Wanting to make a career change? Find your passion!
How can you do that?
- Ask yourself throughout the day which activities give you energy.
- Be mindful of how you feel during the day after engaging in an activity.
- If the interchange or activity drains you and you feel tired, it’s not your passion. If you feel energized, it is. Make a mental note!
Midlife Career Change for Me
My own journey to starting a new career began when I was around 45 years old. I read an article saying that one way to ward off dementia was to do something completely different at midlife, something you’ve never done before.
That got me thinking. As a librarian, my job was rewarding, but I knew that it was not something I could do in my old age. This launched me into two years of thought about what I wanted to do next.
I realized that I love helping others, but had learned that it was damaging to overextend myself for others. Described well in this video, some people call that co-dependence!
However, I noticed that it made me happy to help others, that it gave me energy. Also, I had learned how to set boundaries so that I did not overextend myself.
- I learned to say, “No.”
- I learned to set time limits on activities.
- I had learned to play and rest more.
Check out this video on Setting Boundaries.
I also knew that being alone and working in isolation for long periods of time made me wilt like a dry flower. As someone who hovers between extroversion and introversion, I need a balance of time alone and time with others. (Watch this Introvert vs Extrovert Conversation.)
Find Your Passion By Trying New Things
While serving as Romance Language Cataloger at Harvard Law School, I took a six-week class on active listening. It was one of the most rewarding things I had ever done. Before taking this class, I thought good communication was talking to an audience. Unfortunately, I had been talking “at” people.
After the class, I knew how to listen carefully and validate other’s experience through active listening. I learned how to talk “with” people. This skill literally changed my life. It was energizing and invigorating! I love listening to others and validating their experience through active listening. Little did I know that this was a basic tool in counseling. This clip from Everybody Love Raymond, explains it with humor.
Don’t Let Others Steer You Away from What You’re Passionate About
I remembered reading the sociology and psychology books that my sister brought home from college. They were so interesting. I loved learning about other cultures and the mind. I also remembered that by the time I was in high school, my desire was to become a psychologist.
My teacher in Psychology 101 said on the first day, “We need to be honest with ourselves. The reason we study psychology is to control others.” I was shocked. I did not want to control others. I wanted to help them. So I studied religion and philosophy instead and ultimately became a librarian.
Let me help you discover your passion and find the career and job that’s right for you.
Acknowledging that I love helping others, my personality was between introvert/extrovert, and I loved using active listening, it all came together. I decided to become a psychotherapist, and I love it.
So, I encourage you to be mindful of how you feel during your daily activities. Identify the ones that give you energy, so that you can know your passion. Then you will be closer to finding the career that will enliven you each day.