Work and Life
YOUR WORK. A BLESSING OR A BURDEN?
YOUR WORK. A BLESSING OR A BURDEN?
When you think about it, work is either a blessing or a burden, a prescription for personal happiness or a road to despair. No matter where you fall on that spectrum, this much is clear. Work is one of the primary parameters you use to determine your identity and mold your character. So, what if work isn't working anymore? What if who you have become is not who you want to be?
Ed Rickert found himself in that exact position two months ago. Ed has forty years of Human Resource experience under his belt. He spent twenty-five years in the banking industry. Then banks began to consolidate. His services were no longer required. High tech was next. Ed transferred his Human Resource skills to the computer industry. Seven years later, his company was sold. Same story as banking services no longer required.
A new start-up company in the automotive business was next on Ed's career trail. His expertise was highly valued by all at the new entity. He built an entire organization from scratch. He performed so well that the president asked him to take on an assignment as Vice President and Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer. Ed was so honored. "What a crowning moment in my career", he said to me. His plan was to work another few years, cash in his stock options, and enjoy an active retirement.
Oh but not so fast. Plans, it seems, are often made to be broken. The CEO abruptly resigned three months ago. Ed hung around hoping his talents would be needed by a new CEO, or even elsewhere in the company. They weren't. Services no longer required. For Ed, work quit working.
Having grown tired of the corporate shuffling, he wanted a new identity. But that was easier said than done. He'd been a "corporate guy" for almost forty years. Could he succeed at anything else? Self-doubt was clinging to Ed like a persistent rash.
Motivation to change, particularly in the later stages of one's career is not easy to come by. Peter Weddle, who ran one of the first resume databases, JobBank USA, claims that the majority of people he spoke with disliked their jobs, but due to fear or inertia, few were willing to do what was required to start anew. "They'd rather gripe and stick their heads in the sand," Weddle said.
Other than a nose full of sand, that technique won't get you much. In today's economy, career success depends on how creatively you think, how well you adapt to change and, most importantly, how willing you are to take the appropriate action to develop your own opportunities.
Ed's reluctance to move out of his corporate comfort zone caused him to seek yet another traditional Human Resource job. But, luck came to his aid. During the course of networking with old colleagues, Ed was asked if he'd be interested in a short term consulting role. Envisioning this as an opportunity to gain some additional experience, he took on the assignment. As part of his preparation, he spoke with another consultant in the field. It so happened that the consultant was looking for a partner in his business. The two have now teamed up on a full time basis.
When Ed phoned me yesterday, he seemed full of vigor and excitement. "I don't think I'll ever be returning to the corporate world", he said. "I'm not going to work for just one corporation. Instead, I'll work with several corporate clients and if one of them fires me, I'll still have all the others. I've got a new life ahead of me and I'm in control of it. What a great feeling!"
In their book, The Best Jobs for the 21st Century, Drs. Ron and Caryl Krannich predict that, "Fewer people will be obsessed with choosing traditional careers. More and more people will want satisfying jobs that enable them to pursue interesting lifestyle goals."
What are your lifestyle goals? What do you want to do with your life? What can you do today to begin the process of making it happen? Think about it.
|Tom Welch is "America's Career Coach". A workplace expert, speaker and author of "Work Happy Live Healthy", the ultimate guide for career changing and job searching. E-Mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For a FREE REPORT on "How to Stand Out, Get Promoted, and Make More Money ," visit www.workhappy.com.|