Does Your Career Change Itch or Burn?

By Patricia Soldati

It's tough to make a significant shift in your working life unless there is a burning desire to change. You must clearly visualize the personal gain you see for yourself at the end of the career-change rainbow - and it must be greater than the pain of staying in place.

Two weeks ago, I received a newsy email from a former client. Dan gave me the scoop on his life and new love, and ended by saying that while work had improved, he was feeling the itch again to go after career change. He would soon give me a call for some personal coaching sessions.

I replied nicely to all his news, and on the itch, I said: "Call me when it's a burn."

Why this tough love response?

I meet scores of professionals who are unhappy with their work. In almost seven years, I've never seen an individual make a significant shift unless there is a burning desire to change. You must have a clear articulation of the personal gain you see for yourself at the end of the career-change rainbow - and this personal gain must be greater than the pain of staying in place. I didn't want Dan to waste his time, energy, or for that matter, money.

So, how do you know if you're feeling an itch or a burn?

Itches are usually situational. A confrontation with a fellow worker…a poor performance review…a disagreement with your boss…environmental stress. Itches create lots of smoke, like "I can't wait to get out of here." or "This is it. I'm leaving." But no focused action towards change.

And these "reaction" moments are often followed by patches where work is really okay - an interesting project in the works, shared good feelings. In other words, the motivation to change is externally driven. It waxes and wanes based on what is happening in one's environment. All of us have career itches at one time or another.

Burns go much deeper. They are itches that don't go away…they've been around for a long time (a year or more)…and they have wrenched your value system to the point that:

1. You can no longer compartmentalize work vs. life.
2. You find it almost impossible (maybe even terrifying) to drag yourself out of bed on Monday mornings.
3. You go through the motions at work - your feelings are completely disconnected from your work activities.
4. Your energy hits the skids; you get sick a lot or have difficulty shaking a common cold.
5. You may feel hopeless or a little (or a lot) depressed.

It's a significant difference, don't you agree?

Itchers have a quite a few avenues for regaining their balance - setting firmer workplace boundaries, finding a fulfilling outlet outside of work, engaging in physical and emotional self-care that allows you to better shrug things off.

Burners - you can do these things, too, but it's probably not your ultimate fix. A value system torn asunder is only mended when there is a re-alignment between body, mind and spirit. For burners, career change is not an option - it's a requirement.

Take some time off to re-gain your energy and perspective. In this more relaxed state, figure out how to get some help. Your Employee Assistance Plan? Mentor or understanding colleague? Initially, don't try to solve the entire problem - just map out a few next steps and give yourself a timetable. Your world will brighten simply as a result of putting yourself in choice and action.

Patricia Soldati is a former President & COO of a national finance organization who re-invented her working life in 1999. As a career fulfillment specialist, she helps corporate professionals enhance their working lives - both by staying within the organization - and by leaving it behind. To receive her 5-lesson complimentary eCourse on career change, visit http://www.purposefulwork.com/articlelandpage.html

 


 
Search LifeTools for Women:

Free Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe now! Join women from around the world and get FREE tips delivered to your inbox weekly,

 


Judy Rushfeldt, Publisher


 

Reach Your Dreams!

Making Your Dreams
Your Destiny

by Judy Rushfeldt

 

 

ABOUT LIFETOOLS FOR WOMEN

CONTACT US

LIFETOOLS
STORE

SEMINARS
& WEBINARS

ABOUT
JUDY RUSHFELDT

LINKS

About Lifetools
Privacy Policy
Re-print Policy

How to reach us
Writer Submissions
Advertising

Books
E-Books
CDs
DVDs

Seminars
Webinars
Keynotes

 

About the Author

 Family & Relationship
 Health
 Spirit
 Money & Career
 Fitness & Diet
 Personal Growth & Success
 Fashion & Beauty
 Justice Matters

 

RETURN TO TOP