“What did you dream about doing when you were a child?” When someone asked you “what do you want to be when you grow up?” what did you say?
As a career counsellor, I often want to ask this question to new clients, as a way to get them telling a story that is easy and fun to tell about themselves. But for those I work with who are mostly in mid-career, who feel frustrated with the status quo yet confused about how to start making positive career shifts, the question might be too much to ask. Here’s the kind of story I usually hear at the beginning of our sessions:
“I used to love my work. Now I’m burned out. What happened?”
“I really just fell into my first job and ten years went by.”
“I used to think this work was creative. Is it me who changed or the job?”
“It used to be a great job. Stable income. Decent work. Now, I wish I’d left years ago. “
It’s a story of being stuck, feeling somewhat helpless, wanting to change but ambivalent about risking any trade-offs. Still, underneath it all, I can sense a deep yearning. Yearning for purpose, passion, motivation and all the other things that a dream promises. So I don’t want to deny anyone their dream. It’s a matter of timing, and building up some confidence to trust themselves that they can locate a dream again, one that matters today.
One of the concepts I work with is the Map and the Compass. It’s a metaphor that came from Steve O’Donahue’s book about navigating change, captured in his own story of crossing the Sahara called Shifting Sands.( http://www.amazon.ca/Shifting-Sands-Guidebook-Crossing-Deserts/dp/1576752801). He offers the image of a desert as a more realistic way of capturing the experience of change and risk taking, rather than the more common image of climbing the mountain. Continue reading
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA