It’s easy to get stuck in a career that you don’t love. I know because I’ve been there.
I spent more than 16 years in the corporate world as a recruiter, VP of marketing, marketing director, brand manager, corporate communications manager, program manager, and on and on. Yes, in total about 12 different companies and roles altogether. In 16 years.
That definitely qualified me at the time as a serial job hopper.
But, I always left for something bigger, better and higher paying – so society (and my parents!) forgave me and saw me as “successful” and not flaky (or at least that’s what I thought at the time).
Like many people, when I realized that my chosen profession (that I was trained in and really good at) was really not my true passion and purpose (ok, well it started to feel like gnawing my arm off would be more fun), instead of taking a deep look inside to figure out WHY I was in a career I didn’t love, and discover what I REALLY wanted to do with my life, I reacted with fear instead.
I couldn’t just leave the corporate marketing world. It was the only thing I was trained in, and the only thing I was good at. It would take way too long to work my way up in a new profession. And I was in my 30’s. SO OLD!
Plus, I had (or at least I believed I had) some pretty hefty responsibilities and needy family members. So my subconscious and lizard self were very focused on amassing endless coffers of more and more money to stay safe in case we needed to bail someone out (lest they end up either on the street or on my doorstep).
And the clincher was – I felt like I “should” be happy and “should” be grateful. After all, my job weren’t horrible, I was very successful on paper, and all the people who mattered in my life respected what I did.
Who was I to complain?
So instead of digging deep into figuring out who I was and what I really wanted to do, I decided I was “stuck” in this career path and tried to figure out how to make it better.
So I became a serial job hopper, searching for that better company, better position, better workplace, better co-workers, even a better view (that job lasted three months – but the view – amazing. I still think of that view).
Every new job followed a pretty consistent pattern. A pattern I didn’t recognize then but would later on. Everything was super interesting in the beginning.
Until I figured the job out, fully assessed the marketing situation, connected all the dots, fixed what was broken, and got everything to point where it was operating seamlessly.
This usually took around six months to a year.
And then I was done. SO DONE.
I would try to stick it out, but the day would come when I just couldn’t stay a moment longer. While my mind said, “you must stay!”, my body started literally rejecting the job.
I would get sick. I would sleep in. I would forget things that would cause me to be late. I would even forget about meetings.
But I still didn’t truly believe I could change my career path. So I tried the next best solution…
Working for myself.
I would become an entrepreneur. Make my own rules. Report to ME. YES! Finally, I had found the answer.
So I started my own marketing consulting company called Corner Your Market, became a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, and quickly landed some big clients. Success was mine!
Except two years in I woke up tired, exhausted and dreading the day ahead.
I realized I was just as miserable working for myself as a marketing consultant as I was managing marketing for other companies. In fact, I was doing the exact same job – but now had all the added work of being an entrepreneur dumped on top.
One day on a road trip, I realized I had hit a wall.
I needed to make a change. I was finally ready to do the deep work needed to figure out what I really wanted to do to both serve others, and nurture my soul.
I searched for books on finding your life purpose, and the one that really called out to me was “Finding Your Own North Star” by Martha Beck.
After reading three of her books, I ended up on her website and found her life coaching program.
I never thought I would become a coach, but through coach training, I realized I’ve been a coach all along deep down.
And I realized that my purpose is not to help businesses to get more leads and make more money.
My purpose is to help other professionals and aspiring life coaches escape their own corporate hells, stop trying to be people they aren’t to fit into the corporate world, embrace who they are and find their true calling – so that they can love what they do again – and live lives full of passion, purpose and meaning.
So now I’ve transformed my marketing consulting practice into what I think is an amazing combination of life, business and career coaching. Yes – marketing made the cut in the end!
At least parts of it.
I have (or am in the process of) bagged, bartered or bettered all the parts of my business I found frustrating and draining.
And now I’m focusing on working with clients I can serve best – professionals, life coaches and entrepreneurs with soul like me who have realized they are well along the wrong career path, but feel frustrated, stuck and scared that if they leave their current miserable careers, they will never be “successful” anywhere else.
I’m not perfect – and I don’t have to be.
While I hope I can serve as living proof that living your right life, on the right path is possible – I also believe that the right path is more of a constant journey vs. a destination. And I am still on my journey now.
While my path is generally going in the right direction and I’ve learned to say “yes” to more of the stuff that’s warmer, and “no” to more of the stuff that’s colder – I am still guilty of going off track here and there (I’d like to add in here that I feel pretty lucky to have so many friends who are life coaches!)
But the good news is – I am 100% happier than I was at this same time last year, and 200% happier than the year before. And while I may still veer off track here and there, I feel for the first time in my life that I have a calling, I have an overriding purpose, and that feels amazing.
Don’t wait to find your “perfect” calling
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to not wait to figure everything out before bettering your situation. I’ve found my path and calling through action. By experimenting with what I like and don’t like. By taking the steps forward that feel warmer and avoiding the steps that feel cooler.
I now know that being a serial job hopper was one of the best things I could have done at the time. I learned so much about myself.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had conducted a pretty fantastic personal career experiment.
And that experiement continued with starting my own business.
I learned that I don’t really LOVE all the parts of being an entrepreneur. But I hate the corporate world more. So I’m willing to suck up the frustrating parts (running the business, paying the bills, doing the paperwork) for the amazing benefits (freedom, freedom, freedom).
So if you feel like you’re stuck in your own version of corporate hell, and have to stay there until you figure out your exact, perfect next steps – ask yourself if that’s really true.
What can you do right now to treat yourself as your own personal experiment? Or – in what ways have you already been experiementing (but not realized it) – and what have you learned?
What can you do right now to start moving in a warmer direction? What’s your best guess for right now?
I bet if you take the pressure off, give yourself permission to take smaller steps, and treat your soul’s calling as a journey and not a destination – you’ll find yourself in a pretty amazing place by this time next year.
And after that – who knows what’s possible?
Check out my programs for passionate professionals and aspiring life coaches:
On each page, you can sign up for a free mini-session where can talk about what might be keeping you stuck in your own version of corporate hell and not moving forward on a career path you love.
If you’ve already dared to decide to leave your current career path and are just in the beginning stages or launching a business for the first time – here is how to make sure you design a business you love right from the start: