Is this you?
- I haven’t been happy at this for the past five or six years.
- I didn’t really choose this career.
- I don’t even know what I want to do.
- Every time I think about leaving it, I feel guilty.
- Shouldn’t I be grateful for what I have?
If you feel this way, you are not alone!
Take Susan, a professor with tenured status, who came to me after twenty years of teaching. She was proud of her mid-life Ph.D., but she felt guilty and confused because she couldn’t find the passion in her work. She couldn’t find her yippee.
And most importantly, she was operating on an assumption. This assumption is a common one and can hold you back from finding the work you love:
If I leave/change my long-term career it means I’ve wasted my life.
When I was a child, there were times when I would literally wear out a favorite piece of clothing. And then my mother would say, “You certainly got the good out of that!” And we both knew it was time let it go.
So it can be with your career.
It served you well, but now it’s time to get something that fits better. You are a different person in a different place with different interests, needs, and passions!
Happily, the differences between a career and a worn out sweater are that you can take so much with you. In Susan’s case:
- The students and colleagues she met
- Contacts in her field
- Paid research trips abroad that gave her amazing memories
- The skills to plan and schedule a guest reading series
- The ability to present in front of crowds
- Advocating for herself with deans and Department Heads
- The confidence to know she could actually complete a Ph.D.
- And so on…
- This list is ENDLESS!
This is a let-it-go list and making it can feel SO good. It can actually be the first step to propel you into something new, something fresh, something Yippee!
A let-it-go-list helps you take everything good you can from that experience and leave the guilt behind!