The stories of three people I’ve worked with are presented below (with permission, though I’ve changed their names). Read on!
1. Alex faced a tough decision: whether to continue his ascent up the corporate ladder at a major food company by moving to Chicago.
Although accepting the promotion would mean more of what he’d always aspired to—responsibility and leadership opportunities—it would uproot his wife and daughters and mean even more stress from travel and near-24/7 communication via phone, email, and text.
If he turned the offer down in order to stay in St. Louis, however, his 15-year career with the company would end, and he’d have to figure out what to do next.
Even before this dilemma, however, Alex had grown restless. The dream of another life was incubating. He acknowledged a deepening desire to pursue public service, perhaps through government work, politics, or teaching. In fact, he and his wife even talked about relocating their family to his wife’s home state to teach and coach.
Through examining his successes, articulating his personal goals, and investigating a number of possibilities, Alex learned of an opportunity to bring a portable self-storage franchise to St. Louis. Research and detailed discussions about the business model, financing, and legal contract resulted in Alex’s decision to establish a St. Louis franchise.
After several months of preparation he and his wife began their new venture. Alex uses his well-honed business skills to develop the local operation. He doesn’t miss the demanding travel schedule of his previous job. He enjoys establishing business and community relationships. Alex is still committed to his longer-term goal of public service, but he now has time, energy, and natural opportunities to set the stage for this goal. He’s building a business and his future.
2. For 10 years Laurie was the top producer in her mortgage loan office. She worked long and hard to build her business base, and her diligence yielded great financial rewards. She also enjoyed being able to help her clients finance their homes. However, the grinding pace and relentless details and paperwork were growing oppressive. Plus, her career failed, by a longshot, to engage her creative flair and love of color and fashion. She knew she wanted to make a change, a change that wouldn’t compromise her income and that would make for a more manageable lifestyle.
Some probing revealed Laurie’s life-long passion for fashion. Although she’d taken college courses in fashion merchandising, she discounted a fashion-related career as frivolous. Besides, the only related path she could think of was in retail sales and management. That path would not work for her. Acknowledging her love and talent for style and fashion, she decided to investigate fashion-related options other than retail sales and management.
Laurie discovered opportunities to represent designer lines of clothing directly to customers. Representing a designer line through private appointments would incorporate her sales experience and her fashion sense. Her earnings woud be uncapped and the direct result of her own hard work. In addition, she’d have the satisfaction of helping women feel and look good.
After much investigation and evaluation, Laurie decided to represent the Carlisle Collection. She continues to work full-time as a mortgage loan officer, and will do so as she builds her Carlisle Collection business. The biggest challenge now is managing her time and energy between the two businesses until she can shift full-time into her fashion-related venture.
3. When I met Jeff, he’d just left a major rental car company. Long hours and constant weekend work were par for the course in this business. After he and his wife had their first child, Jeff opted for an office job as a loss control administrator at corporate headquarters. While that job had more manageable hours and met his financial needs, it was less than satisfying. What to do next?
Jeff disclosed that his long-term goal was to develop an income from property ownership. As a young person, he saw how his dad managed his own properties. Through observation and study, he learned about the benefits and challenges of owning property.
Immediately after graduating college and landing his first job eight years ago, Jeff set out to buy his first property. Given his small salary, funding options were limited. He learned about a non-profit organization that located funding for first-time home buyers. In order to qualify, he participated in a home-buying/ownership education program. Little did he know how important this experience would be nearly eight years later.
Among several investigatory meetings Jeff had was one with the executive director of the housing and community development organization that facilitated his original loan right after college. Jeff’s personal experience and enthusiasm for the mission of the agency impressed the director, but there were no resources to fund a job for Jeff. Out of the blue, though, several weeks later, the director contacted Jeff; the situation had changed drastically, and the director was able and eager to hire him.
In his new job, created for him as Manager of Broker Operations, Jeff is in his element developing and marketing lending/refinancing opportunities to the public. Jeff is excited to have found a way to bring his business skills to an organization that makes a real difference in the lives of individuals and their communities. He is proud that the agency’s profit is reinvested in their neighborhoods.
Though in different career fields and different stages of their careers, Alex, Laurie, and Jeff engaged in a similar process: They identified their natural strengths and interests, investigated possibilities assertively (versus hoping their dream job would show up on their doorstep), arranged many fact-finding meetings, and endured moments of frustration and doubt.
All three have entered new chapters in their lives—on purpose, and in greater alignment with what’s important to them (income included). The next chapters in their stories are unknown, but they’re taking a big role in writing them. What is your story so far? What role will you play in shaping its outcome?
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 contact form on my website.