Is it just me, or do you also see more people getting fed up with frustrating work where they are not appreciated, to opting for much more meaningful work?
Are you one of these people? Or would you like to be?
Recently, I felt a pang to connect with people who, like me, have crossed over from a life in Corporate America to doing work that’s more meaningful. So, I posted a question on LinkedIn (one of my favorite tools for making meaningful connections) looking for such kindred folks, and heard back from a number of people, including Sumya Ojakli.
Sumya is a branding maven with a wealth
of branding experiences from places like Snowball.com and GoldenBooks Family
Entertainment. She’s the person who
helped re-introduce Pat the Bunny to the world, infusing “emotional branding” into
this sweet character. Much like me, Sumya reassessed
and simplified her own life. She’s currently running her own
company, Evolution and Strategy, helping individuals and companies to
brand themselves more effectively in today’s changing marketplace.
Between us, Sumya and I know plenty of corporate folks who’ve ditched the cubicle, the
According to Sumya, there are five types of people who are
office building, and the “grind” of corporate life made major transitions. Some have become massage
therapists, Reiki practitioners, psychotherapists, shamans, or naturopaths.
making major career changes related to the healing or helping arts. Looking at the world this way helps me to understand some of the phenomena I am seeing in the world. I thought you, my genteel readers, might be going through career changes yourselves, and might gain some insights by looking at these categories. I’ll start with posting about one today, and then go through four more types over the next few days.
(1) MAXXED OUT: Professionals who are
wanting to make a change in their lives, because things
have gotten to be “too
much.” They are traveling too much
and working too much. Often, their health
is not good, and they experience breakdowns in their bodily systems. Along their road back to health, they meet a
practitioner who empowers themselves to do the curing for themselves. These professionals are indebted to the healing
practice they have discovered. So they
want to bring the cure to others and spread the word.
Some of these professionals pare down their
work and practice their new-found healing on the side. Others leave their prior career to do healing
full-time. Sumya sees this trend
particularly among lawyers, many of whom leave large firms to start their own
firms, discover that’s still stressful, and decide to change direction. Sumya told me of a lawyer who became an
acupuncturist. For this woman, the
switch to even a very basic law practice was too much. She sold her apartment, pared down her life,
and is much happier. Makes sense.
From Sumya’s view, professionals are the toughest sale and
hardest to make the career transition. Often,
self-fulfillment means walking away from their former profession, which can
feel like letting go of what seems to be a safety net and a life preserver. But, as I know, when your career is killing
you, you often have no choice but to let go of what looks safe to take the new
path. That’s certainly been my story.
From what I’ve learned from coaching professionals, making
this sort of radical career change takes place slowly. If this life path compels you, and tugs at
your heart, then you put one foot in front of the other long enough, making
little changes, until you’re finally in a new life. You might first take a sabbatical, or do
part-time work. You might take a class
that leads you to a new interest, and pursue that interest in parallel with a
new, easier job. These are just a few
paths. Success in the new life rarely
comes overnight, but rarely is success defined as it used to be. After running around on airplanes, staying in
meetings until all hours of the night, and slaving over projects that
ultimately get killed, having time to yourself feels like success. Being able to see friends feels like
success. Taking a mid-day walk — as
Sumya does — feels like success.
At the same time, money generally feels less important. Whoa, Nelly, not unimportant. Just not acquired for its own sake. In the
“old” life, money was acquired “to be safe,” and now, you recognize that safety
comes from having your own inner assets and using them. Often, professionals start paring down, getting
rid of possessions (not everything!) that feel unnecessary. Discovering and becoming involved with the simplicity movement can bring camaraderie and ease. Money coaching can also help to reveal and heal underlying issues with inner and outer prosperity.
Do you relate to this type?
If you’ve made the transition already, what helped you navigate the changes? If you’re in the midst of making this kind of change, what’s your experience? And if you’re contemplating this type of change but feel stuck, what holds you in place?
What questions do you have about this type of change? I’ll do my best to respond…I’d love to help you find work and a life that truly fits for you. And, more on the other four "types" of meaning-filled career changers in the next two editions…stay tuned!
Constantly in change,
Coach, Speaker & Author
Work From Within, LLC