ABCs of Your Career Journey – F is for Fulfillment

When I was in high school, I thought I wanted to be a dermatologist.  I had a skin condition on my eye lid so my parents took me initially to my general practitioner.  When he could not recommend a solution, we then visited an eye doctor who also had no recommendations.  We finally went to a dermatologist who prescribed a wash and cream and within a day I was much better.

The issue of pursuing this career path is that I was not good in Chemistry.  Actually I got a really bad grade in it.  I then decided that business was probably a better path for me so I applied to Bryant College (now Bryant University).  I had always had excellent grades in English so the person who interviewed me suggested I be a Business Communications major which was the first year the college was having it.  I truly enjoyed the writing and public speaking courses.  I also had an internship at KPMG in New York in their Public Relations department when I was home on breaks.

Upon graduation unfortunately the firm was not hiring so I went to work for a small marketing and sales promotion agency.  Nine months later I received a call that there was a position available in the Executive Search practice at KPMG.  After a management buyout of the practice, I had two other stints in executive search and then started my own firm in 1991.  By 2008, I was restless so I decided to get my professional coaching certification which I found rewarding because I like helping others reach their goals.  I still missed making presentations and writing however so I became a blog writer for my website as well as have written for others like the Huffington Post.  My real love though is conducting workshops/trainings across the United States as well as virtually so I do that for corporations and conferences and I am also an Adjunct Professor at Bryant.

Although money is important I believe that if you feel fulfilled with your career the money will come.  Too many of my clients get hung up on the dollars and then realize they are in a role that is not the right fit for them.  More importantly the position may have been ideal for a while but passions, priorities, and all the other aspects of life have changed and you find yourself dreading to go to work every morning.  The issues are “how do you figure out what position you want?” and “how do I go about getting it?”  I tell my clients to have “coffee cup dates” with a wide range of people who have occupations that may interest them.  I also have them read autobiographies/biographies of people they admire.  By doing the latter, my clients quickly realize it most probably won’t be a straight shot to what they want but instead stepping-stones in the right direction.  The first step is to try but I hear a thousand and one excuses on why they don’t do it.

Pivoting your career is like gardening.  You have to review the seed catalog, pick out what you want (or buy plants), and then nurture them to make them grow.  Some will never make it while others may be redistributed due to birds, critters, and/or rain.  Others will flourish and sustain themselves year after year.  The point is that you may have to plant a lot of seeds/plants to get the garden you want.  Patience and resiliency is difficult but when you get that beautiful flower or delicious vegetable it will be well worth it.  Doesn’t your career deserve the same thing?