Note: This is an international client. English is her second language.
I was feeling very desperate about my career. I’d been working in my job for 7 years, and I didn’t want to go another 7 years in the same situation. I felt exactly like a cog in a machine, replaceable. There was a big lack of connection between me and my job. I wasn’t contributing to myself or society.
I tried everything I could “google” on to improve my job. I read articles and took quizzes. I’d invested a big chunk of money in my career path, so I was trying to figure out how to be happy at my job. Nothing worked. I wanted to feel that what I did at work mattered. I tried to make up excuses for why my job mattered, but it didn’t truly feel that way to me.
I thought for many years that once I’d earned more money and could travel to more places, then I’d be happy. I reached that goal, but I still felt horrible. Every day I dragged my feet to go work. (Later on, just as I was about to leave my job, I received a promotion, and I thought, “No amount of promotion is going to make me stay in this job!”)
I Couldn’t Go It Alone
One of my big challenges was a lack of support from my family and peers. It’s a very Asian problem to put an emphasis on your family’s approval. I couldn’t decide what to do. I read the idea “follow your dreams”, but I couldn’t organize my thoughts to make a decision. I’d met with another counselor before, but she was not specifically a career counselor, and at the the end of it I was still not able to make a decision.
I was worried about making the wrong decision because I’d made previous wrong decisions around my career. I’d always leaned on my parents for career advice, but this would be the first time going on my own path. I had no one to refer to. I was really scared that I would fail if I made a career decision on my own.
I wanted to be able to make a decision based on advice from someone who had expertise instead of asking friends and family. Google is not very helpful either. It cannot answer what it is you like to do. I wanted to feel confident in my choice. I wanted to be happier and more purposeful at work. I wanted to know that the work I did made a difference.
Achieving the Impossible
Now I tell my career story to people all the time. I tell them I wasted seven years of my life. The hardest part is to stop and ask, “What do I like doing?”. That’s what career counselors do. They help you to look through your past history for an indication of who you really are. They know what to look for and can help you connect to what you love to do.
I still struggle sometimes with the distinction between what is good for the market vs. what is good for me. I printed out emails from my coach and still read them to remind myself of the recurring themes of what I like, so that I can stay true to what I most like doing.
As a result of working with the Cardy Career Coaching team I am living my dreams right now. I received a full scholarship for a Masters program and am achieving what felt impossible to me not too long ago. Now the worst day in my current field is better than the best day in my old job. That’s how big a difference there is. I feel awesome and very lucky.