Mary was really struggling with job hunting as she couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm for the typical roles in her profession. As a senior marketing leader, she’d worked for iconic companies but the idea of finding another marketing role left her flat and dispirited. Everything felt like a strain.
She was feeling very anxious and wanted to be working but couldn’t muster up the energy to start the process. Together we explored what her resistance was about and discovered she didn’t want to be in marketing anymore! Her heart wasn’t in it and although she’d enjoyed success over the years, she’d had to push herself out of bed most days. Sound familiar?
What’s that all about?
Research shows 70 percent of workers say they don’t feel satisfied with their career choices. For Mary, she realized she stayed mostly for the generous salary and status it provided. But she became increasingly aware of the huge emotional cost and hollowness she felt when money and other people’s perceptions were driving her choices.
Now, we had to figure out what truly motivated her, where she felt most engaged, in flow and at ease. We worked together to define her sweet spot, that place where her values, strengths and the market needs intersected.
Too many of us choose professions and stay in them due to societal judgements. Some lawyers choose the profession as it elevates their reputation. People go into management roles to meet organizational expectations of the upward career trajectory. Others choose accounting to please their parents or significant other. These are all external, fear and scarcity-based drivers. Ideas we use to push ourselves into doing things where our hearts and passions aren’t considered. But this is not what inspires us or those whom we lead. Yes, perhaps for the first few years or decade, but sooner or later we experience that something is ‘missing’.
Once Mary identified and admitted that Event Planning truly sparked her imagination, there was no stopping her! She experienced a 180 degree turn in her job search by happily leveraging her marketing expertise and considerable network with zest and confidence. That truly is a “pull” approach to the job search. An approach where we follow our inner compass and bliss versus society’s judgements and expectations.
What strategy are you using and how is that impacting your search?
Lynn Nicolai is the author of Buckle Up! Managing the Career Transition Rollercoaster. If you want to get off the job search rollercoaster and be more productive, check out Buckle Up!