Do you want to start something new in 2011? Change your life for the better? Discover your passion? That's a lot of what the Action Plan 28-Day Challenge is all about, and this week, career and life-purpose coach Maggie Mistal is here in the community to help.
Maggie is best known for hosting "Making a Living with Maggie," a weekly national radio show on SIRIUS XM satellite radio. Her motivational advice to combine passion and talent with career has transformed the lives of her listeners and clients. In 2008, CNN called her "one of the nation's best known career coaches." Maggie also gives weekly career advice tips on her website MaggieMistal.com and on Whole Living Daily.
If you have a question about the direction your job -- or your life -- is going (or where you want it to go), leave it here. Maggie will be checking in Wednesday through Friday and will do her best to respond within 24 hours.
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I feel very stuck in a job (started in April 2010) and it has me questioning my entire career choice. I know the basics of what I don't like about this particular job, but I know that deep down I've never truly cared about any of the work I've done... And I even have a Masters degree in my current field! I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking, but the guidance is vast and I haven't found anything that really resonates with me. How can I figure out what really matters to me and find satisfaction in my work?
Sorry to hear you're feeling stuck. I work with a lot of people who find themselves in your situation (in fact, I was once in the wrong career too.) My sense is that the reason you haven't found what really resonates with you is that you haven't done the Soul Search, Research and Job Search that will help you identify the right career for you.
Once you've done this, then you can look outside and start to Research and Job Search into the careers that match what you want and not the other way around!
My life is going nowhere! I have been substitute teaching school for 11 years with very little subbing for the past 5 years because of a change with the school system. I am in two retail jobs that I do not like. It is very difficult to work with the public. Yet I do like fashion and apparal merchandise. It seems the only jobs you can get here our retail. I used to be a secretary and I am burned out from that for 16 years. I do like to do substitue teaching and helping the students and knowing I've done a good job with the student in learning. I desparately need to find a new direction for my life..my income needs to be much more than it is now. I am not married and have no children. Any help you can give would be appreciated. Thank you, Darlene
Sorry to hear you haven't been able to find the career that really works for you but glad you reached out. The first step in fixing a problem is identifying your role in changing it and I want you to know that DO have the power to change this. Believe me, I have seen it and have the client success stories to prove it.
You too like Kelly need to get clear on what it is your really want -in detail. It's great for instance that you like fashion and apparel but what about them do you like? - Styling? Designing? Selling? Your dream job is in the details waiting for you to discover it! (See my response to Kelly for more on Soul Search, Research and Job Search.)
But for you I have a different exercise. I'd like you to think about what really motivates you - what would get you out of bed in the morning excited to get to work. To help, here is the work values exercise I use with my clients. My sense is that you haven't really been motivated to work before b/c you've just been taking what you can get.
You are too talented for that Darlene - it's time to get clear on what you really WANT to be doing and the motivators exercise is s great first step in helping you get there.
I'm currently a college student who will be graduating this May. My undergraduate major requires me to go directly to graduate school (I can't practice in the field without a Masters Degree). But I'm just not sure if that's what I want to do anymore. And spending 5 more semesters and taking out more loans seems almost pointless.
I am interested in my major, but I mostly chose it because job placement is almost guaranteed and I have around $40,000 worth of loans to pay off post-college.
My ideal job would be to combine catering and event planning. I would love to start a company that emphasizes the food at special occasions and provides sort of a "one-stop-shop" for events (instead of catering by one company, planning by another). I love to entertain and cook. I have a blog where I'm always trying out new recipes. But I just have no idea how to get experience or establish credibility.
I feel like I'm almost having to choose between financial security or doing something that I truly enjoy. What should I do -- jump in head first to something I'm not experienced in or keep it as a hobby until I'm financially secure (about 4-5 years down the road)?
I know what it's like to choose a job for financial security Laken. I chose to major in accounting b/c I knew I could get a job and I did. The only problem was that I hated it. Not that there's anything wrong with accounting but it wasn't right for me.
If you are having misgivings about your path, trust them. And rather than just go on FEELING like maybe you can't make a living in events/catering, why not TEST it out and now FOR SURE.
You see, we often operate from a place of feelings not facts. It's not a fact that you can't make a living doing what you love, it's a feeling. You have to test out your dream (research it) to KNOW if you love it, are great at it and HOW you can make a living at it, not if.
One approach may be to defer graduate school for a year (most programs allow you to do that) and in the meantime go work for someone else who is in the business already doing what you love. Be a sponge, work hard and learn as much as you can about yourself and about the experience. At the end of that year, you'll be in a much better position to know the FACTS about what's possible and what the right career move is for you.
If you can't defer, schedule informational interviews with people in the business and get the FACTS from their experience in the field. Here's my how-to on informational interviewing 101 to help.
To not research your dream nor give it a chance will most likely have you ending up feeling regretful so go for it!
Best of luck,
I have a lot in my life to be thankfull for. I have two beautiful and intellegent children an amazing husband and a wonderful home. I am really close to my mother, father, brother and sister though not in miles. I live in Alberta Canada and they live in England. I have taken many courses of which I enjoyed them all and pretty much came top of the class every time. My question is "why do I not feel good enough to do something that I enjoy as a job, to earn a living?" My sister feels the same way. My brother in law says it's to do with low self esteme. How do I fix this? I really don't want to pass these hang ups on to my children. I hope it's not genetic. My husband thinks I want to be a perpetual student. I must admit I do like being around like minded people. But even doing the courses everyone always seemed better suited to the job we were training for than me.
You may be a renaissance soul Paula. Renaissance souls are people who enjoy learning and mastering new skills/areas and once they've done that are ready to move on to the next thing.
You might want to check out my blog post on The Challenge of Too Many Interests. It references one of my favorite career books, "The Renaissance Soul" by Margaret Lobenstine. I interviewed Margaret on my radio show and LOVED the concept b/c so many of us struggle with not wanting to choose just one thing. We're not Mozarts, we're DaVincis!
Margaret's message is that this is not only okay but also, it's the perfect way to be in a constantly evolving global economy. I agree that it's important to embrace your renaissance soul nature (I am one too) and leverage it for career success. Not everyone likes to continuously learn or change as you do Paula. See that as a strength not a weakness!
I am looking to go back to work. I left my job as an administrative assistant 5 years ago (will be 6 years in July). I had done work as an administrative assistant for about 20 years and was not happy in my last job so decided to take a break. I did a little volunteer work in my time off but most of my time was spent taking care of the house, dog, and gardening. I would love something part-time as an office or administrative assistant. That would give me a good balance of work and still have time for other interests as well. Was thinking of applying with some temporary firms just to get back out there but I am so concerned about not having any recent work experience (as well as references) that I will have a hard time finding anything and am reluctant to even start reaching out to apply. What recommendations do you have? Thank you! Juanita
Volunteering in the role you want is a great way to build work experience and references Juanita. You can volunteer your administrative services for a local non-profit that you care about and do a fantastic job for a periof of time - a week, a month or whatever you feel comfortable with.
I am working with a client who took this approach and now has a great experience to add to his resume and a glowing reference he can use as he goes after paying positions.
Sites like Taprootfoundation.org will match your skills and talents with non-profit projects if you're at a loss for where to volunteer and it's national. Best of luck!
I've chosen a career path with which, at the age of 31, I've become wholly unsatisfied. I'm an attorney. I think I'm already burnt out and want to try something entirely different. My problem is, I've invested so much in law school that I feel it would be wasteful to leave the practice of law. How can I justify such a drastic change? All my life I wanted to be an attorney, only to want a change after almost four years of practice. How can I be sure that the next career isn't something I'll soon grow bored with? This problem makes me feel like such a flake!