The Career Coach is In

Never too late to find job you love

Question:

I am good at my job and have been doing it or 20 years, but I'm beginning to think it's not the work I should be doing. Should I do anything about that, or have I spent too much time in this career to throw it away?

Answer:

You are writing to a career counselor, so you know I am going to say that finding work you love is important, right? After all, that's my job.

But even if I weren't a career counselor, I'd still have the same view, because life is too short and our gifts too precious, to waste.

Let's take those in turn. Twenty years in one career is a warm-up these days. If you start work after college, and retire at 65 (looking less and less likely these days, for a host of reasons), you are going to be pulling in a paycheck for the better part of 43 years. Even after 20 years, you still have MORE time left in your career than you have already spent. If it takes you three years to make a change, your new, happier career will still have given you 20 years of joy. Why wouldn't you want to do something about that? As we are living longer, many people are starting new careers in their fifties, sixties, even seventies. If you are in your forties, you'll be way ahead of these people.

But beyond doing it for yourself, I can make a really good argument that languishing in a so-so job is tremendously selfish. You are taking your gifts and stuffing them in the closet. You are helping your children to learn that they should do the same. No matter how many times you tell them that they should do something that makes them happy, they won't believe it unless they see you do it. If your spouse, partner or significant other loves what they do, you are leeching their pleasure in work through your indifference to your own work. And no matter how well you think you hide it, the people in your life perceive that your life force isn't fully available to them. The sadness, boredom and depression are corrosive, and it eats away, slowly, at everything around you.

There is so much in life that we cannot control. What we do for a living is something that is ours to decide and I encourage you to take seriously that sense that this is no longer the right job for you.

By

Karen Chopra

 |  February 8, 2010; 9:04 AM ET  |  Category:  Career Change Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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