Author Archives: savagezen

Get ready to merge…

This is my first mobile post as I’m at the airport headed to a two month consulting gig. Tomorrow I will work my first full day in about 13 months. I’m generally excited about it though last night I was feeling anxious- I think- or something close to anxiety. I’m not sure why. I think it’s mostly because the gig is in another city, away from my husband and our pup. Or it could be that this job is completely different than what I’ve done before at a company much smaller and in a very different industry than I’ve worked before. But that generally excites me (I think). I’m ready to get started! (I think 🙂

I don’t know if this is a ‘turning point’ in my search. What makes me more nervous (anxious, scared, freaked out…) is what if it’s not a turning point but just another dead end. I can’t think that way. And so I won’t make this a big deal (deep breath…) It’s just another stepping stone in the search and another adventure to have in life.

The thorns in the road less traveled

I read an awesome quote today that read something like- “two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled… and boy did it hurt! rocks, thorns, I even lost my pants!”

I had to laugh. I have loved the real phrase for so long and hoped to be the one that took the road less traveled. In the past I have been mostly glad. I feel that often in the past I was rewarded with what I wanted- a different experience, an interesting story or a good outcome. However, I am having a hard time with this current endeavor at career change and agreeing that seeking work where you feel like you are in fact “tap dancing” to work is the good way to go at this stage in life (i.e. mid career).

I used to think that people didn’t seek their true passions because they were afraid, because they needed a middle class income, because they made up all these restrictions in their heads. I still think that is true but I now see the downside in trying to find your true passion. It’s possible that you take too long to find it (or never find it) and so you’ve missed out on building an expertise in something mediocre for the wish to find that which truly motivates you. I thought that if one looked one would be certain to find. I still hope that is true but I also want to be good at something, not just moving from “interest” to “interest” and in the end being excellent at nothing. This is important to me because all my personality tests say that I enjoy feeling very knowledgeable and an expert in my “area”, meaning line of work. Perhaps, I wonder, if I had not sought the career change I could have just focused on achieving the “very knowledgeable” status in my prior field and that would have been fulfilling enough. As it stands now, I have neither the advanced knowledge in a field I kind of care about nor do I have the work in a field that I love.

So, there are more risks to the road less traveled than just income or what people will think of you. I didn’t even think I was veering that far off the path– I’m getting too old for that much adventure! There are real risks of ending up nowhere, in an open field with nothing around and double guessing yourself while others go along their perhaps boring but well trodden path; but at least they know where they are going. Mostly I fear going about in circles and ending up where I started and for all that effort I got neither the adventure I sought nor the outcome I envisioned. Maybe this means making the circle very, very big, like in The Alchemist. If you haven’t read it, give it a try. The way I’m bumming out, seems like I should read it again.

Kitten-lost-in-the-woods-1

Some tools to get you started

A friend recently asked me to tell her what might help her figure out what she wanted to do next in her career. Considering how confused I am about that question and how spectacularly I seem to be failing at my own career change, I found it surprising that she would ask me. But I guess, while I don’t have the answer, I HAVE done a good amount of reading on the subject. I spent some time searching for the materials that stand out in my mind as inspirational or helpful. I figured I would share these here.

First, watch this Ted talk by Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career. I really believe that many of us fall in to the traps that he points out. We think they are obstacles and many times they are just excuses

a brief guide to world domination and Chris Guillebeau’s website generally is wonderful to open your mind to possibilities. Live a life that will truly exhilarate you. Living in a wealthy country that is at peace, where most of us can meet our essential needs (food, health, shelter), we have the opportunity to create a life true to ourselves. I find this is harder to do than it seems. It’s hard to be creative and to truly let go of the perceived barriers we grew up assuming are fixed when they are just self imposed limitations.

Next, I like Paul Myer’s Simple System to Achieve Your Goals. The book and worksheets are free. I didn’t do many of them but I am thinking I’m going to go back now that I am less jaded (…I think). 

If you want something quicker, try these Fast Exercises to Find Your Purpose and Passion for Work.

Careershifters is a good website for inspiring stories and nice articles.

And, not related directly to career change, but a great site I have loved to see flourish over the past five years is tiny budda. It will help you find your zen in many of life’s challenges. 

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that, even if you look and are willing to take the risks, you may not quickly find what you are looking for. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth the search. I have to hope that it’s worth it to keep looking and that when you get there it will have been worth the journey in order to live a life with a purpose individual to each. Haven’t gotten there, so can’t say for sure. In the meantime, continuing to search.

A small adventure awaits….I think

I’ve been gone a while. For a bit I was dreading the accountability. I didn’t achieve my smart goals. All the things I “should have” been doing give me acid in my stomach. And every so often, they feel natural, just every so often. Anyway…I have news… 🙂

I’ve received a verbal offer for a two month “trial” period for what I believe to be an exciting operational finance related position. Its a different type of company than I’m used to– a rag tag, small startup- in another city but I’m willing to try it. I think it might be fun. As this opportunity rolled in, after a few months of waiting for them to get back to me, I was working on another exciting opportunity at another startup working on an online product. Both these things happened at once and to make it more busy a third interview cam my way for an entirely different opportunity in private wealth that I have decided not to pursue for now.

Perhaps my diverse opportunities exemplify my confusion on what I want to do “when I grow up”. I’m past 35 so perhaps this is not a good thing. No matter. I will try to be as excited about a clean slate as I was in my 20s. I remember the butterflies in my belly, partly from excitement and partly from fear. These days, those butterflies are mostly fear but I have to find a way to turn them into excitement. Perhaps I am finally getting this career change on the road. I surely hope so. I’m ready to get going!

 

Excuses

SMART GOALS:

Networking emails sent= 0 out of goal of 10

Job Applications sent = 0 out of goal of 10

I have all kinds of excuses for this– no point sending out an application if I don’t really want it, “networking” is so murky and unrewarding it’s hard to want to do it, I’m waiting to “want” to do it, if only it wasn’t so lonely/unrewarding/uncomfortable/boring/unstructured….

I guess I have had 2 long phone conversations that should be considered “networking” and I have been researching a new industry. I also wrote an update email. Definitely not spectacular, especially considering the amount of time I spent surfing the web, reading random things, watching tv…

Better luck next week.

A second wind, even if it is pretend

mountain

I did an excursion once on an iced capped mountain. It was for fun, believe it or not, but it was the most physically arduous thing I have ever done. I had hiked Kilimanjaro years before but this particular mountain, though only a day climb, was much harder. There was one fellow excursionist who was rather quiet, kept to himself and later I learned that he had lost his mother not long before our excursion. Instead of staying home and mourning his loss he had decided to go through his excursion and offer it up to the memory of his mother.

As much as I want to, and do, damn fate and bad luck  and any number of other things for this job search debacle, I wish I was the kind of person that would find a “second wind” and dedicate it to the memory of my father. I wish I was the kind of person that would double her efforts and determine that given we have a limited time on this earth she was going to find a way to make it count, come hell or high water.

But….

I’m not that kind of person.

But…

I will pretend for the next couple entries.

So the next 5 entries will be dedicated to concrete goals and actions taken.

For the coming week I will establish SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound).

Specific: Networking emails, Job applications

Measurable: 10 Networking emails, 10 job applications

Achievable: These goals are dependent only on my own actions.

Relevant: The more you reach out the higher the probability of finding the right position and opportunity.

Time Bound: Next week, between Monday and Friday

Off you go…

 

Dusting it off…

thrown

 

I was dragging my feet, feeling sad. Another interview-2 days plus travel this time- without the decency of a response. Then I had to fly “home” again. My father was sick and within the week he was gone. Just like that the man that fostered my habit for reading and learning, and so many other things, was gone from this world. I struggle with this blog. How much information do I really want to put out there into the ether? I really don’t know. I will say that as I sat with my father in the hospital not knowing which way his health would turn, thinking about the future was ludicrous and impossible. And that feeling of not being able to plan for something, of just being in the present was stifling. Perhaps it was because I was faced with such an uncertain outcome but I wondered if all the raving about “being in the present” is correct, not being able to think about a future was not liberating at that moment, it was stifling.

I have no lessons from this…for now. I have no new-found energy to make life count. I just am; just moving forward step by step, one step at a time without knowing where it will lead because this recent path of the last few years has taken me in circles and finally left me in a confusing wilderness with no indication of where I may turn. Passions, interests, hobbies…all that is one big jumble of nothingness. So I have to get up and just start walking somewhere one step at a time.