I used to hate Tuesdays. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. Tuesdays you see were self-designed to be my ideal day at work. I arrived at 7:30 AM, attended to one or two patients, and then left the office no later than noon. The problem was that I hated what I had to do for the next four and one-half hours. Mondays and Wednesdays weren’t too bad but I now attribute that to being so busy that I didn’t have much time to think about anything else. Thursdays were great….. as far as work goes. I worked my another half-day until noon and then began my weekly golfing marathon – four straight days of golf.
Nearly seven years ago I decided to stop trying to figure out how to leave my practice. I just left it. I joke about this transition because I probably left the practice mentally in 1994. It just took another year for my right-brain to speak to my left-brain and physically decide enough was enough.
My career switch has been quite interesting. It’s hard to say whether this business will ever pay as well or better than my previous one. I believe it will. But realizing that starting business projects, making things happen, and getting the results I wanted were not only transferable skills I developed but activities that I was excited about doing. My personal reward for working hard was not working less. Working less – and playing more golf – was just an escape from a career that was running on empty and I lost the desire to refill the tank. In 1995 the time was right for a career switch.
The change now is that I love Tuesdays…and Wednesdays and Thursdays through Monday. I left a profession working as few as 22 hours per week and exchanged it for a new career that wakes me up early and keeps me up late. How can that be enjoyable you ask? I’m now living a life that matched my passions. I have a real sense of excitement in the possibilities and opportunities that face me each day and I found purpose in my new work.
How a person spends their time is how they are spending their life and that usually is reflected by which value clusters are important to them. It’s amazing how energized individuals can be when their career paths are matched to their value clusters and how de-motivating it is to be doing a job in which they feel trapped.
For many people, something at work fundamentally changed after September 11. The World Trade Towers were not the only symbols shattered on that infamous day. The live to work attitude of many workers was jolted as well and now thousands of employees are re-evaluating the choices they’ve made about their jobs, family and career success.
In the four weeks since the attack, I have received at least two dozen phone calls, e-mails, faxes and letters from virtual strangers requesting help and advice about career changes. A few career changes were forced due to terminations and down-sizings. Most were voluntary calls from individuals in search of a purpose for their lives. Up until September 11 many people were chasing success and a lifestyle, not fulfillment and life.
The terrorists may have done more than awakened America, a sleeping giant. Today, “there’s got to be a better way” is heard all over the airwaves, streets and workplaces. The embers of personal fulfillment have been re-ignited. Individuals from all walks of life are looking for answers. They are searching for direction.
According to Seneca, “If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind is favorable to him.” No truer words have been spoken. It takes nothing like a tragedy to propel people into re-examining their life’s path and beginning to re-focus their energies on living a life that is rewarding and satisfying to them.
How does one start making a career change?
One of the most rewarding processes I have followed is called Success Discovery. Although I did not use this particular process prior to my transition, I embraced it almost immediately when I discovered it shortly thereafter. Success Discovery guides an individual through a critical self-evaluation that helps each person understand his or her strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and passions. The experience empowers you to make a winning career change.
Ira S. Wolfe is Founder of Success Performance Solutions, a training and assessment center helping businesses to match, manage and motivate employees. Ira is the author of Understanding Business Values and Motivators. Ira can for information about coaching, training or speaking at 717-291-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org.