Got a Career Hangover?
I call the first few weeks of January ‘Career Hangover WEEK’. You know, when all the fun of the holiday parties and the sitting around and watching the tree while your out-of-office response merrily deals with your workload is past…and you find yourself right back where you started. Stuck in a job that you want out of, but there’s no end in sight.
I know that feeling soooooo well. There were many January 2nd’s in my career where I spent a lot of time wishing and hoping that somehow I’d wake up and a fairy godmother would wave of her wand and I’d end up independently wealthy, sitting by the pool wearing a tiara, and lazily gesturing for the (very cute) cabana boy to come over and refill my adult beverage already.
She looked a little like this
ANYway, I kept asking myself: “What do I want to be when I grow up?” and I had this feeling that maybe one day it would just happen (“This year!” I’d promise myself in another fruitless new year’s resolution). I kept believing that one day I’d be all grown up and in a perfect job I loved. I’d be finished.
Thinking about it now, I want to slap my younger self and ask: “What were you THINKING?”
Here’s the thing that I know now to be true: You NEVER stop growing, evolving or changing, and because of that – neither do your passions. So, if you are struggling with your personal version of career hangover day, and you are ready to figure out what to be when you grow up (or where to go next), the first thing to do is try. Try anything. Do it on the side, but do something because…
There is no ONE right perfect answer to your passion questions. (Here’s an article if you believe you don’t have a passion). Of course, you are probably thinking: “Easy for you to say Christie, you made it out of your job hell and to the other side.”
And the answer is, yes, I did. But the truth is that it was a process that was both fun and challenging and I took two steps backward for every step forward, but it took action and support to get anywhere. First I tried opening my own mediation firm while I was consulting, it was called “Phoenix Resolutions” and had a cool phoenix/fire image. We “solved problems” for “people” (shockingly, we didn’t make it past the business card stage). And I realized I didn’t like not having a clue so then I tried starting a dating business (It was going to be called Politically Incorrect Dating. A reflection of my long time in DC :)). But that was a poorly thought out idea and I wanted something less costly up front so I tried blogging. Which I loved, but it wasn’t a concrete enough service for me.
So then I tried teaching leadership which was a service (“tried” means had a lot of planning-style happy hours but no actual action), and then I found coaching, and then I thought about being a date coach, and THEN I went into career coaching after finally seeing the “OOOHHHH that makes sense” light in front of my eyes (All of these were side projects by the way before the beginning of the RevClub, I still consulted the entire time). Are you tired yet?
Now, the way that I did it was crazy, but I share this with you because I wanted to make my point: Each thing took me forward and gave me insight into what I wanted to do next, and what I DIDN’T want to do. The stuff I was most interested in I kept learning about (blogging/coaching) and the stuff I was least interested in/doing for the wrong reasons dropped off quickly (mediation firm/date coach).
So, your task list:
- Step 1: I want you to write down all of the things that you currently like doing, have an interest in, find yourself reading about, or are curious about.
- Step 2: Pick the top two, and find someone to help you learn about it. A mentor. A coach. A teacher. A career co-conspirator. Someone who has time for a quick coffee. Whoever it is, I want you to connect with someone else. Don’t stress over where to begin, just start somewhere and cross something off the list if you don’t like it. Saying no now does not mean saying no forever. Most importantly: Interaction with real people can inspire you in a way that books or google cannot. (Need help finding a mentor? Here’s how!)
- Step 3: DO STEP 2. In each of the random jobs I listed above, I always had help. I had an amazing business partner in City Girls World. I had two partners in the leadership academy. I had three coaches assigned to me in the coaching program, and I had the support and advice of tons of people to carry me through. I’d like to pretend I was awesome enough to do it alone, but as Malcolm Gladwell has told us repeatedly in the book Outliers, no success is solo. We ALL need help.
- Step 4: Rinse and repeat. This is important, because it’s really hard to miss a meeting with someone else, but it’s so easy to put off a meeting with yourself, right? Having more people in your life will help your motivation and accountability (and build your network. Neat, right?).
And be careful, because the biggest thing holding you back right now might be the seductive voice whispering in your ear that you can’t do anything, that you’ll fail, that no one does THAT, that people don’t want what you have, that you don’t have the skills.
Don’t listen to that voice. Keep learning, trying and growing. You can do this! Want to find your passion but don’t know how? Click here for a fun FREE and easy guide to finding work you love.