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Surviving Career Purgatory

I have spoken to quite a few people recently who have become restless with regards to their careers. They could probably be quite successful in any number of careers but as usual, the more options presented makes it harder to decide which road to go down. I call this ‘career purgatory’ because you feel you’re not moving forward, just held rudderless and forced to reflect on your life. I felt like this for a long time so thought I’d recount parts of my journey and share the insights I found. If it helps someone feeling a tad deficient with regards to their career, then I’m honoured to help.

I once started the ‘perfect career’ that would have see me inspired and indulged by a sense of reward and fulfillment. The reality was somewhat different. That door closed and it was painful but what opened before me was something bigger – the start of an adventure that would see me develop personally, reposition the goal posts and rediscover what exactly got me excited about life again. Throughout this period of growth the destination ahead was never clear so all I allowed myself to do was to just be present and enjoy the ride until I achieved clarity.

Temping was a great ‘foster home’ whilst I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I took this time to engage with people from various industries to see where my skills and interests could possibly be combined. I attended conferences and networking functions to learn more about the things I was interested in and found that it was the people I met and meeting people generally that ignited my excitement. I made an effort to spend time doing things that enriched me like taking short stints abroad, spending time with family, spending time alone. I reflected, wrote and discovered.

Working with my temporary team that I admired and respected and who appreciated me in return was nourishing. I was happy to wake up for work. I started taking to a colleague from another department who restructured my thoughts on the idea of a “perfect career”. In my haste to not make another career mistake I was adamant on finding the perfect job which ‘ticked all the boxes’. In defining what I wanted, I was actually limiting myself. He said I didn’t have to be a ‘360 degree person’ in my next job. A job cannot give you everything. Other areas of my life can fill in the gaps to enable total intellectual fulfillment. This was somewhat of a revelation for me. I had to understand this before I finally found my perfect career.

Changing careers can be like a re-birth in a ‘re-incarnation’ sort of way. One is re-born countless times and though the core essence of your soul remains the same, it’s in a progressive state of evolution. Sometimes your job or career may meet an untimely death. You can’t fathom why it happened, and it can be hard to adjust to the change. You’re forced to dwell in ‘career purgatory’ and reflect on everything you’ve learned thus far whilst planning your next step – your next life. There may be something much bigger that you need to achieve in this uncomfortable limbo period, or indeed on your next role. Starting over is a rare opportunity to paint a blank canvas again – the way you want to. The picture may very well turn into a masterpiece.

A special thank you to my “temporarily temporary colleagues” who were part of this journey, you’ve become my permanent friends.

Seeing change as an opportunity is the only way to weather the change storm

1 comment

1 Arzu { 04.06.15 at 7:04 am }

Oh yeah, fauuolbs stuff there you!

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