DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CAREER – OR DID IT CHOOSE YOU?

Many of us go through life working a job we really don’t like because we just kind of fell into it. Does that sound like you?

I know it was true for me for the first 12 years of my work life. Once I realized I wasn’t happy, it took me 3 years to figure out what I really wanted to do – and then get it! Luckily, I was able to identify my true calling and discover how to work my passion. Of course, if I’d had a career coach, it wouldn’t have taken nearly as long.

Picking a Career isn’t easy anytime, but when you take charge and invest the time and resources into choosing your career instead of letting it choose you, you will find more joy in your work. Take a look at 20 questions to ask before making a leap.

CAREERS IN WAITING

According to a December 2003 survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 38% of the directors, managers, supervisors and team leaders polled said that they were likely to change jobs in 2004. (Did that happen?)

"Warm chair attrition" is affecting Corporate America, said Joyce Gioia, co-author of the bestselling book on employment trends, "Impending Crisis: Too Many Jobs, Too Few People." She added that 30-40% of the workforce is unhappy at work and only waiting for the first opportunity to "jump ship."

ExecuNet, an online career management and recruiting resource center for executives and recruiters, publishes an annual "Executive Job Market Intelligence" report based on January surveys of about 1000 executives and 150 search professionals.

Its 2004 report stated that despite the anticipated 2004 "hiring growth across the board" predicted by search professionals, "the new realities of the job market will likely require some executives to recreate or reposition themselves. That may mean changing functions or industries," said Dave Opton, CEO and Founder of ExecuNet.

The January 2005 data is being gathered as this is being written. What will the new results look like? If you join ExecuNet, you can be one of the first to receive the newest report.

Where does all this leave you? If you are an employer, perhaps a bit unsettled at the prospect of a mass exodus from your organization. If you are one of the unhappy-at-work employees, what are you doing to manage your own career? Are you ready to move forward when the opportunity arises, or are you hanging on to outdated skills and experience because you’re too stubborn or afraid to "recreate or reposition" yourself for the new world of work?

It’s a natural human tendency to resist change. However, we are living in a world that is changing so fast that no one can remain immune to its impact. The time for hunkering down has passed. If you don’t embrace change and make it your friend, it will bury you. Take that first step to a happier life!

CAREER CHANGES: HOW NOW?

Economy experts say things are improving. Yet, layoffs abound, companies are still closing, whole industries are declining…AND…workdays are becoming longer, benefits are being cut, retirement dreams are crumbling…what can one do to cope?

Maybe you are just plain burned out or no longer interested in the work you do. What would it take to switch careers and find a way to work your passion? How can you shift career gears to create career satisfaction with work/life balance? Total fulfillment?

There is no one perfect answer for everyone. More than anything else, a healthy mindset about the concept of change can do the most to motivate positive action leading to your desired results. How do you view change? Do you fear it, ignore it or embrace it?

By making change your ally, you can grab opportunities and convert them into realities…realities that will create a happier, more rewarding career for you and enhance your overall quality of life.

To develop a positive attitude toward change, consider working with a career coach to help you focus on your goals and create an action plan to attain them. What specifically do you want to change…your career, industry, employer, or way of life? Do you want to explore self-employment possibilities? How do you answer the question – what is most important?

The answer is within your grasp. Just take that first step to define how you want to spend the rest of your life. Create the vision of what you want your life to look like and then make it happen!