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Finding a new career is like finding a new soulmate

If you're surfing this website, you probably realize you need time to find your romantic partner and you probably can't just hire a matchmaker.

Amazingly, seasoned professionals expect career services to match them with their soul-satisfying work within a few hours. These tips come from my ebook, Nine Magic Keys to Career Freedom.

Outside the comfort zone

When you are undergoing a career change, you step out of your comfort zone. By definition, a comfort zone iswell, comfortable. Once you felt in control of a high-powered career. Now you have neither control nor career. It's frustrating and scary.


When you break up a relationship, you also step outside a comfort zone.The more you had, the more you feel you have lost. You wonder if you will find another partner. Dating is scary and frustrating, and you don't know the rules, especially if you haven't done it awhile.


Forget quick fixes

Most modern professionals wouldn't dream of consulting a matchmaker to find a new mate. They wouldn't expect to get a list of their five ideal mates, chosen from a few thousand possibiliteis. They realize they need time for grief and self-discovery.


Faced with a career change, the same people head for counselors, seeking instant answers and easy fixes.
"I want to know that I've made the right decision," people tell me. "And I want to get answers now."


Sophisticates who scoff at match-making eagerly sign up for aptitude tests. I can't speak for match-making, but every day I talk to people who are frustrated with the results of their expensive vocational tests.


If you're an adult with significant work experience, these tests typically show you are very well suited to your own occupation. That's like saying your soulmate will strongly resemble the spouse you just left.


Co-Create your new career

And, the second time around, you probably don't seek a mate with "cute looks, great dancer, gets the juices flowing." A divorced friend evaluates potential mates on "likelihood of taking out garbage" and "coexistence with my cat."


When successful people contemplate career transition, they soon realize they don't care about whether a career will "use my math skills" or "let me work with fashion."

They talk about autonomy, travel, and life purpose -- and they realize they have to co-create these qualities in their chosen careers.

Most people reach career goals the way they meet their soulmates: they're open to meeting people, they're having fun, and they're not desperate. Rarely, outside fiction, does someone say, "I need to get married in three months," and achieve a long-lasting, happy marriage.

"It's worth the wait..."

People who have learned not to be afraid of solitude can wait for marriage, and people who can handle the displacement of transition will probably find their soul-satisfying career.

Second marriages often are built on a more solid platform than first marriages, and second careers can create lives that are far more meaningful than their predecessors. Yes, it takes time, but it's worth the wait.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast move to career freedom. Visit her site http://www.movinglady.com or call 505-534-4294.


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Career and life transition