The 5 major “career ailments”

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably doing some soul searching about your job, your life, your work, however you label it. Otherwise, why be here? So, truth be told, I’m not sure if this will be of any interest to you, but I figure you’ve got one of five major “career ailments” if you’re swirling around here.

1. I’m in a rough patch and I’m looking for clues as to what to do about it.

2. I’m unemployed and having no luck finding anything. Help!

3. I think I’ve finished my education, at least for a while. Now I need to find a paying job.

4. I’m finishing my career, and I want to start sharing my abilities with others, doing new things.

5. God, I’m bored, frazzled, or just plain empty. Not always sure which. Please hear me.

Those are the stories I hear all the time. The amount of untapped human potential that walks through my life everyday is immense. People that are worried, broke, bored, stressed, frantic, confused, unsure. You get the picture. Sometimes I get to see the side of these same people when they’re excited, engaged, trusting, confident. Same meeting, same conversation. It’s amazing.

And then I feel bad when I don’t get a chance to help them. And of course, since this is a business, I also think about them as a prospect, as a possible bump to the revenue for the month, and the associated “which coach is this person going to best resonate with?”, and a bunch of other things that represent the business of “career coaching”. But life and business go on, and I have more conversations.

What is most interesting in this, I have discovered, is that all of the 5 major career aliments have only a few dimensions. It really comes down to 3 factors —

ONE: How passionate are you about what you are doing? And if its not your passion, is it at least great fun and highly enjoyable and really engaging?

TWO: How employed are you? On the spectrum of unemployed to under-employed to fully employed, where is your needle?

THREE: Where are you in your own personal journey of life? Are you just starting out, getting into the flow, or raising our heads saying “what’s next”?

What’s interesting is that most any combination can come up, there are a number of patterns in the conversations. You get lots of people who have “safe” jobs in terms of stability and predictability, who are bored out of their minds and by all indicators, highly under-employed. Big waste of talent.

Another combo — currently unemployed, and definitely not clear on what they are passionate about. In fact, not sure they’re ever been passionate.Impatient, unsure. Most times however at some point in the conversation you see a spark of a real authentic person who knows they can contribute, although its usually well hidden under the stress, confusion, and humiliation of not having meaningful, rewarding work.

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