As a professional career counselor, I have been a practicing for almost 20 years now, and my clients have taught me a lot about authentic personal and professional development. Many of them reach a crossroads at the mid-life stage. Often they feel bored, directionless and unfocused. They know they need to make some kind of change, but simply do not know how to get out of their current situation and move forward.
Typically, my clients find the most meaning when they are making a difference. Finding your passion is a critical part of the 3-step career development process. As a professional career counselor, my role is to carefully guide a individual through these 3 stages: 1) Self-Assessment – Who am I?, 2) Career Exploration – Where am I going?, and 3) Action Plan – How do I get there?. From the initial meeting, this process typically takes five to seven weeks. In other words, you have a “crock-pot career in a microwave world.”
Unfortunately, some one in mid-life might think the quick fix to finding career satisfaction is to change jobs immediately. Misguided and sometimes impulsive, these people usually wind up unhappy in another job. By investing in the self-assessment and goal setting phases, you will avoid making poor career choices. Most Americans spend more time planning their weekends than planning for their career. Having initiated this process, you will not fall into this trap. Instead, by setting specific and realistic goals you will live a more purpose-driven life.
Begin by making a commitment to the process of self-assessment. By working collaboratively with a professional such as a career counselor or life coach, assessment inventories can be interpreted to more thoroughly evaluate your VIPS (Values, Interest, Personality Traits and Skills). Next, you can explore your options and narrow your options down to your top three to five jobs. Finally, you can develop an action plan that works for you.
Career counseling involves an active partnership between the client and the professional. It is essential that you ask yourself questions about the process whenever they arise. Career counseling can have benefits and risks. It often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life and you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness. It is perfectly normal to feel this way. However, the benefits of a more satisfying work life will be well worth the time and effort you put into it.
I wish you total success in accomplishing your personal, professional and play goals in mid-life and beyond.
Copyright 2011, Dr. Thomas J. Denham, Careers In Transition LLC – Albany.com – Friday, February 24, 2011