When times are tough it’s tempting to scale back hope that your work might have anything to do with what you love or care about. Instead, you think it’s better to “be realistic” and be grateful for any job, no matter what.
It’s at just these times that paying attention to what you care about is more important than ever.
Here are four ways that you can leverage what you love–what captures your attention, excites you, or breaks your heart–in your career.
1. Build Your Career Around a Key Interest or Cause
Diana returned to college to finish her Bachelor’s degree in psychology after her three-year-old daughter’s death from cancer. Through this heart-breaking experience Diana became interested in supporting other grieving parents. She volunteered at an agency that housed families of children being treated for cancer.
Through her volunteer work she was asked to lead a support group for parents. Later she accepted the paid position of house manager. After completing her Master’s degree in counseling she landed a full-time counseling job with an emphasis on grief work. What she cared about was the cornerstone of her career.
2. Improve Your Work Life Without Changing Careers
Some people like their main job functions, but they want to work in a different setting or with a different product, service, or clientele.
Lynn felt and looked stuck–sad, inert, pale, lifeless. She liked selling cell phones but lost interest after she was promoted to manager of the company’s mall store. This “promotion” reduced her sales income and increased her stress from the added management responsibilities.
Lynn showed no signs of vitality until she answered my questions about what she liked to do to relax or have fun. She loved to ride and care for her horse. As soon as she began to talk about this, Lynn came to life. She decided to pursue sales of products or services that veterinarians use.
Lynn didn’t change careers–sales–she just changed industries.
3. Prepare for a Shift in Direction, a Pivot Point
What you care about can provide a base for building new skills.
Mike had an operations job at a financial services firm. He wanted to move into marketing and promotions, but had no direct experience.
He loved bicycling and for several years had ridden in the MS-150, a fund-raising 150-mile bicycle ride benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He proposed that his company sponsor a team, and he served on the leadership committee. Planning required publicity to recruit riders and donors, arranging training rides, ensuring safety, and handling transportation and other logistics.
Mike began to develop skills and an experience base on which he could build and then eventually transition to a more marketing-oriented job.
4. Network Naturally
Carlos, a credit analyst at a local utility company, recently completed his degree in computer science and wanted to move into an IT function at his company. He felt blocked in his attempts to advance internally, and he claimed that he had no contacts outside the company.
Carlos loved coaching his son’s baseball team. In discussing this with me, he recalled that two of the fathers of boys on the team had IT jobs. It hadn’t occurred to him to explore possibilities through these acquaintances, probably because he was just having fun coaching. He felt at ease and natural about arranging conversations with these two men.
So, “what’s love got to do with it?” Lots!! Whether or not it’s the focus of your career, it can broaden your horizons, build connections, skills, or help you change industries–in any economic condition and at any time in your life.
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Consider a CAP (Career Action Planning) Session if you:
> Feel stuck or stalled in your career
> Are worried about a layoff
> Wonder if it’s not just a new job but a new career you need
> Have been looking for work but not getting results.
In this 90-120-minute meeting, we can get to the root of your career problem and come up with a plan to solve it. For more information call me at 314-752-1373 or use the comment form on my website.