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Posted by Mindy Thomas on

When Your Career Is in a Tailspin, Remember That Nothing Is in Stone

I get knots in my stomach when I hear about how twisted this job market is becoming. Frankly, the stories are never ending. From nurses at Penn who are completely skilled in their profession but have new educational mandates to complete by a certain date (or else!), to recent college graduates who are overwrought with confusion about what to do next, to baby boomers who are pressured to take severance packages before the ax hits, it’s no wonder that we’re all losing it.

No matter how you look at things, it’s a battle when it comes to sorting out career issues. On top of that, the larger world crises are looming over us. Sometimes I wonder how we can get so mired in our own microcosms when there are so many travesties around the world. But, for right now . . . let’s not digress.

When my 28-year old client finally landed her dream job as a writer for a medical magazine (after six long years, in addition to sinking thousands of dollars into a master’s degree), I asked her what it took to keep from sliding down the slippery slope. She actually admitted that she slid right down to the bottom. She quickly reminded me about her mantra: “The second you give up is the moment you need to keep trying.”

When my 48-year old baby boomer client abruptly left a position in higher education following a change in leadership after 20 years, and beat himself up repeatedly for this career mistake — he came to grips about many things. Shooting from the hip did cost him on all fronts, but in the end he learned from every opportunity and never gave up. It took him four years until he transitioned to his dream job as a director of a nonprofit organization that embraced a mission with values he could believe in.

Another story I am reminded of involves a 38-year old IT Implementation Analyst who was MADE for nursing. He underwent career counseling to finally put this crazy thought about becoming a nurse to “bed,” which only absolutely affirmed his desire to switch careers and go for it. Not only did he go on to obtain his BSN, but he’s beginning graduate work at Penn. There’s no turning back now.

Another Generation Y, IT Specialist who worked for QVC got laid off. Within a month, he packed his bags for North Carolina and landed his dream job at Channel Advisor. In fact, when he walked into his new company and saw a statue of Luke Skywalker in the lobby, he knew he had arrived.

Funny thing. I once sat in a therapist’s office and as I gazed across her end table there sat a large stone with an engraving that simply said, “Nothing is in stone.” When I read that message, I felt such a sigh of relief. What a concept. What a wonderful way to look at things . . . the belief that there’s nothing that can’t be changed, that nothing is permanent, and that you can change your life path. Ultimately, it’s your decision whether or not to adopt these beliefs.

Today, there are massive amounts of people who are in a tailspin with their career. When you decide to take action to invest in yourself, whether it’s career counseling, purchasing a few resource books, taking a course, obtaining a certification, updating your resume, and/or networking into a new association, you will set into action a new course. Believing that “nothing is in stone” is far more empowering a thought and will undoubtedly help you to pull yourself up and fly out of that tailspin.