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10 Career Change Myths

Career Myth #1: You can't make a living doing something you really, truly love This is the grand-daddy of career myths, the belief that you can't have a "practical" career doing something that you were passionate about. It has to be one or the other. This myth is rooted in fear. Fear that we have to sacrifice our happiness to make a living. Don't buy the myth that you can't earn a living by doing what you love. When I first started coaching, I heard from plenty of people that it would be very difficult to make a living doing this work.

I just decided to find coaches who were successful, and to learn from them (simple, eh?). If you find yourself buying into this myth, consider this question - As you look back on your life, what will you regret more? Following your passion or following your fears? Career Myth #2: It's a tough job market/economy Even when the newspapers and other news sources say that unemployment numbers remain steady, that job growth is at a standstill, or that we're experiencing slow economic recovery, not to mention downsizing and outsourcing, don't believe it. It's a myth because it doesn't reflect the whole story, the fact that that it's a different job market today. It's a changing economy. How we transition from job-to-job is different.

Hiring practices have shifted. So the job market has changed, but that doesn't necessarily make it tougher. What makes it tougher is that we've been slower to change. We've held on to old practices and old behaviors. That's not to say that old ways still don't work, but they're just not as effective. So I challenge you to just believe that it's a perfect job market for you to find work. I've had my college students try this, just for a week, and, more times than not, several of them find job leads or make important connections during the week. Career Myth #3: Changing careers is risky What's riskier than leaving what you know to pursue the unknown? Changing careers means leaving behind a piece of your identity - your "I'm a lawyer" response to the "what-do-you-do?" question. It might mean admitting to yourself that you made a mistake with an initial career choice. Or it might mean acknowledging that you're unsure of what's next.

And smart people always know what's next, right? Nope. Successful career changers often don't have a plan. In Working Identity: How Successful Career Changers Turn Fantasy into Reality by Herminia Ibarra, she provided evidence that waiting until you have a plan is actually riskier than just doing and experimenting. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is riskier than not changing careers if you're longing to do so. Here's why: The longing won't go away. It will always be there, under the surface, waiting for you to do something about it. Career Myth #4: Always have a back-up plan Sometimes having a back-up plan is the smart and prudent course of action. Back-up plans are so grown-up and responsible. But what happens when you're standing with one foot in and one foot out? In my experience, we usually close the door and retreat. We are reluctant to commit to ourselves, and we end up denying ourselves the satisfaction of playing full-out, getting dirty and sweaty.

We end up with feelings of regret and the nagging "What if?" question. Back-up plans diffuse our energy. Diffused energy equals diffused results. Give all that you've got to your dream/passion/risk and you've got a better chance of being successful. Career Myth #5: There's a perfect job out there for everyone How long have you been searching for yours? You just know, deep inside, that there's an ideal job that's perfect for you out there. It matches your personality, skills, and interests to a tee. And it pays well. If only you could figure it out. If only you knew what it was. Is there a perfect job out there for you? No.

And here's the good news - there are more jobs than you can imagine that would be "perfect" for you. Chances are you've even come very, very close to a few of those perfect jobs already. So what happened? And how do you recognize one of these so-called "perfect jobs"? Ever see the perfect gift for someone, but it was months till his or her birthday? Then when you go to find the item later, you can't. Another lost opportunity and you, once again, berate yourself for not buying it when you first saw it. So maybe you've run into a perfect job in the past, but because of the timing, you passed by the opportunity. Or maybe you were so focused on something else, that you missed an obvious clue. Instead of dwelling on the past, which you can't change, vow to keep your eyes open and to look beyond the obvious. Career Myth #6: Asking "What's the best thing for me to do?" is the right question This is one of the most common questions asked when considering a career change or a career move. It seems like a logical analysis - weigh the pros and cons and evaluate the balance.


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Career Coaching Leadership Boundaries
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