Jungian Psychotherapy & Career Transition in Tough Times
Career transition is directly connected to Jungian case studies because career and vocation are matters of importance to the inmost self. This is especially true of career transition in economic times of crisis, when people face hard situations and hard choices. Tough times push us back onto questions about the real meaning in our lives.
The movie “Company Men” opens up these issues in a hard-hitting way. It focuses on a group of upper middle class and upper class men downsized from “GTX”, a heavy manufacturing company in Boston. The film powerfully takes us into the “soul” issues surrounding forced career transition. And it illustrates some bedrock realities.
1) I am Not My Career; I am Not My Social Status
It’s incredibly easy to become completely identified with a job and a social status. Over years, we can get so invested in a particular job and lifestyle, that we feel like these things actually are us. When the men undergo career transition, it ‘s an incredibly violent blow, and they are caught up in rage and denial. They are forced to find their way into a different, more fundamental understanding of individual identity.
2) The Corporation (or Other Employer) Does Not Love Me
“GTX” makes large scale layoffs with little regard for the dedication or devoted labour of long-term employees. Often, this is how layoffs occur, and often people are psychologically unprepared for it. We tend to assume that the close personal contacts at the firm, or supportive or “team” language are expressions of real human warmth. But it’s essential to let in a fundamental truth: my employer does not recognize that I have any right to my current position.
3) What is my Vocation? And How Does it Fit with What I do for a Living?
Behind the above issues looms a larger question. What am I here for? What does my nature tell me that I really need to do with my life? And how does all that fit with the kind of thing that I do (or want to do) for a living?
4) What about My Journey?
Amidst these issues, it’s essential to see my life as a journey toward my own individual nature. My journey, my vocation, is bigger and deeper than what I do for a living. Connecting with this journey is the real meaning of /a-midlife-transition.
PHOTO: © Angelo Gilardelli | Dreamstime.com
© 2011 Brian Collinson
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