Millions of people are solidly on the path to redefining job security, once thought to be a life dedicated to one employer or work role. In these days of “precarious employment” (Dr. Bluestein of Boston College) many take contract work, go back to school, start part-time to gain entry to full time, find a side hustle, grow a business or work two jobs just to make it. Dr. Bluestein’s advice: Consider work unaffected by technological advances, for example in fields that draw on “caring and creativity.”
Find your own rhythm and style as you plan and tackle tasks that support you to be your best. Experiment with regular ways to begin and end your day. Giving things a consistent place in your schedule eliminates the number of decisions you make on a daily basis and opens up space in your brain for higher-level thinking. Eliminate that out of control feeling or the stress of trying to please others. Putting yourself in charge of divvying up what needs to be done and when-instead of relying on others for direction is life changing. It’s like becoming your own boss.
My clients often acknowledge a need for more structure but struggle to set it up. They’re overwhelmed with the decisions that need to be made to keep a career exploration or job search process alive and feel they’re not making progress. Priorities are hard to see. There’s a sense that time is slipping away and opportunities are slipping through the cracks. Juggling the needs of others alongside their own is problematic and many feel they could get more done if they could just get to it.
What is a social or impact entrepreneur you ask? They are people who apply existing or bring new business models to bear on social and environmental issues once seen as the sole territory of non-profits. The possible pathways for this potent mix of business tools and dedication to a cause to unfold are unlimited, wildly creative and not always predictable.
Many people I talk with want careers helping others, but don’t know what to do exactly. It’s a frustrating puzzle; the desire is there without a clear focus. There may even be deep angst over a lost sense of meaning in life that will only be restored if one’s cause is revealed. Whether you have a vague notion or half-baked idea, this is how the journey to define purpose usually begins.
Explore meaningful work to realize more of your potential and build a new way of living and working in community.
Human beings want to feel effective, useful to others in some way; it’s our nature. Often there’s a feeling of something missing at work. But what is missing? And what can you do about it?
Shortly after I began career counseling, with the intent of helping people create a deeper, more satisfying direction in their work lives, I noticed a pattern. My clients were not expecting the need for anything beyond a bit of career testing, my expert advise and a new resume. The need for a transition process had not occurred to them.
Life changes begin with an ending that is sometimes planned, often not and takes time to process. As endings can be difficult we often try avoiding the reality of what has happened, but this only makes it harder to let go and move on.
Career counseling clients looking to work for a values/community-based organization and earn a decent living are often stumped. They think they must choose between a non-profit whose mission they believe in and not make any money, or sell out their values to earn a better wage. When I’ve asked folks over the past few months if they knew about social entrepreneurism, a hybrid of business and non-profit zeal for social, economic and environmental change, all but one said “no.”
In the world of career counseling we are aware of the power of parental modeling when it comes to things like career choices and patterns, and work ethics.
All of a sudden, you’re clearer about your best career ideas and choices. Your exploratory process is starting to pay off. You’re beginning to feel good about the options and possibilities you’ve created. Even though there are questions still, enough is figured out that there are plausible steps to take for weeks, and hope is running high.
What’s the career question that’s bugging you the most right now? Can you name it and then possibly write it down?
Have you ever hit a wall trying to figure out your career or path in self-employment? You have an idea or two about what you’d like to do, but you’re just not sure, then you get stuck there. What to do? Explore.
When was the last time you sat down with someone who could answer your questions about a career path? A career you are exploring in hopes of connecting with people who share your vision and passion, people who are doing the work you would love to be involved with, given a chance.