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1. The Spinning Compass – finding a new career in 360 degrees or less January 4, 2010

Posted by Lisa in All, Goals.
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I’ve thrown down before my feet a challenge – find the next phase of my life and career in 360 degrees or less.

Like many of you, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing.  Am I happy in my current career path?  No.  Do I feel I can do more and be happier?  Yes.

Time to reassess.

So rather than linearly spewing electronic resumes, sprinkling the right keywords for the job board resume parsers and keeping my fingers crossed, I’m going to try something different.  Since I don’t really know what the hell I want,  I’m going to look in all the unexpected places.  And I’m purposely NOT going to look for a job.  I’m going to explore one thing at a time until that big AHA happens!  And each day I’ll tell you what happened.

See, I lost my job just before Christmas, on my son’s birthday.  Which happens to be Pearl Harbor Day.  Not that that really matters, but the mind conjures causes and rationalizations and coincidences when slammed with sudden shocking news before the first cup of morning coffee.

Now, I knew it was coming.  Doesn’t make it easier. However there’s one aspect of the situation that’s particularly relevant here – at no other point in my career was I ever made so clearly aware that I was a square peg in a round hole.

And this was no flexible kid’s toy where some give-and-take on each side can make for a less-than-perfect but works-out-just-fine situation.  Over the years, I’ve morphed into the star, the triangle, and every other cut-out on the board using all the tools in my toolbox.  I enjoy playing several different roles because I get bored and frustrated in a tightly confined, pigeon-holed situation.

But this time, in Yoda-speak, morph I could not do.  I found this round hole was cut from titanium, steel, carbon fiber even.  I’d shaved off and recasted several parts of myself to no avail.  Sometimes good people and companies just don’t sync.

My career, if plotted out nicely, would look like a strong branching tree.  Myriad greens and flowers. I’ve had great success in several functions and industries.  But I’ve followed opportunities based serendipity and my excitement for the challenge rather than by carving a predetermined linear career path to the mahogany office.  Engineer and consultant in several fields, technologist, researcher, grant writer, published author.  Professor, curriculum designer, graduate adviser, speaker.

There’s a lot I can do.  But what do I want to do?

It’s time to throw all my experience, wants and dreams on the table and reassess.

Which brings me to here – compass heading 1 degrees.

Every day I’m going to look in a different direction.  About career, about life, about anything that may not even seem relevant.  Because something is going to trigger the next big move.  And I’m not putting much stock in Monster.com.

1 down, 359 to go.

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