What to Ask Yourself When Considering Midlife Career Change, 2
In my first post on midlife career change, I looked at the issue of vocation and some other factors essential to career change at midlife.
In this post, I look at additional factors that may help to decide whether to make a midlife career change.
What Kind of “Reward” Do I Want and Need?
Undoubtedly, everyone has heard the expression “money talks”. But is it the sole thing speaking in our lives, or are other things trying to get our attention, as well?
Money is one of the few things that everyone in our society values. Why? Because money has a neutral character. Whatever it is that one might want, one can pay money, and get it. So it’s a value to all kinds of different people who value all kinds of different things.
Because of its special character, money is also tied to status. There is a tendency in our culture to assign a higher social standing to someone, simply because she has a lot of money.
So, for many reasons like these, we may well feel that we need to go after money, and that it needs to be the key value in our lives. To what extent should money be the determining factor in our work or vocation in the second half of life?
We need a certain amount of money. But is money enough, for us to lead a good life, past midlife? Often /a-midlife-transition uncovers values in individual’s lives that are truly greater than money, but it also uncovers our money shadow:
To deal in therapy with career and vocation, we may well need to confront and deal with our money complex. What really is “adequate reward” for our work — in every sense of the word?
The Precious Nature of Time
I once was working therapeutically with a lawyer who decided to give up the law, because it didn’t leave room for anything else in his life. I asked him if he had gained anything positive from the practice of law. “Yes” he told me, “One very big thing. I learned that, for me, the single most valuable thing there is, is time to devote to the things that really matter to me.”
He was right. Journeying through the second half of life, we often confront the awareness that the time remaining is short and it’s precious. Five years, ten years — time was much easier to squander at an earlier point in life. But now I live in the reality that I simply cannot have everything that I want in the available time. A key question is: how do you most want to spend your precious time?
You can’t have it all. What, to you, is worth spending time on? It may take deep soul searching, to properly decide.
The Individual Equation
With work and vocation, it’s essential to not lose sight of one’s unique personal nature and needs. As Jung was fond of saying, “Only that which is truly oneself, heals.” Often the journey of midlife leads through the issues of vocation and possible midlife career change. Jungian case studies can be of immense help in finding your own genuine priorities.