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What to Ask Yourself When Considering Midlife Career Change, 2

June 17th, 2014 · midlife career change

In my first post on midlife career change, I looked at the issue of vocation and some other factors essential to career change at midlife.

midlife career change

In this post, I look at additional factors that may help to decide whether to make a midlife career change.

What Kind of “Reward” Do I Want and Need?

Undoubtedly, everyone has heard the expression “money talks”. But is it the sole thing speaking in our lives, or are other things trying to get our attention, as well?

Money is one of the few things that everyone in our society values. Why? Because money has a neutral character. Whatever it is that one might want, one can pay money, and get it. So it’s a value to all kinds of different people who value all kinds of different things.

Because of its special character, money is also tied to status. There is a tendency in our culture to assign a higher social standing to someone, simply because she has a lot of money.

So, for many reasons like these, we may well feel that we need to go after money, and that it needs to be the key value in our lives.  To what extent should money be the determining factor in our work or vocation in the second half of life?

We need a certain amount of money. But is money enough, for us to lead a good life, past midlife? Often depth psychotherapy uncovers values in individual’s lives that are truly greater than money, but it also uncovers our money shadow:

 

 

To deal in therapy with career and vocation, we may well need to confront and deal with our money complex. What really is “adequate reward” for our work — in every sense of the word?

The Precious Nature of Time

I once was working therapeutically with a lawyer who decided to give up the law, because it didn’t leave room for anything else in his life.  I asked him if he had gained anything positive from the practice of law.  “Yes” he told me, “One very big thing. I learned that, for me, the single most valuable thing there is, is time to devote to the things that really matter to me.”

He was right.  Journeying through the second half of life, we often confront the awareness that the time remaining is short and it’s precious.  Five years, ten years — time was much easier to squander at an earlier point in life.  But now I live in the reality that I simply cannot have everything that I want in the available time.  A key question is: how do you most want to spend your precious time? midlife career change

You can’t have it all.  What, to you, is worth spending time on?  It may take deep soul searching, to properly decide.

The Individual Equation

With work and vocation, it’s essential to not lose sight of one’s unique personal nature and needs.  As Jung was fond of saying, “Only that which is truly oneself, heals.” Often the journey of midlife leads through the issues of vocation and possible midlife career change.  Jungian psychotherapy can be of immense help in finding your own genuine priorities.

PHOTO:  Attribution Share Alike  ©   Hermetic Hermit ; Robert S. Donovan  VIDEO: “Money” © Virgin Records, 1979
© 2014 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

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What to Ask Yourself When Considering Midlife Career Change, 1

June 9th, 2014 · midlife career change

Many people will consider making a midlife career change, and here are some important questions to ask to decide if a career change is right for you.

midlife career change Rather than starting from the place that a career change will “fix everything”, a depth psychotherapist would tend to start with questions about the relationship to oneself.

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 IS the Issue Really Career?

This might be a hard question to answer clearly. Often, the need for a career change can seem so immediate and compelling. Yet, it’s very important to remember that it is very common to encounter deep unease at midlife transition. It can be very easy to blame externals for that unease, such as one’s career.  But it’s essential to ask whether the issue is really career, or whether other factors within myself, or between myself, others  and/or the world may be involved.

Most meaningful and effective midlife career change will result from some resolution or growth in my relationship to myself, and not the other way around.  Career change is not a magic bullet making everything alright  — but it can be an important part of connecting with who I am now.

What are My Values — Now?

This whole question of understanding myself at midlife is related importantly to the question of my key values.  Those are the things that I hold to be important and precious in life.

As a person goes through the middle of life, it will be essential to ask, what are my values now? Have the things that are important to me changed as I’ve moved into the middle of my life? It’s very common that what was important to me when I was in my twenties is no longer as important to me in my 40’s. It may well be that some other key values have taken their place. It’s essential to know what’s important to me before I embark on any process of midlife career change.

midlife career change

What is My Vocation?

The question of values is intimately related to the question of vocation. As Ryan Duffy of the University of Florida reminds us, vocation literally means “call”, and, many people would see this word is having a specifically religious meaning. But it does not need to be viewed like that. It is possible to ask oneself the question in this way:

What is it that my own deepest being calls me too, or wants me to do? What is it, that, when I do it, something in me feels a profound rightness about it, or rejoices in doing it?

Sometimes, people really know what this is. Sometimes, it only becomes apparent through in-depth soulwork.

Often a person’s vocation will need to be expressed in their choice of career. But almost equally often, the thing or things that a person does that are of greatest importance to them, may be something outside of their work, and it may be essential to choose a career that doesn’t get in the way of the fulfillment of this vocation.

What is my calling?  Again, it can often take the real discernment that comes through depth psychotherapy to know how to best fulfill a calling from the person’s inner being. In my next post, I’ll continue with other important questions to ask when considering a mid-life career change.

PHOTO:  Attribution Share Alike  © JonathanCombe  ;  Ben
© 2014 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

 

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