Finding a Career Not a Job
I have noticed a recent uptick in the number of clients who come to me with employment concerns. I attribute this to my guest lecturing and my background. Every semester I lecture at Rutgers University to approximately 200 students on career management. Several of the attendees and their friends have come to see me individually following these lectures about concerns regarding their own careers. With so many clients approaching me recently with concerns regarding their jobs/careers I decided to write a series of articles on this topic. This is part 1 of 2 on finding a career.
Professionally I have had a winding career path. I started my career working in the oilfield. After 18 months I realized that the only thing impacted by my work was my bank account. It didn’t bring me any sense of personal fulfillment. Eventually I left and pursued a different path; connecting with individuals.
I started in a psychiatric hospital, transitioned to clinical trials and then moved onto project management. Still those did not speak to me. Something was still missing. I kept searching. Eventually I started to work with people therapeutically. All of a sudden I found what I was looking for. Connection, impact, meaning. Ever since then my professional life has centered on therapy. Now I just do it in four different capacities. I am a therapist, writer, public speaker, and analyst.
Figuring out the Why
Mark Twain said “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” The work I do with clients is focused on finding out why. I believe that we are all born with innate gifts. We are predisposed to success in certain jobs, careers, and roles.
A recent study found that up to 53% of Americans are currently unhappy at work. Think about that for a minute. One out of every two workers does not like their job. That means that a lot of workers haven’t figured out their why. They are unhappy because they are in jobs that aren’t aligned with their real purpose.
Unemployment is at a record low. For most people, getting a job is just a matter of time. Picking the right job or career is much more difficult. Having a job is like fool’s gold for some. It is shiny and pretty but has no real value. Finding your calling is much more impactful.
Once clients realize the importance of the “why” we begin to work on figuring it out.
Two of my loves in life are movies and books. One of my all-time favorite movies is Goodwill Hunting. Matt Damon plays Will Hunting. Will is a brilliant young adult from a troubled background with a photographic memory. While in a bar he gets into a verbal altercation with a condescending Harvard student. Matt Damon ends the conversation with the man by saying, “You dropped a $150,000 on an education you could have gotten for a dollar fifty in late fees from the public library.”
I currently hold a Bachelor’s degree and two Master’s degrees. Over the course of my academic career I have taken approximately 70 courses. In spite of all my “education” I feel that I have learned more from reading books than I ever did from school. I typically read one book a week mostly non-fiction. One week I might read a book on immigrants from Somalia and then the next week read a book genetics. However, my favorite subjects are leadership and career development.
Every time I read I get to look at the world through a different perspective. Reading gives me an in-depth look at what other jobs and careers look like. I read extensively about the four jobs I currently have before I had them. When I read about those various jobs I felt really intrigued. I thought to myself “Wow these jobs seem really interesting. I think I would like them.”
This is part 1 of 2 on articles for finding a career not a job. Please tune back in for part 2 coming soon. Here at the New Jersey Family and Addiction Institute we work extensively with clients who are searching for a career or making a career transition. If we can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.