Career Change Help: What I missed in my early career

Career Change Help: What I missed in my early career

I wish I knew in my teens what I know now about career change help, the process of discovering or creating what would be the best fit for me in terms of work. I wish I had taken advantage of the resources that would have assisted me in getting clearer on who I was and where I wanted to go.

For the most part, looking back, I would say that I fell into dentistry as a career choice. I had no idea what I wanted to be throughout my high school and university years. Dentistry ended up as a default choice after dismissing careers that didn't appeal to me - I didn't want to go into my father's dress business; nor did I want to be a physician, an accountant, a lawyer or be a businessman. I knew I wanted to be a "professional".

Ah! What was left was dentistry. I was always interested in health and fitness; I couldn't see myself working for someone else; I liked the idea of being a "professional" and dentistry could provide me with a good income.

I had a number of things going against me - I didn't have good eye-hand coordination; the thought of being a dentist didn't send shivers down my spine and one last minor point- I had just had a corneal transplant.

In spite of these factors. I was very happy to have received my degree, D.D.S. and start a practice. However, my heart told me that I wouldn't be practicing for long.

Sure enough, after ten years of running a dental practice and not enjoying it, I needed to have a corneal transplant of my other eye. It was the perfect "out" for me. I was relieved and scared. I sold my practice. What was I going to do next? I had invested twenty years of my life into this profession!

At that time (1981), I came across What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. It transformed the way I related to identifying or creating what kind of work most connected to me. It offered an "inside out" rather than an "outside in" approach. Instead of seeing how I could fit into some form of work "out there," I could see that it was more effective to have some form of work "out there," fit with what's "in here" - my skills, values, vision, and what I most enjoyed doing. The book was the career change help that set me on a "path with heart".

I also was smart in that I got some career change help in working with a career counselor, who supported me through the Bolles' process outlined in his book.

I've since transitioned into five different careers, all using the skills I most enjoy using and all giving me a greater sense of fulfilment.


Being in integrity with oneself is vital

Now, as an executive coach, the majority of the clients I work with mostly fifty plus years old, who aren't in "integrity" with themselves. What I mean is that their work isn't really an expression of who they are - their gifts, talents, interests and what gives them fulfillment. They've settled for something less.

Often, what I hear in our conversations is that they would benefit from career change help (the link will take you to a page dealing with midlife changes - a time when career change help could be very useful.) Midlife is a time of transition. It's not uncommon for one's livelihood to be questioned. Career change help can make all the difference!


Use Effective Resources

Upgrade your job search skills by taking an online training program. The HuntingToHired program includes eight step-by-step courses that take you through every step of the job-seeking process. All told, there are over a 100 pages of text content (with audio narration available), over 4 hours of interviews with experts (with transcripts available), plus worksheets, tools, and forum access to the instructor! Although geared for younger job seekers, it provides valuable career change help and advice for anyone re-entering the job market or changing careers.


My Recommendations

• Assess for yourself whether your work is fulfilling. What does your "heart" tell you? Even if your work is fulfilling, there may be something new that you may want to take on.

• If you're questioning yourself in this matter, I highly recommend you hire a coach, who specializes in career change help. It's very powerful to have someone in "your corner", supporting you through this process. You'll be in a better place to determine if a career change is for you.

• Identify a group of people like yourself who may be going through a career change and meet with them regularly. Create your own group if you can't find one to join.

• Share yourself with the people you know. Let them know that you're going through a career change and what that experience is like.

• Check out Secrets of Successful Self-Employment by Paul and Sarah Edwards. I'm a big fan of their work.

Dr. Fred


Listen to this

lively conversation between Dr. Frank and myself about career change help.
To hear other interviews and to subscribe to our podcast
visit our midlife crisis coping podcast page.

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