Categorized | Career

You can transition to a more satisfying career

Posted on 15 November 2008

Much has been written about the benefits of leaving your own private rung on the corporate ladder and doing work that is more interesting, challenging, and fulfilling. Sure, it all sounds great. Going by the wealth of material on the subject, most of us must secretly want to find bigger challenges, greater adventures, and satisfying careers. But just do it is better advertising hype than career advice-especially when it comes to abandoning our familiar work routines and steady paychecks.

Sure, we’re motivated to leave dull jobs behind, but we’re also reluctant to face the challenges that come with change. How do cautious people adopt a workable plan, gracefully transitioning from everyday routine to a perfectly passion-centered career? It can be done, some say, if you’re willing to take a chance.

Re-Invented Lives
Those who just did it-successfully made the move to a perfect job-say that you have to find something you love, then follow it wherever it leads. Tanya Lyle, a writer and editor by day, devotes evenings and weekends to her own desktop publishing business.

Let your day job fund your dream job, and save some money. Don’t let money worries keep you from doing what you must do for yourself.

Lyle edits for an internationally known contractor, but is curiously unimpressed with the trappings of her day job. The plan to reinvent her career was absolutely necessary, she says, but she was very careful when planning any moves. “I wanted the freedom to direct my work and develop my skills,” she says. “But I’m practical about it, too. I take advantage of all the training and experiences I get in my present job, and that helps me in my transition.”

The Value of Creativity & Freedom
Most people think that money (or a lack thereof) keeps us from making a career transition. But, for people who really want to work at jobs they’re passionate about, money isn’t an issue. So reports Richard Chang, CEO of his own business consulting firm in California and author of The Passion Plan: A Step-by Step Guide to Discovering, Developing, and Living Your Passion (Jossey-Bass, 1999). Chang believes that “people no longer want to just collect a paycheck. They want their work to have meaning. If there’s no emotional connectivity between the employee and the organization, then the luster of material prizes quickly fades.”

Michael Lee agrees. Lee has been an amusement park designer for the last ten years, working for major companies like Warner Brothers and Lucasfilm Ltd. It’s an exciting, satisfying, and lucrative job, but most important for him is that it fills him with passion.

According to Lee: “It’s simple to ask, ‘Is there enough money in it?’ But look at Bill Gates. He made something that other people never thought of, but made it useful. As a result he’s very wealthy.” Although Lee is comfortable financially and happy with the transition he made, it wasn’t always the case. He held other jobs that didn’t pay very well. But money still wasn’t the major factor in his decision to follow his passion. “I valued my own creativity,” he says simply. That creativity became, in a sense, his money in the bank.

Lyle also understands the financial fears people have as they decide to transition to a career they love. Her financial advice is practical: “Let your day job fund your dream job, and save some money. Don’t let money worries keep you from doing what you must do for yourself.”

Follow Your Head, Lead With Your Heart
Even though people are afraid to make the change to a better career, Lee sees the process as “a spiritual thing. I went to many career counselors, took aptitude tests, but none of it helped. In the end, you’ve got to have confidence in yourself.”

Chang says that organizations are starting to employ people who are confident and passionate about their jobs. “Given the current challenges that organizations face in the economy,” he claims, “it’s important that they harness the power of people’s vitality, creativity, and energy-in a nutshell, their passion. Companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Southwest Airlines, and others have found tremendous success because they are passion-driven.”

If large business and corporations appreciate the power of passion in the lives of their employees, and use that passion to make their companies successful, what are you waiting for?

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Jay Hofmeister says:

    Great post,

    You must follow your heart, that is where all energy comes from.

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