I’m talking about a personal big bang and then suddenly everything in your life is thrown up in the air? A major personal big bang for me happened in December 2009/January 2010.
Like so many other women in their late teens/early 20s- I did what I thought I should be doing and what everyone else was doing. After spending five years in college, I was working as a HR & Employment Law consultant with one of Ireland’s top consultancy firms. I worked with companies all around Ireland, advising boards of Directors, CEO’s and business owners. I got to travel. I had an expense account. I had a boyfriend I had been with for six years and whom my family adored. I had the picture perfect life for a young twenty-something. I was on my way apparently!
But something wasn’t right and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I had a horrible anxious feeling that plagued me and just wouldn’t go away, it was like a black hole or an emptiness feeling in my chest. I had panic attacks, I was anxious all the time; I was overweight (I had put on 2 stone without even realising it) and just plain miserable. Everyone else seemed happy and I really thought there was something wrong with me. I was confused, unsure and totally lost. I had reached the place that I had been striving towards for years and now I was asking myself, ‘Is this it?’
I was miserable in my work and it was completely unexpected. A redundancy situation arose in my firm and as I was last in, I was first to go. I was devastated but being made redundant was the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to step back and take a long hard look at myself, my life and my career. The job had been a really bad fit and by then I could see that the boyfriend was too. He must have sensed this because, after six years, I got dumped- BY TEXT. At the time it was extremely painful and sad, but it was necessary for both of us.
So when I was freed up from two bad fits in my life, was I any happier? Absolutely not! In fact, I was worse. I had defined myself by my career and by my relationship, and while I knew that they just didn’t fit me, now it was just me and without them- I felt lost and I just didn’t know who I was anymore. I was in the middle of an identity crisis!
There I was, feeling lost. No Job. No relationship and nowhere to turn. You see, I was the one who all my friends turned to when their lives hit a bump. For years I had been the ‘go to girl’ for guidance in a crisis. For years, my friends, and their friends had been coming to me in times of trouble. Now, I was the one whose life was in crisis, but there was no one amongst my peers who I could turn to.
I knew I needed to get to know myself, understand myself, so I set out to discover who Paula really was and what she really wanted. I had always kept diaries and at the age of 14 I had written in a diary, ‘I want to be a life coach’. I had completely dismissed the idea because I believed I had to be in my forties or fifties and have grey hair to be a coach! But when I read that statement – something clicked.
It took a while for the coin to drop and for me to see that I needed to be my own first real client in a new career as a life coach. I could now see a trend in everything I enjoyed- the films I watched, the books I read, the conversations and the people I adored- my passion was coaching and it had been for almost 15 years. I had been unconsciously preparing myself- I had even attended two training courses in coaching, ‘Just as a hobby!’
I enrolled in a diploma in Life Coaching in 2010 and loved every second of it, graduating in 2011 with Distinction. When I started working with clients on a pro-bono basis (just for fun!), I found that I was mostly attracting women in their 20s and 30s because they could relate to my life experience, career mishaps and my age!
I’ve been quite fortunate since my big bang to have spent the past 5-6 years exploring my passion and living my purpose and during that time, I have had the privilege of meeting and working with so many of my ‘tribe’- these are other women who like you, yearn for something more, something deeper and something meaningful.
I’ve been able to create a profile of how they describe their career experience and I’m guessing that you’ll recognise yourself here too!
Do you know this person?
- You’re so uninspired and bored that you want to chew your foot off!
You took the job because you thought it was the right decision. Maybe the pay was good, or you felt you were doing the “right thing” taking a job that you knew in your heart of hearts wasn’t really what you wanted to be doing. And you were right. Every day you simply feel deflated, bored, and uninspired. There’s nothing about the work that feels engaging or remotely interesting. So if this is you, my question to you is ‘Do you really want to spend 8-10 hours a day doing something you hate for years and years?’ I didn’t think so! It’s time to move on.
2. You feel restricted, confined and suffocated.
The job may be great. The pay is really good. And the people are pleasant enough. But the fit just isn’t right. Maybe you’re a free-spirited artist working in a tight collared office or a numbers cruncher working with free-spirited artists! The culture of the office just isn’t you, and you feel restricted, confined and suffocated. You can’t change who you are, and you’ll always feel misplaced if you don’t find the best fit for you.
3. You don’t believe in what you do.
You may have a great job, but if you don’t believe in the product or service your company is promoting, then you can’t be truly successful on the job. How can you support something that goes against your values, your integrity, or your standards? Find a job where you feel proud and happy to support the business of the business.
4. You’ve hit a dead end.
The job you have now is great. But will the same job be great in 5 or 10 years? If there’s no way to move forward, no room for promotion and growth, then you’ll be at a dead end with your career. Leave now before you feel resentment and frustration.
5. You are feeling stress and anxiety.
You are regularly working long hours or even on the weekends. Your boss pressures you or the expectations for performance are higher than the reality of what’s possible. The office environment is intense and always fast-paced. If you are regularly feeling stressed, anxious, and depleted, your mental and physical health will suffer. Is this job really worth your health?
6. You aren’t stretching yourself.
When you first began this job, it was fun and challenging. But now it’s so easy you can do it with one arm tied behind your back. Yes, it makes the work far less stressful and demanding, but are you growing as a professional? It’s time to take the next step toward your career passion.
7. It isn’t your passion.
Your job is OK. You can live with it. It isn’t bad every day. But what if you could wake up excited about your job every day? What if it felt more like play than work? What if it was deeply fulfilling and interesting – perfectly matched with your interests, skills, and values? There’s no better time than right now to uncover your passion and find work that supports it. As you find your passion, you’ll discover your current job is no longer acceptable.
So, could you recognise yourself? It’s interesting isn’t it, how many different ways a job can make us feel lousy, low energy and uninspired. It doesn’t have to be this way and I’d like to invite you to embark on a personal mission to become your own career manager and discover your passion and purpose!
I’m running a 6 week programme ‘Conquer Your Career Crisis‘ starting on the 30th April 2015. This is the ONLY time in 2015 that I’ll be running this programme! It’s limited to a small group so everyone can get individual attention, all the resources will be available online so you can work around your own schedule, you’ll have a private facebook group, 3 live coaching calls and lifetime access! All for only €147 (payment plan available). Will you be joining us? Click here to register now!