The Peter-Out Principle

Peter-out Principle

As we get older, it is harder and harder to do work we don’t enjoy. Why? Because our energy gets drained by such work…leaving us less and less energy for what we really want to do. This is the Peter Out principle, not to be confused with the infamous Peter Principle.

I have written elsewhere about that one, the notion that people get promoted on the job because of their natural flair for doing certain kinds of work until they reach a level of incompetence because that new job doesn’t require any of their natural talents or motivations. Or, to put it in more simple terms, people advance in their career until they stop having fun.

Many others, of course, never find that fun to begin with. They fall into a job, or take a job because they needed to support their kids, or because they don’t know what else to do. Work, for them, often becomes a grind, a duty, or an obligation to pay bills, cover the mortgage, or take care of family. It’s our bargain with the devil of job security that leads to dissatisfaction or worse:

“I’m stuck. I’m shackled in the golden handcuffs. I have good leave benefits and look forward to a half decent pension, but I do not enjoy the work that I am doing. I crave that creative side that seems to be missing from my life and yet I never seem to get around to. I find that there needs to be a buffer of time to get the ‘creative juices’ flowing- time I don’t seem to have after-work commitments and commuting. I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall….” This is a complaint I hear again and again from men and women in mid-career or middle age. It is experienced by huge numbers of people.

This is the Peter-Out Principle in action. The origin of the phrase peter out is thought to be associated with the name St. Peter, which in medieval France may have morphed into slang for the male sex appendage. So, to peter out means to fall off in power, to dwindle away to…nothing.

As far back as 1962, psychologist Abraham Maslow discovered that one of the best–if not the best–way to achieve personal power is through work. “All human beings prefer meaningful work to meaningless work. If work is meaningless, then life comes close to being meaningless.” In his hierarchy of needs, Maslow was simply pointing out what we all know to be true: that work is not just about making money, it’s also about making meaning.

Doing our work well requires some competency, confidence, or power. When our enthusiasm for work fizzles out, fades away, we might say we are petering out. When we work just for money, our desire for meaning, for vitality, for life ebbs away, tapers off, melts away–it peters out!

When considering this truth, I can’t help but think of Hazel McCallion, the mayor of Mississauga, Canada’s 9th largest city, who first won office at age 57 and just retired at age 93. If she worked only for money, she’d have retired a long time ago. No one could accuse her of petering out! She is one example of many who prove it is never too late to find work that energizes you.

As a job change expert, my goal is to help you do so by identifying, defining and mobilizing your Aptitudes, Attitudes, and Appropriate Actions.

George Dutch is the Founder and Chief Joy Officer at JobJoy. He has worked blue collar, white collar, private sector, public sector, and nonprofit. He has undertaken 3 major career transitions in his life, including two moves between continents with no prospect of a job, then landed lucrative positions. He knows of what he speaks because he's lived it. A certified career professional for the past 20 years, he has coached and consulted with thousands of individuals across North America and internationally. He can help you get ahead in both career and life with his proven services.

Managers Control Timing of Hiring: Get in Their Pipeline

People Pipeline for Managers

This is one of the key principles that I use when helping my clients find permanent positions. Every hiring manager has a pipeline that they fill with prospective employees because (1) they are always looking for good people, and (2) they know they must hire them at some point. It’s not a question of IF but when.

A year ago, one of my clients got laid off after 25+ years with the same employer, a large defense contractor. My client was devastated but keen to get a similar job ASAP. He did what most people do, and sent out dozens of resumes to online postings with no positive results. He got extremely discouraged, even angry. He’d never needed to look for a job before, and it was a very negative experience for him.

I’m not saying he or anybody else shouldn’t look online but the U.S. Department of Labor reports that only 5% of people in the workforce are hired by submitting resumes to online postings. Therefore, I suggested to my client that he spend only 10-20% of his time & energy looking for a job that way, and to be more pro-active in his job search by networking for referrals to find job opportunities, not job vacancies.

I have written elsewhere on the difference between a job vacancy and a job opportunity, and how to find them. The key here is I coached my client on how to reconnect with former clients and brief them on his new employment priorities and preferences and ask, “Do you know anyone I can talk to?” One such approach resulted in a referral from a contact in Halifax to a hiring manager at a naval engineering firm in Montreal.

My client arranged a coffee meeting during one of the manager’s routine visits to Ottawa last November. That manager indicated there may be some job opportunities opening up in the near future. My client came to count on this vague verbal hint at a job. He followed up by email and phone for several months and heard nothing back…and got very discouraged again.

I reminded him that getting another job was his top priority but the hiring manager had other pressing concerns, another crisis to deal with, another fire to put out. And, he may be waiting for the conclusion to a very large deal that could take more time to come to fruition than he or anybody expects.

I encouraged my client to maintain the rapport he established with that manager by sending him an update every 2 months. In the meantime, I suggested to my client that he keep looking for other opportunities. He was able to land a few short-term contracts.

Then out of the blue this week, that hiring manager called this week to offer him a permanent job starting next month almost to the day of their coffee meeting a year ago!
You can’t control the timing of a job opportunity. It will materialize according to the needs and priorities of the employer.

Your job as a job seeker is to get in the pipeline, maintain a relationship with the hiring manager, keep your skills current, and persist with your job search.
In this stagnant economy, persistence pays off!

George Dutch is the Founder and Chief Joy Officer at JobJoy. He has worked blue collar, white collar, private sector, public sector, and nonprofit. He has undertaken 3 major career transitions in his life, including two moves between continents with no prospect of a job, then landed lucrative positions. He knows of what he speaks because he's lived it. A certified career professional for the past 20 years, he has coached and consulted with thousands of individuals across North America and internationally. He can help you get ahead in both career and life with his proven services.

Avoid Burnout & Advance Career – Get in the zone!

Advance Career

Flow−the experience we have when we’re “in the zone”−has been studied for decades by psychologist Csikszentmihalyi. During a flow state, people are fully absorbed and highly focused…they lose themselves in the activity.

When your work utilizes your natural talents and motivations, when your daily grind is helping to create what really matters to you in life, then you are in your right work. There is a flow to it, an innate satisfaction abounds from it, and you derive genuine joy from what you do, a joy that is clearly evident to others.

Every job has a downside. We all have tasks we detest. Doing calculus homework in high school, for example, might be boring and hard if you have no knack for solving logical problems through numbers. You start but feel mentally exhausted, and you know you’re not getting the right answers.

But, you might also be an aspiring architect. Your math teacher clearly explains in detail how calculus can help you design more creative and ambitious structures. Your aspiration is personally important to you and the idea of creating interesting structures fascinates you. Suddenly, you see calculus in a new light. Instead of feeling exhausted by your homework, you now feel energized and motivated to learn to solve these problems. It’s the same work, but it now has a very different psychological effect on you.

Similarly, you might be in a helping profession, such as counselling, and have a strong desire to be self-employed in private practice working one-on-one with individual clients. But you can’t practice unless you have a funnel of clients who want your services. You don’t have a sales bone in your body. You once had a sales job and suffered burnout–it almost killed you.
But, now you gladly research sales and marketing tools techniques and implement them because your aspiration for self-employment is greater than you distaste for sales. You start to get clients and feel energized which, in turn, keeps you motivated to do the sales and marketing necessary to bring in clients.

Research shows that interest helps us perform our best without feeling fatigued. In one recent study, psychologists asked a group of undergraduates to work on word puzzles. Before they began, they were told them how exciting and enjoyable the task would be. Then they read a statement that framed the task as either personally valuable or of neutral value.

Those who read the first statement, and who also thought the task would be enjoyable, solved the most problems. Their engagement was more efficient because they were “in the zone” and not simply working on problems for a long period of time.

Psychology experiments often get participants to squeeze a spring-loaded exercise grip for as long as they can while performing another task to see if this increased performance makes people feel fatigued, or if high interest in a task maintains their mental resources. Much like the self-control needed to stay on task when we would rather do something more fun, resisting the urge to let go of your grip when it becomes uncomfortable also requires self-control. And that exertion of self-control is mentally fatiguing.

So, in a follow up study, psychologists found that people who thought the puzzle was highly enjoyable and highly important not only performed among the best, again, but they also squeezed the hand grip the longest. In other words, they solved the most problems, and it was not mentally exhausting for them. In contrast, those who were uninterested in the task generally performed worse, let go of the grip sooner, and were mentally fatigued by the effort.

Interest matters. It is crucial to keeping us motivated and effective without emptying our mental gas tank, and it can turn the mundane into something exciting.

Knowing the subject matter that most interests you, knowing your natural talents and motivations can help you harness “flow” to your advantage—to find your right work or advance your career.

George Dutch is the Founder and Chief Joy Officer at JobJoy. He has worked blue collar, white collar, private sector, public sector, and nonprofit. He has undertaken 3 major career transitions in his life, including two moves between continents with no prospect of a job, then landed lucrative positions. He knows of what he speaks because he's lived it. A certified career professional for the past 20 years, he has coached and consulted with thousands of individuals across North America and internationally. He can help you get ahead in both career and life with his proven services.

Writing the wrongs of job loss

Job Loss

Have you ever lost a job, been terminated one way or another? Not fun, right? Most people feel considerable anger and hostility about their termination experience–It’s not fair! It’s not right! Why me? Stupid management! Terrible decision!

The conventional wisdom among career professionals is to ignore these highly charged emotions and get their clients looking for another job right away. I beg to differ.

My personal and professional experience has demonstrated to me the necessity of taking time to deal with these feelings of anger, disappointment, and pain of rejection in an effective manner…before it deals with you!

The negative effects of job loss can be devastating for many individuals. I have learned that expressing these highly charged feelings, safely, helps to mitigate their power over individuals.

For example, I have a client who was terminated after 20+ years with the same company; even after six months he still gets angry about the “injustice” of his layoff, then falls into a depressive episode. I encouraged him to sit down, whenever this situation occurs, and write out his thoughts and feelings, just let it flow out in a stream of consciousness, no censoring, no editing. As he says, “the very act of articulating our thoughts and feelings can have a normalizing effect on the emotional state.”

Scientific proof

It is one thing to know this but another to prove it through a scientific approach. Luckily, that’s exactly what was done when researchers Spera, Buhrfeind & Pennebaker (1994) designed a study to address the emotional effects of job loss with 63 recently unemployed professionals (mostly middle-aged engineers). They tested the impact of disclosive writing on their subsequent reemployment activity and success.

Interestingly, results showed no real difference between experimental and control groups on behaviours related to:

a. reducing stress as indicated by self-report measures and physiological markers (blood pressure, weight, and heart rate); or,
b. increasing motivation to look for another job as evidenced by phone calling, letter writing, and interviewing behaviours.

Notably, however, the researchers did find that those who wrote about their thoughts and emotions were reemployed more quickly than those who wrote about non-traumatic topics or those who did not write at all.

They caution both job seekers and their career counsellors about dismissing this psychological processing in favour of immediate job search activity.

do-kids-write-autobiography-themselves-120X120

In addition, the subjects themselves were adamant that the writing process would have been more useful to them at the time of departure from their jobs than it was several months later.

That is why writing exercises are at the core of what I do. Yes, it is important to express feelings about job loss in order to clear some emotional space to move on to another job or change careers. But it is also essential in my view to write about times in your life when you are doing what you enjoy most and well, in order to establish more clarity and confidence about what you offer others through your work.

Discharge negative feelings, then recharge with proof positive of your strengths and value in the world of work!

George Dutch is the Founder and Chief Joy Officer at JobJoy. He has worked blue collar, white collar, private sector, public sector, and nonprofit. He has undertaken 3 major career transitions in his life, including two moves between continents with no prospect of a job, then landed lucrative positions. He knows of what he speaks because he's lived it. A certified career professional for the past 20 years, he has coached and consulted with thousands of individuals across North America and internationally. He can help you get ahead in both career and life with his proven services.

Running Off the Rails on a Crazy Train

Running off Rails on Crazy Train

In our society, it is normal to conform to the expectations of others. Most of us learn early in life to act on what others say, value and expect, especially from parents, teachers, family, experts.

In some ways it easier to do what others tell us: “In order to get ahead in life, I need good grades in school, so I will tell my teacher what s/he wants to hear, jump through the hoops, get it over and done with, so I can do the same thing in a job—and get paid for it.”

Subtle Messages

We listen to subtle messages that steer us into a particular career: “my mother said I was good with people and belong in a caring profession”; “my father always said I was no good at finishing things”; “you can’t make any money doing what I love!” So, we follow others into the family business, or the military, or a profession, or try to guess where the jobs will be in 20 years.

We get on a career track and stick with it. In other words, what our parents tell us, what society expects of us, what skills are required by the economy—is rational—and if we don’t conform to those messages, then we, as individuals, are irrational!

And, for most of us, that works for much of the time…until it doesn’t. Like train travel, a safe and efficient mode of transportation, we ride our career track until we reach a destination—the expected one of retirement of the unexpected one of a layoff.

Career goes off the rails

We usually aim at becoming something without ever taking the time to shape our own identity…then, we suddenly realize that we had no desire to get on that train at all.

It’s enough to drive any sane person a little crazy!

Internal conflicts (often represented by toxic stress or mental health issues) and external circumstances (change in life circumstances, such as job loss, illness, divorce) may require big changes in our lives…changes that can only be achieved by finding personal power and meaning in life.

Science to the Rescue

During the past 25 years, over 200 scientific studies have been published pointing to the power of narrative therapy to positively affect biological processes (including immune function) associated with health and illness. In addition, the power of expressive exercises, involving both emotional and cognitive topics, has benefited many individuals dealing with a range of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual issues, such as cancer, heart disease, depression, cystic fibrosis, asthma, arthritis, alienation, isolation, and more.

Narrative counselling or therapy is designed:

- to help you resolve certain work/life issues;
- to give you a better understanding of your personal life story in its many dimensions and how it shapes or influences your work, career, relationships, and life;
- to repair your story;
- to create a better life.

In short, your current personal narrative is deconstructed so that a more adaptive story can be re-authored, a new or second story that gives you more power to make effective changes in your work and life, including better relationships with yourself and others.

Visit my counselling page to get more info on how narrative therapy can clear space in your life to generate a new beginning, a new work identity, a new role in society, or new opportunities.

George Dutch is the Founder and Chief Joy Officer at JobJoy. He has worked blue collar, white collar, private sector, public sector, and nonprofit. He has undertaken 3 major career transitions in his life, including two moves between continents with no prospect of a job, then landed lucrative positions. He knows of what he speaks because he's lived it. A certified career professional for the past 20 years, he has coached and consulted with thousands of individuals across North America and internationally. He can help you get ahead in both career and life with his proven services.

If jobs are created around scarce resources, what is lacking in our new economy?

Jobs with Meaning & Purpose

When we had a scarcity of food, we had an Agrarian Economy. When we had a scarcity of tools, equipment, machinery, clothes, houses, we had an Industrial Economy. When we had a scarcity of data, facts, and methods to make decisions, we had an Information Economy.

Some people say we are now in a Knowledge Economy because we have a scarcity of principles and logic to understand, explain, predict certain phenomena in the world. But, if economics is about scarce things, then we don’t actually have a Knowledge Economy because these days knowledge is freely available on the Internet.

In addition, billions of people in Asia are learning math, science, and English and our ‘knowledge’ jobs here in North America are being outsourced to cheaper labor markets, which dampens employer demand for knowledge workers on this side of the pond. For several decades, economists have been encouraging workers to get more education in knowledge industries to ensure job security. And they were right…until now!

The job market is subject to supply and demand economics. Twenty years ago, the economy was hot and growing due to the hi-tech boom. There was so much demand from employers for skilled labor–especially IT, telecom, and other hi-tech skills—and such a shortage of IT talent, that employers had to look beyond their local areas, across the country, even across the world to find enough skilled people to fill those jobs.

Job boards were developed as brokers to put these buyers & sellers of labor together, and they were very effective. As more and more people were sucked into the hi-tech sector, lots of openings were created in other sectors, including financial services, education, health, manufacturing, retail, food & beverages and so on. If you had any kind of skills, education, or experience, you could throw your resume online and you were sure to get calls from internal & external recruiters. Those were the days!

But, when the recession of 2008 hit, employers in America laid off 10M+ workers. Suddenly, and since then, employers have had very little demand for new employees. Except in certain places, like the oil&gas sector of northern Alberta, and other pockets where certain skills are in demand.

Some people say jobs are scarce, but they aren’t. There is never a shortage of jobs, although often there is a shortage of money or will to bribe people to do some of it. Generally speaking, we are in a ‘jobless’ recovery as corporations hoard money due to lack of confidence in economic prospects.

Besides, most people who want paying jobs have paying jobs. That’s why governments have foreign worker programs to bring in people to do jobs at a pay that most other people won’t accept. For many people in developing countries, who have next to nothing in terms of material things, they are quite happy to work just for money.

This only proves there is no job scarcity. Jobs go begging because most people do not have a burning desire to do certain work for its own sake–e.g. clean hotel rooms, flip burgers, pick crops, butcher beef, and so on—because they cannot see a point to it all. In short, their work lacks purpose.

Our higher levels of education increase our expectations. Once our physiological needs are met, we pursue love and belonging, which will give us self-esteem, confidence, and the respect of others. Our expectation is to become all we are capable of. Flipping burgers doesn’t cut it any more.

When something is in high demand and short supply then people become obsessed with getting it, whatever “it” is…but the “it” is no longer knowledge. Job security be damned, it’s gone in many knowledge industries. So, what’s the next scarcity? What do we call the new Economy?

The Purpose Economy, according to some economists. What is scarce now is meaning and purpose. Jobs are being redesigned to give people more of both. Boring, mundane, predictable jobs will continue to be outsourced. Many jobs organized around math and science will be done in cheaper labor markets.

Professionals and other educated workers here in North America may need to push from the inside out, to pressure employers, especially large institutional employers of big government and big business, to invest in a Purpose Economy. Social entrepreneurs, like Sal Khan—a former hedge fund manager who founded Khan Academy to provide a free world-class education to anyone anywhere–are at the leading edge of this new economy.

As individuals, they are carrying much of the burden to re-engineer their work accordingly. In order to understand how to re-craft your job for more purpose, you need to understand what motivates you intrinsically, where you learned and acquired skills intersect with your natural strengths, deeper values, higher aspirations—and how to leverage these key success factors into work that benefits not only you but your employer and the wider Purpose Economy.

A new economy is rising, and it will offer security to workers who can leverage meaning and purpose into their work.

George Dutch is the Founder and Chief Joy Officer at JobJoy. He has worked blue collar, white collar, private sector, public sector, and nonprofit. He has undertaken 3 major career transitions in his life, including two moves between continents with no prospect of a job, then landed lucrative positions. He knows of what he speaks because he's lived it. A certified career professional for the past 20 years, he has coached and consulted with thousands of individuals across North America and internationally. He can help you get ahead in both career and life with his proven services.

Focus on Interests not Positions to Resolve Workplace Conflicts

Conflict Resolution in Workplace

We are social beings with an inherent, natural desire for connection and attachment to other humans.  One of the core functions of work is to provide us with a broad social connection to our world, as well as more intimate connections with our colleagues, clients, and others.  When we lose a job, we often lose key relationships that can add to a sense of isolation, even loneliness.

At work, we experience a range of relationships–positive and negative, simple and complex, routine and unusual.  These experiences can energize or drain us.  We go through periods of harmony and conflict.  Learning to manage our workplace relationships is a key skill for career survival and advancement.

We might strive for harmony, but work is often a theatre of conflict because there are competing interests at every level.  Conflicts arise between colleagues seeking to advance their careers in a hierarchy with limited opportunities; between employer priorities and employee needs; between employer policies and union rules; between company deadlines and technological failures…and so on.

Learning to resolve conflict is part of managing our workplace relationships.  In our recent free webinar 3 Secrets of Conflict Competency,* we learned about the difference between Positions and Interests, as the single most important part of preparing for any negotiation or effort at Conflict Resolution.

Clarifying your own interests is often one of the few things in your control.

You may not be able to discover what the real underlying interests of the other side are but at least you can clarify your own interests. For example, as a front-line supervisor, we might seriously object to a subordinate’s performance and characterize him or her as incompetent, unreliable, undependable…so we take the position that they must be terminated.  However, we may not have the authority to fire or layoff that individual, so our position hardens, poisoning our milieu at work, increasing tension and conflict.

We can reduce these negative effects on ourselves and others by focusing on our interests as they relate to the employee’s performance.  Our interests might include the following notions:

  • He breaks all the rules about hours of work and personal calls which undermines my leadership;
  • I am worried about losing my job because of declining sales;
  • He could be making more money for the company than he is and I can’t seem to motivate him.

These interests reveal a range of needs and values—e.g. authority, job security, leadership ability.  Understanding the needs and values represented by an individual’s interests now uncovers a range of solutions that will meet all or some of the interests of both parties.  Interests are what a person really wants!

In summary, positions are responses or actions a person will take to meet their needs.  Taking a position closes off communication and reduces the opportunity to find a mutually satisfying solution.  If you are caught in a conflict, your task is to clarify your own interests first, and then uncover those hidden interests of the other party.

Interests are needs, concerns, and values that motivate each person. By understanding and communicating the interests of both parties, you have a very good chance of resolving the conflict.

 

* Note: For Webinar Link.  Select ‘Click Here to Listen In’ then select ‘View presentation with audio’ to see slides with audio.  If clicking on the link doesn’t work, try copy-and-paste link into your browser.

George Dutch is the Founder and Chief Joy Officer at JobJoy. He has worked blue collar, white collar, private sector, public sector, and nonprofit. He has undertaken 3 major career transitions in his life, including two moves between continents with no prospect of a job, then landed lucrative positions. He knows of what he speaks because he's lived it. A certified career professional for the past 20 years, he has coached and consulted with thousands of individuals across North America and internationally. He can help you get ahead in both career and life with his proven services.

From Doormat to Driver’s Seat—Career Change in the New Economy

From Doormat to Driver's Seat

Entering the world of work is like walking through a door.  Previously, we could follow a simple formula—go to school, get good grades, go to college or university, get good grades, which gets you a good job, then live a good life.  We all knew which door to walk through.  This was the “grand narrative” or post-WWII social contract that characterized the working lives of people lucky enough to be born and raised in the Western world.

Not anymore.  The new millennium ushered in a new social arrangement of work, a post-industrial order, fuelled by information technologies, global economics, cultural diversity, and postmodern ideas.

Uncertainty.  That’s the new buzzword for the workplace of 2014 and beyond.  How we respond to these profound changes is crucial to our physical, mental, and social well-being.  In the words of William Arthur Ward “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

We can be doormats and let these new social realities walk all over us (or hope, unrealistically, they never show up at our door).

Instead of being passive, we can be pro-active and cross the threshold of despair or denial by putting ourselves into the driver’s seat to navigate successfully through obstacles.

The cradle-to-grave job security of the Industrial Age still exists but, paradoxically, only in the most non-industrialized sector—the public service at all levels of government, and that security will be challenged by demands for harmonization with less stable private sector working conditions.

For an increasing number of individuals, then, this new reality of work in the Information Age involves job prospects that are far less definable, predictable, or stable…especially for young adults who are finding it increasingly difficult to break into good jobs.

Unfortunately, this is increasingly true for mid-lifers too!  Midlife is a normal developmental life stage that occurs usually between 35-55 years of age.  I’m seeing a growing number of layoffs in this age group.  Take the newspaper industry as one example.  The chances of finding a similar job in the same sector for a senior journalist, editor, manager is very difficult–almost impossible– as online news sources replace the traditional business model of print ads supporting news.  The same goes for many other sectors of the economy that are facing significant changes due to de-industrialization, organizational mergers, downsizing, economic restructuring, and other factors.

While the wider world of work is changing as we speak, what has not changed is the importance of work in the lives of individuals, as a means for survival, power, self-worth, social connection, or self-determination.  The meaning and purpose of work for many of us as will be severely challenged in the next decade. 

Since we can’t count on that simple formula or grand narrative anymore for guiding our career decisions, we need to focus on our individual narratives or stories to help us navigate through this grave new world of work.  For the past 20 years, I have helped young adults find a career job and helped mid-lifers make effective career changes. I do it by constructing a new story for my clients, one that empowers them to see the road ahead and make decisions that put them in charge of their career.  How I do so is explained in this short video and at this link.

Understanding who and what you are in terms of work—not a narrowly-defined job description but the kind of work you are suited for and needs doing in the world—is needed to survive and thrive in today ’s uncertain labor market. Current labor-market realities are changing.  For example, there is a big shift in North America from a manufacturing to a service economy, whether we like it or not.  Having clarity about your career identity—who and what you are in terms of a work-based value proposition—gives you more ability and flexibility to adapt to the changing labor market.  Your story holds the key to your adaptability, your prospects of making a successful change when the time comes…and it will come!

Career transitions are now and will continue to be more frequent and, perhaps, more difficult here in North America.   Are you ready?

From Doormat to Driver's Seat

George Dutch is the Founder and Chief Joy Officer at JobJoy. He has worked blue collar, white collar, private sector, public sector, and nonprofit. He has undertaken 3 major career transitions in his life, including two moves between continents with no prospect of a job, then landed lucrative positions. He knows of what he speaks because he's lived it. A certified career professional for the past 20 years, he has coached and consulted with thousands of individuals across North America and internationally. He can help you get ahead in both career and life with his proven services.

Hope Springs Eternal for Career Change

Hope Springs Eternal for Career Change

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

What do you hope for in 2014?

Empirical studies indicate that most episodes of hope involve achievement-related goals, e.g. success in some academic, artistic, athletic, career, relationship, and so on. “Hope is the passion for the possible.”

When it is allied with our highest aspirations and deepest values, it can give us a general orientation to life that motivates us to take actions…and propel us towards our desires.

Hope is grounded in desire

In the quote above, Pope refers to the desire to be blessed. Do you know someone with the first name, Hope? Ask them why their parents gave them that name.

One friend told me she was born prematurely at 1.5 lbs in a place and time where there were no medical facilities to treat her. Her mother and father put her in an incubator—where she stayed for 4 months—and prayed, then hoped for the best. They were elderly parents and Hope turned out to be their only child—a true blessing in their lives! She felt truly loved by her parents, deeply cared for, and relishes the time she had with them. She feels blessed as their child.

Caring about our future

Hope belongs to a constellation of feelings and attitudes related to caring about our future. On the positive side it is related to optimism, confidence, courage, faith, gratitude, and contrasts with fear, pessimism, resignation, despair. Usually, it is felt less intensely than fear, more like a sentiment that has a positive moral value.

One function of hope is to give goals far away from us their due importance. For example, making a career change usually takes time. Hope rouses feelings necessary to influence our conduct, to motivate us to take actions towards future goals. It helps us to overcome everyday difficulties by looking beyond them to a better future.

Hope motivates us to plan

Having made several career transitions myself, and helped hundreds of individuals make significant career changes during the past 20 years, I have learned that hope—as a general orientation towards achieving future goals—increases the effectiveness of career change tools and techniques, such as visioning, goal setting, planning, implementing, adapting actions, prospecting opportunities.

In the quote above, Pope uses the word expatiates, which means to speak or write at length or in detail. I guide my clients through a process of speaking and writing to uncover their hopes and desires.

I strive to help my clients develop clarity about their strengths, particularly their talents and motivations, in order to foster realistic hope. Clarity feeds confidence and increases self-understanding, both necessary for taking effective actions to realize goals. But hope provides the framework for action.

Hope is the well spring of desire and we deserve to be in a state of desire!

After all, if we have no hope for a better future, why take any actions?

I will leave you with some words of hope from the wise…may they nurture and sustain and help you persevere through the difficult times of the year ahead.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. (Dale Carnegie)

Hope is the companion of power, and mother of success; for who so hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles. (Samuel Smiles)

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” (Pope John XXIII)

George Dutch is the Founder and Chief Joy Officer at JobJoy. He has worked blue collar, white collar, private sector, public sector, and nonprofit. He has undertaken 3 major career transitions in his life, including two moves between continents with no prospect of a job, then landed lucrative positions. He knows of what he speaks because he's lived it. A certified career professional for the past 20 years, he has coached and consulted with thousands of individuals across North America and internationally. He can help you get ahead in both career and life with his proven services.

Job Change and the Hourglass of Eternal Recurrence

Hourglass of Eternal Recurrence

This is the time of year when we are regaled with year end reviews—news, movies, musical hits, championships, scandals, and so on. Let’s step away from the usual sort of reviews for a thought experiment.

Imagine some demon sitting on your shoulder and whispering in your ear: “This life—as you lived it this past year—you will have to live once more, and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and everything unutterably small or great in your life will return to you, all in the same succession and sequence.”

Is this past year, one that you would want repeated again, forever, like an eternal hourglass of existence turned upside down again and again and again? Imagine going through life with chronic stress from work, or dis-ease, anxiety, dissatisfaction, hopelessness, depression. Let’s face it, that’s what most of us put up with in order to make a living to get to a pension and out of this life with some level of comfort.

This idea is sometimes called Nietzsche’s wager, so named for Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19 C. philosopher, who first popularized it. Think of the psychological consequences of eternal recurrence: Each time you choose an action or avoid one, you are making a bet or wager on its consequence for eternity.

How can you not hate this thought experiment?

Imagine being stuck in a job you hate, or don’t like, or feel indifferent to…imagine having to perform the same job duties over and over again…forever…it almost takes your breath away. Imagine that all the choices you make to satisfy others for the sake of duty, obligation, responsibility, or social convention–is your eternal life!

But that was Nietzsche’s objective, to make you hate it. You always have a choice, he said, to live based on hating this idea of eternal recurrence (hoping his theory is wrong), or live in such a way that you love the idea of living forever with the consequences of your choices!

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies, and put her observations into a book. The number one regret as recorded by Ware was expressed as:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

How to find a better career? It’s never too late to start living the life you want to live, doing the work you want to do, creating the results you really want in life. As a job change expert, my job is to help you find that positive eternal groove. You can have a better jobfit, one that matches your natural strengths and motivations to work that will energize you, not drain you. You can have more joy in what you do day in and day out, everyday, always.

Best wishes for a Holiday season and New Year full of eternal recurrences that make your heart sing!

George Dutch is the Founder and Chief Joy Officer at JobJoy. He has worked blue collar, white collar, private sector, public sector, and nonprofit. He has undertaken 3 major career transitions in his life, including two moves between continents with no prospect of a job, then landed lucrative positions. He knows of what he speaks because he's lived it. A certified career professional for the past 20 years, he has coached and consulted with thousands of individuals across North America and internationally. He can help you get ahead in both career and life with his proven services.