A lot of people who find their way to this blog are in transitional stages of their work lives, often because of bad experiences at a current or previous job. Some are contemplating a change of employers or even vocations.
Concrete stuff like finances and living expenses obviously come into play, and the practical challenges of paying the bills may compete with attempts to engage in big picture thinking about one’s life.
Nevertheless, we shouldn’t avoid looking inward, in some cases digging deep to turn a setback into an opportunity to consider and create options. For those in this position, William Bridges’s Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes (rev. ed., 2004) may be very useful. Here’s a brief passage (p. 79):
People who have discounted or blocked out the inner callings from the future have cut themselves off from the very signals that really vital people use to stay on their paths of their own development. It is no wonder that people who have silenced those inner signs find meaningful careers difficult to launch and to maintain, or that when they encounter times of transition, they are so confused and distressed.
Bridges, a leading authority on personal transitions whose own life has been shaped by loss and major changes, devotes an entire chapter to “Transitions in the Work Life.” Overall, this is a wise and helpful book for those who want to get beyond quick advice and breezy self-help manuals. It’s especially helpful for folks who are transitioning during mid-life and beyond and who are eager to think deeply about how they want to create the rest of their lives.