work environment; skills to emphasize, topics or areas of the marketplace that interest you; compensation and benefits; and desired work culture.
- Do research on the option and determine whether or not it has the potential to fit what you want. (Typically, you’ll get the most accurate information from people who are doing the job.)
- Set up informational meetings with several people who do this type of work so you’ll have an accurate picture of it from which to make a decision.
Why not begin by asking yourself, "What color is my job?" Then consider what that color conveys about your current feelings and whether or not you need to make a change in your work life.
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