In 2002, I realized I was miserable in my job. I was a Project Manager for Whirlpool Corporation working on Innovation Projects. The projects themselves were fun and creative, and I met some really interesting people and did some interesting work. But, I felt really unfulfilled, and I hated going to work.
I tried several solutions. I tried focusing on the positives and the things I enjoyed. I tried going part-time. Both of those helped somewhat, but I felt empty about what I was doing. The worst thing was that I really couldn’t see a path for a future at the company where I’d invested 10 years. I felt trapped. I talked to my therapist about it, and he suggested that I try career counseling.
I made an appointment at the local Community College in St. Joseph, MI to talk with a counselor. I met with her and explained my career history and my dilemma. I remember as a college graduate, I wanted to be a corporate executive. It’s where I set my sights. I have no idea why except maybe I thought there was some power and money in it. I certainly knew nothing about what the job might be like. It never occurred to me to understand what the day to day life of a corporate executive would be like before I worked my tail off to get there. It just seemed logical to want it. She suggested that I take two tests, the Myers Briggs Type Inventory and a vocational interest inventory.
My Myers-Briggs type is ENFP.The interesting thing is that one of the 10 LEAST favorite jobs for my personality type is a corporate manager. It would have been helpful to know that 25 years ago. Of course, I didn’t ask. My bad. So, at least I knew that I was on track and there was nothing wrong with me. The types of careers that were most satisfying to people like me are counseling, ministry, journalism, teaching and counseling. When I look at my past jobs, I did start out in the right direction intuitively and certainly not conciously. I majored in English Education with a minor in Journalism. I was also constantly being pulled into training roles in my jobs. So, the desire and the talent were there. Something kept moving me there.
I took some time to explore all of the above listed jobs. I wanted to get a Masters in Social Work or Psychology, but life kept getting in the way of my doing that. One thing I’ve learned is that when things don’t happen, it may be because there is a reason. So, having this knowledge, I just did my research and let God show me the way.
Eventually, my ex and I moved to Northwest Indiana to be closer to his children. Purdue had a branch close to that area. I got out their catalog and looked at the degrees for the careers I was considering. I was still in a state of confusion about which one I wanted to pursue, but I decided to just start walking and pick a direction. The rest, I figured, would present itself. Purdue had an Instructional Technology Program. This would give me a Masters degree with an emphasis in Training, Instructional Design and a variety of other skills that I could use in schools, corporate jobs and other settings. Okay…..I’m just going to do it. So, that’s how it happened. It wasn’t my passion. I wasn’t led to it. I just picked something and started moving.
Somewhere along the line I started praying that my career moves would be obvious to me. I know that God understands that I am risk averse in my career even though I’m comfortable taking risks in my personal life.
Getting the degree really helped me open the doors I needed to get the experience I needed in my field. It was definitely a positive move. I decided on a corporate job quite frankly because of the money. I’m single, and I need to provide for myself. I’m lucky enough to land in a company with a great culture that provides some work-life balance in the role I’m in. I like going to work today.
I’ve designed my life the way I want it. My job doesn’t fuel all my passions. I travel for fun…I make it a priority. I also write this blog which helps me connect with people with like interests. I trust that creating this life that I have will lead me where I need to be. And, I may already be there. But, I do sense that it is constantly evolving, and I don’t have to force it or obsess over it. If I keep moving in the direction of my heart, the paths will present themselves.