You don’t have to look very far to find people who’re trapped in the wrong job or profession…
Carpenters who should have been accountants.
Accountants who should have been horticulturists.
Horticulturists who should have opened an animal shelter.
There are lots of reasons why people get, or stay, on the wrong career path.
You might be surprised to hear that the obvious reason – money – is actually pretty low on the list.
That’s because, unless you are truly at the subsistence level, money is all too often an excuse used to mask deeper issues.
Let’s take a closer look at what may really be holding you back.
Despite the occasional story about the physician who walked away to become a florist or the attorney turned singer, the overwhelming majority of unhappy people choose to stay miserably stuck largely out of pride.
Put another way, it’s a lot easier to keep that lousy job than to stand up and admit to the world that they zigged when they should have zagged.
Of course it’s possible that you really did love their chosen career – at least in the beginning…
But over time, you and your work, well, you just grew apart.
If this sounds familiar, chances are what keeps you on the wrong path is, just like a relationship gone bad, it’s hard to walk away from a career into which you’ve put so much time and effort — to say nothing of the financial investment.
After earning her master’s degree in social work some fifteen years ago, she went into private practice as a family therapist.
For the first five or so years, Donna got a lot of satisfaction out of helping others. For the last ten though, her work has felt more like a burden.
So what keeps her there? It’s simple.
Donna doesn’t want to “waste” the degree.
Look, I know it’s not easy to turn your back on an established career, especially if it’s one that pays well, has some prestige associated with it, or required earning some kind of advanced degree.
Yet, think about the logic here.
If you identify with Donna’s dilemma what you’re really telling yourself is…
“I’ve wasting the last 10 years of my life so I might as well throw away the next 20 as well. To hell with my true gifts, I’ve got more suffering to do.”
So if you’re hanging on to a job or career because of all the time and money you’ve invested, you need to get in touch with the one thing that should really scare the heck out of you…
Namely, never getting to experience what your life would be like if you pursued your true gifts and passions.
Once you’ve let that little reality sink in, sit down and write a “Dear John” letter to your past love.
Tell your career that while it has been a good and faithful partner for some time… you’ve simply fallen out of love and it’s time to move on.
Your former passion will understand.
Then pick up a paintbrush, look into culinary school, or otherwise start courting your new love interests.
As George Bernard Shaw once observed, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”