Transitions and inner callings

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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.

What’s next?

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.

One response

  1. Wow Dr. Yamada. This is a great quote. Thank you. I’ll get this book.
    I am in career transition and have been for several years now. It has been a journey of discovery….and the gamut of emotions that go with that. After all is said and done this is the conclusion(s) I’ve come to.

    1) Do what experientially “feels good”….not what you think will bring happiness.
    2) Follow your passions…but not at the expense of your peace of mind…or your passion(s)
    3) Do what you’re good at and that “connects” you….even if you’re sick of it…have burned out…or been bullied to death. But Transformation is the focus.
    4) The key to all of this? As you have said….”Looking Inward”. I.E…..mental renewal. I.E…Looking at things differently. Doing things differently. Ultimately….Transformation. I.E….you must come to know who & what your are at some of your deepest levels before you can make the “outside” of your life work for you.

    Example:
    I am an IT Professional. I became disenchanted with the Production Environment(s) of the Corporate World. I decided to never go back. However….I found that I’m a pretty good Teacher/Trainer. Now I am an MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) and teach others what I have learned in the Corporate Production World. Both technically and experientially.
    The result? Happiness….as the Constitution says.

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