My dad, God love him, was stubborn, loud, often inappropriately fun and he loved attention. Yes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree on this one. I loved that man, but he gave me the crappiest career advice ever…yep, he did. I came to my dad before my first year of college and told him that I had great career plans. I was super good at math, designing things and helping people. I could be a clothing designer or architect. My dad said, “Oh no, clothing design is brutally competitive and would take you too far away from home and most architects are real A-Holes in my book. Do something not so competitive, not so cut-throat. Something steady, where you can always have a job and stay close to home and your family…What about being a pharmacist?”
Wow, I was blown away, my dad was my rock. He was the more unconditional out of my two parents and the one I was the most like in personality and demeanor. My approach to life made sense when I was around him. I just knew he would understand and I thought I would get some support from him before I faced career decisions. You know the arduous roller coaster of applying then waiting, hoping, elation and rejection. Fun Stuff. His reaction hurt. I was devastated and it was total crap advice…
However, my dad was stubborn, even more stubborn than me, and he loved getting the last word…You see, just after that discussion he died, dropped dead….seriously. Yep, the ultimate last word. That really sucked and hurt and I was even more devastated.
My mom was so wounded and angry over his death, she was in no shape to give me career advice and just wanted me to move home. My sister suggested I check out law school, something she had always wanted to do. I think I already mentioned that I like to talk and I am stubborn, qualities lawyers seem to have. However, the idea of going to law school held zero appeal to me, no pun intended. I sought out college advisors and career counselors who were very skilled at testing and assessment and handling the volume of students that come through.
Really, the typical college or career counselor’s methodology is based on the law of averages. The average student visits their advisor one or two times in their college career, gets the average testing, the average resume and cover letter template…and you’re out of there. Then, you get the average job, but is that what you want? My father’s death also left me with little financial support and I sought to finish college quickly. So, my first career was in teaching and school counseling. It was safe, steady, allowed me to live anywhere. I was good at it, had the respect of my peers, but it wasn’t me. I wasn’t connecting and making the difference that I wanted to make, creating the life I wanted to create… I fell victim to the two types of crappy career advice categories out there…
#1 CRAPPY CAREER ADVICE CATEGORY: “IT IS ALL ABOUT ME”
Typically this advice comes from someone who knows you, thinks they know you and thinks they know what you need to be happy, successful and fulfilled. This happens when someone gives you advice based on their view of the world, their agenda or their unmet needs. My dad’s advice falls under this category. See, he saw me as his youngest daughter, his baby, who seemed be born with a wanderlust, a stubborn streak, too liberal in thoughts and opinions and he wanted to keep me closer to home, safe. Not a bad agenda, just not what fit me and it hurt.
#2 CRAPPY CAREER ADVICE CATEGORY: “IT IS ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE”
This is the advice you get from college advisers, recruiters and career coaches who put you through a lot of testing or gives you a list of things to do and boxes to check off. This is the type of advice you get that is based on norms and what the average person should do if they have this degree, this skill set or this personality. It is based on averages and volumes of people, blind to the fact that no individual can be average. An individual is one person, one life, one dream, one career, one purpose, one difference…. mathematically an individual cannot be an average. Trust me, I am good at math.
That is a pretty brutal story, but the purpose of the story is to show you that that it was all perfect. Was it painful? Yes, but it prepared me to do the work of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing. You see, one day walking down the hallway in this safe, steady, Plan B Job, I had this aha moment. I got back in touch with what I wanted and I found my way out of the blame and pain to find the work I do now- career coaching.
Anyway, here I am in Austin, doing the work that makes it possible for people to choose careers from the inside out. My clients don’t have to waste as much time, energy and tears getting their professional lives together as I did and I am darn good at it too! I believe that people are talented, powerful and deserving individuals who need to be supported in their career dreams as long as what you want isn’t immoral, illegal or hurtful to others.
However, it is all perfect. You see, without the pain of being in the wrong career, I wouldn’t understand what it is like for people to struggle in a career that doesn’t fit them and that drains them more than it sustains them. No matter what it looks like from the outside or who advised them to pursue that field or even paid the tuition to get them there. All in all, it was all perfect. Without the job that made my life miserable, the job that I could do, but was doing me in, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Are you hurting, working more and more hours without that feeling that you belong, or that you are making the difference you want? Give up the sucky advice, the hurt and that devastated feeling and get back to what you want, what would work for you and your life, then get support in creating it.
You have to love you and see that you are not average, that you are a unique combination of experiences, knowledge and talents. Even if you are one of many CPAs or MBAs, you can’t let anyone see you as average otherwise you will be stuck, hurt and devastated. What you want is important, even if you don’t know how it is all going to come together.
That is why coaching is so cool. I am not attached to any specific outcome, other than supporting you in getting your best life, seeing your desires fulfilled. I hold space for you to get clear, plan, dream and take action….
There is an answer to all the Crappy Career Advice….
#3 The Un-Crappy Solution: “It’s All About You”
YOUR SUCCESS, YOUR CAREER AND YOUR LIFE. Yes, a great career starts with you!