At some point in your working life you hit a bump. Sometimes the bump is sudden—unexpectedly you lose your job, you're demoted or somehow you lose your authority or your rank at work diminishes. At other times there’s a warning of a “speed bump” ahead. That’s when the stirring comes from inside of you. It is that feeling when you begin to lose your passion for work. It is when new management comes in and all of a sudden nothing you do is right (even though it was right for a very long time under the former management).
These bumps are what I call the Crossroads.
Sometimes they happen to you; sometimes you initiate it—but at all times ACTION occurs in your career. For one friend, her husband had a lucrative, but unfulfilling career in the financial services industry. For years the stirrings of discontent were in the back of his mind. But, the money was good and they had kids in college. Then, in the same week, he got fired and his best friend died suddenly of a heart attack. Talk about a BUMP. He was thrust into the Crossroads—rethinking everything. It was the catalyst of a career change at 43 years old to become a teacher. Now, seven years later, he’s a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Administration.
Our careers are like "mini-movies" of our lives in general. They take unexpected detours, have ups and downs, interesting people enter/exit and they require adjustments and like life; our careers rarely stay the same. Upon reflection, a career is like the Charles Dicken’s quote, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” That quote goes on to say, “it was the spring of hope and the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...”
So many external factors affect our careers now and moving into your 40s, 50s and 60s, careers get redefined—sometimes by us, sometimes for us. In some previous posts, I’ve mentioned the small amount of time we give to personal career planning. We spend more time planning our recent holiday activities and vacations than we do our career contingencies. Your company is not going to develop your career--that's on you now. It is why hitting a bump is so unsettling. It is why standing at the crossroads can be so confusing. Now that we are fresh into a new year, it is a perfect time to update your resume, freshen your LinkedIn profile or start that blog you’ve been thinking about. It may be a good time to reconnect with your former colleagues from a previous company to catch-up and do some networking. Do some thinking about how you want to spend the rest of your working years. What’s your dream? Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” So here’s to the New Year! Explore. Dream. Discover. Take some time to focus on your career. You deserve it!