Career Reinvention

So, it’s Sunday evening and you’ve got the Monday-morning-blues. You are not happy about what awaits tomorrow. Your unhappy Monday through Friday work life is spilling over into your weekend. Thoughts of your job create stress, which in turn causes unhappiness in your relationships. Sounds like a career reinvention is just what you need. Can’t quit your job? Fortunately, you don’t have to. You can infuse elements of an ideal career into your everyday life.

  1. Begin with a vision.
    The first step is to determine what your ideal career looks like. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to identify and then create it in your life. Sit back, close your eyes and answer these questions:
    a. Where are you working – in a hospital, classroom, outside in a park? Pay careful attention to your ideal surroundings, location, type of environment, the kind of people who surround you. In a career journal, online or on paper, jot down where you see yourself performing your work.
    b. Describe the activities in which you are engaged as you conduct your daily activities. Are people involved? Machines? What do you actually do? Are you talking, teaching, fixing, creating, writing? Be very specific about what you see yourself doing, using action words as described above. Once again, in your career journal, jot down what you see yourself doing as you perform your work.
    c. What are the goals of your work in your ideal career? Are you responsible for helping ill people get well, increasing investors’ wealth through finances, teaching children a new skill? A useful technique to assess this is to complete the following statement: At the end of my work day I will know that I am successful when I have ______. In your career journal, indicate what outcomes you are seeking in your ideal career.
  2. Create your workplace statement.
    From the information you have gathered in steps 1-3, create a workplace statement to guide your career vision. Your statement will look something like this:
    Every day I look forward to going to work. I go to (where) in which I (activities). I feel satisfied and fulfilled each day when I (goals).
  3. Translate your vision to your current position.
    In your journal, explore where the elements of your vision can translate to your current position. For example, if you are an accountant and your ideal activities involve teaching, consider how you can incorporate this activity into your daily work. Can you take on the role of training new employees? Perhaps you might consider leading lunchtime sessions for the office staff about some elements of accounting in their personal lives, maybe keeping track of their personal finances. Or, consider that you are a bankruptcy attorney but the goals of your ideal career involve helping children learn a new skill. You may wish to volunteer as a tutor at a local school or as a mentor in a community program. In your journal, write down the options for incorporating your vision into your current position. This is an opportunity for you to brainstorm. Write everything that comes to mind without regard to practicality or do-ability now. The evaluation process comes later.
  4. Discuss with your manager/significant other.
    If necessary, discuss your ideas with your manager. Determine if you have the latitude in your current position to train the new employees or lead lunchtime learning sessions. If you have home responsibilities, determine if volunteering in the local school or community can be worked into your family schedule.
  5. Find the opportunities.
    Once you have cleared the way for implementation, seek out opportunities to make it happen. Talk to your network. Be open to suggestions, and expand your list of contacts as you are searching for leads.
  6. Consider the possibilities for the future.
    When you have given your implementation plan a chance to become part of your repertoire of behavior, you can find opportunities to apply these skills to new situations and careers. Skills can be obtained anywhere; not just in paid work. Make sure you add them to your resume and begin to explore the possibilities to take them to your new ideal career, which you identified in step 2.
    These steps illustrate the simplicity of translating your IDEAL job into your REAL job. Perhaps you’ll discover that they’re not so far apart, after all.
    You’re now well on your way to Career Reinvention.