“I just don’t know what I want to do next.” My client, Emily, is frustrated and frankly feeling desperate. I feel her pain. I have stood in her shoes. I remember the endless worries and questions which seemed to be “on repeat” in my head when I wanted to change my job. Emily is not desperately unhappy in her job. It isn’t as though she hates it. She mentions this a few times. Emily tells me she doesn’t get that sinking feeling on a Sunday evening knowing Monday morning is looming. I think we can all relate to that at one time in our lives! In fact, Emily loves the company, the people and what the business does. But, something has changed and her actual role no longer makes her happy. I sense, as she sits in front of me, that she wants me to give her the answer and tell her what to do next. It is almost as though Emily is willing me to just tell her.
Time to travel back in time
Emily identifies 4 jobs she wants to revisit, starting with her current position, and working backwards. I am keen to know what she has achieved, what has she enjoyed, what made her apply for it in the first place and what she thought her boss or colleagues thought of her. We celebrated her successes. I am keeping notes of all the key points she remembers. We move on to the next job and her body language changes completely. Her voice is far less animated and there is no enthusiasm. I am keen to explore with her what happened whilst in this job. I ask similar questions. This time Emily tells me that the atmosphere in the office was uncomfortable most of the time. People didn’t really talk. It was almost unfriendly. Needless to say she didn’t stay long in that role. We move on to the next job couple of jobs following the same process of highlighting successes, achievements, qualities and skills she demonstrated.
After we had taken the trip down memory lane, we went to the starting point again and I replayed all the keys points to her. Her face beamed with a mixture of pride and disbelief. Emily had forgotten much of what she had done and not given it much thought before now. She also commented on how, at the time, each new job had felt like luck or accidental whereas now she could see underlying themes and connections between them all.
What does the future hold?
Now Emily feels she has a better idea of what she is looking for in her next role. By simply knowing what she wants and needs in a company or in a job means she is far more likely to know when she finds it.
“Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So, make it a good one.” – Doc Brown, Back to the Future