February 11, 2011
Find your true (job) love: Soul searching can lead you to your passion
Special to NWjobs
Some people will wake up on Valentine’s Day ready to embrace the day with a big bear hug. For others, the day will mean just another Monday that they won’t be feeling the love for their job.
The Conference Board reported that in early 2010, job satisfaction was at a 20-year low of just 45 percent — suggesting that more than half of American workers, sadly, aren’t exactly passionate about their work.
Local career experts say some strategic soul searching can go a long way in finding the love of your life, at least in terms of the right career.
Stacy Sipinen, 47, says she was miserable in her job in software sales, but a nice paycheck and the state of denial she lived in kept her from admitting it. Meanwhile, she says, she suffered from anxiety, migraines and fatigue, and didn’t know why.
“It was just 10 years of doing something that wasn’t really where I fit,” Sipinen says.
Test your strengths
Bellevue College’s Center for Career Connections offers two free Web-based career-exploration programs, Discover and Choices Planner. The center also administers the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory personality tests for $25 each. Call 425-564-2279 or visit Bellevue College’s Center for Career Connections' website.
On a friend’s suggestion, she went to see Curt Rosengren, a self-proclaimed “Passion Catalyst.” His career-coaching program helps people identify what makes them tick so they can put more of that into their careers. Sipinen began to examine the activities in her life that drained her and those that gave her energy.
Careerpath.com offers free online tests to assess everything from your level of job satisfaction to what first or second careers might be right.
She realized that she didn’t like being out in front of people — a must in sales. As someone who organizes her closet for fun, she relished creating data metrics and implementing organizational systems that support sales teams.
Six months ago, Sipinen got a behind-the-scenes job as a sales operations associate for Jones Soda Co. “The days just fly by,” she says. “It actually gives me energy.”
“One of the things I often run into,” Rosengren says, “is that people have a skewed picture of what ‘pursuing your passion’ means. They think in terms of being a famous artist or rock star or all these fancy things, and if you can’t do them, you’re stuck in a nine-to-five rut. But that’s far from all there is.”
He asks his clients what they love doing and why they love it. “As we explore these, common themes start to bubble up toward the surface,” he says.
Make the call
Georgia Graham, a former vice president of human resources who participated in a telephone workshop with Rosengren, says one of the keys to her transition was talking in a group. “Processing things with other people really triggered a lot for me,” she says. “I finally just realized I needed to make my move.” Graham now divides her time between private HR consulting and pursuing her other passion of interior design consulting.
It’s also important to examine self-imposed barriers and take a second look at the reasons you think you can’t do something different, says Subhan Schenker, who teaches a course at North Seattle Community College called “Finding the Work You Love.”
“We always look outside ourselves at money, family, opportunity — pointing the finger at why you’re not getting what you need,” says Schenker, who also teaches meditation. “As we start to take that responsibility ourselves, new doors begin to open.”
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