Is Your Vocation a Vacation?

According to Mark Twain, “The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation.” Many coaching clients come to me looking to change careers.  Sometimes they know what they want to do, and sometimes they don’t.    A key question to answer: are you in the wrong career or are you in the wrong work environment?  Do you hate what you do, or do you hate your boss? These are all important considerations if you are contemplating making a job or career change and want to have a better experience the next go round!

Phyllis Korkki of the New York Times recently wrote an excellent article   on the topic that includes quotes from Nicholas Lore, founder of the Rockport Institute, a career coaching firm, and author of “The Pathfinder.” He says, “The way that people pick careers is incredibly primitive.” It’s no wonder, then, that so many people are dissatisfied with their jobs.

After all, how did you pick your career, your job?  Was it money?  Prestige?  Parental pressure?  Any or all of those can be a fine way to go, as long as you don’t come home at the end of your workday feeling drained and dissatisfied.  If you do feel dissatisfied, it’s important to consider, is it the environment, or is it the actual job content?

In Korkki’s article, Lore adds that people place too high a value on the external rewards of a job, like money, prestige and power. While these can be important, he says, a job’s intrinsic nature — the types of tasks you do, the skills these require and the perceived meaning and value of your work — are more vital to a sense of fulfillment.

Additionally, Korkki spoke with Robert I. Sutton, a professor and organizational psychologist at Stanford University who notes that unhappiness with your career choice goes to the root of your identity and your sense of authenticity.  Sutton adds that a symptom of being in the wrong career may be constant annoyance with demands made of you, even though these may be reasonable for the business you’re in.

So, if you find yourself feeling dissatisfied with your work, it is important to evaluate what is really at the root of the issue.  I picked up Lore’s book “Pathfinder” and think it is one of the best books I’ve ever read on career choice and design and heartily recommend it if you are contemplating  a change.  In my work, I agree with Lore that all too often, it is negative thinking that stops us from moving forward with our heart’s desire.  Check out his site and his book to get more information, and consider working with a life or career coach if you need a little more assistance. As Norman Cousins put it, “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. “

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Date: Tuesday, 20. July 2010 15:02
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