Friday, July 2, 2010

What's Stopping You?

I know it has been a while since I’ve blogged. A lot of life has come swirling in and turning things in different directions. I’m finally on the right path again and am looking at the path I want to take. But, boy oh boy, is it scary!

Like many others, I was laid off recently. And like many others I have been trying to replace my insecurity with a variety of things: cleaning, exercise, mental worrying, insomnia, junk food, resume after resume sent out. It’s a very unsettling feeling to know that in one minute you are no longer worth the salary you had. Your skills and experience are now worth half of what they were.

It’s times like this that people emerge into two categories – those who see the opportunity to try something new, and those who wallow in self-pity. Changing careers can be uncomfortable, but that usually means you are doing the right thing. If it felt safe and you didn’t have any butterflies in your stomach, then you aren’t really living life to the fullest.

According to Bruce Barringer and Duane Ireland, in their book “What’s Stopping You?”, we use the term “risk” to indicate the probability of a loss. The two terms used in conjunction with risk are endowment effect and loss aversion.

Endowment effect refers to the fact that we value something more once we posses it. (Didn’t care about grandma’s china until she was gone and it passes to you) Loss aversion is the tendency that people have to prefer avoiding losses rather than acquiring gains. (Game shows are good examples of not giving up the money now for the chance of a bigger prize) These concepts also explain why we would rather keep our bad job than jump out to find or start a new one.

The three activities we can all do right this minute to make objective decisions about our careers are:
1. Determine what you want out of life. This is actually the hardest step and must be done thoroughly. Write in a journal, make a picture wish list, but get everything on paper so you can see it and connect with it.
2. Be realistic when answering “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” There are lots of things that I could say would suck, but is it really life and death? So what if I fail? Will the world stop rotating? I highly doubt it. And you can replace “things” if you loose them.
3. Research, research, research. Whether it’s starting your own business, or changing careers, you need to know what is out there. Knowledge is power.

So, I am at a crossroads in my life. I lost a good job. I want a career that I love. I need flexibility for my family and a decent salary. I’m tired of sacrificing my life’s joy for everyone else’s comfort. I need to feel proud of myself.

As I progress through my life’s career change, I’ll keep you posted, so if any of you are on the fence you can know what is coming. See you on the other side,


  1. Hope you find something that is totally what you are looking for! In the mean time enjoy the mean time! I have been out of work for almost 3 years. I quit when I found out something was not quite right during my pregnancy with Sonya. I haven't gone back since things have been so very turbulent these first 2 years... I want to go back to work, but I definitely don't want to be doing what I was doing before, God awful waitressing and bartending job! Right now I'm using this non-working time to figure out what I would truly be happy doing. I think I have it all figured out... now I'm just waiting out some of the storm. Maybe when she's in Kindergarten or 1st grade. I guess what's holding me back is the fear that someone can't handle the situation as well as I can when something happens with Sonya, that something will happen and I won't be there to pick up the peices and put her back together again. I guess I'm a control freak when it comes to her care.

  2. Do what you love and I imagine everything else will fall into place. :D