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If you dream about having a different career, but don’t act on that dream, you may be operating under the assumption of a career myth. In this article, I expose 5 myths, sayings you’ve heard before that simply are not true. Let’s explore them.
This is the grand-daddy of career myths, the belief that you can’t have a “practical” career doing something that you were passionate about. It has to be one or the other.
This myth is rooted in fear. Fear that we have to sacrifice our happiness to make a living. Don’t buy the myth that you can’t earn a living by doing what you love.
When I first started coaching, I heard from plenty of people that it would be very difficult to make a living doing this work. I just decided to find coaches who were successful, and to learn from them (simple, eh?).
Even when the newspapers and other news sources say that unemployment numbers remain steady, that job growth is at a standstill, or that we’re experiencing slow economic recovery, not to mention downsizing and outsourcing, don’t believe it.
It’s a myth because it doesn’t reflect the whole story, the fact that that it’s a different job market today. It’s a changing economy. How we transition from job-to-job is different. Hiring practices have shifted. So the job market has changed, but that doesn’t necessarily make it tougher. What makes it tougher is that we’ve been slower to change. We’ve held on to old practices and old behaviors. That’s not to say that old ways still don’t work, but they’re just not as effective.
So I challenge you to just believe that it’s a perfect job market for you to find work. College students try this, just for a week, and, more times than not, several of them find job leads or make important connections during the week.
What’s riskier than leaving what you know to pursue the unknown? Changing careers means leaving behind a piece of your identity – your “I’m a lawyer” response to the “what-do-you-do?” question. It might mean admitting to yourself that you made a mistake with an initial career choice. Or it might mean acknowledging that you’re unsure of what’s next. And smart women in business always know what’s next, right?
Nope. Successful career changers often don’t have a plan. In Working Identity: How Successful Career Changers Turn Fantasy into Reality by Herminia Ibarra, she provided evidence that waiting until you have a plan is actually riskier than just doing and experimenting.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, is riskier than not changing careers if you’re longing to do so. Here’s why: The longing won’t go away. It will always be there, under the surface, waiting for you to do something about it.
And in the meantime, keep living your life and see what happens.
When you see a link to “Find Your Dream Job,” do you immediately click on it to see what’s there? Do you look at every “Top Ten Career” list out there to see if anything catches your interest? Do you know your MBTI type? If you do, you might be falling prey to the career epiphany myth.
I’d love, love, love it if most of my clients had a career epiphany that indicated to them, in crystal-clear terms, their next step. Instead, I see career “unfoldings” or a journey of discovery much more regularly. That is, being willing to not ignore the obvious, the pokes, the prods, and listen carefully to the whisper within. Yep, forget harp music and angels, for most of us, the career epiphany is a quiet whisper.
Oh, if only this worked in the long run!! Granted, it does work at first. When you find yourself beginning to question your career, you’ll find it’s rather easy to push the thoughts aside and pretend they aren’t there. You know what I’m talking about: the “what ifs” and the list of regrets.
Over time, the random thoughts become nagging thoughts. You spend more and more time daydreaming about options. You build your list of reasons to ignore your growing career dissatisfaction:
With clients in this situation, we work on identifying and challenging these fears. Sometimes the fear of change remains, but there becomes a greater commitment to living than to feeling the fear.
So now that you know that one or all of these myths have been holding you back, what are you waiting for?
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