“There are hundreds of thousands of us ill-suited for the work we are doing, searching unsuccessfully for passion in our work. This is not a job training issue, it’s a soul-level issue.”
These words, from the book, Walking a Sacred Path, by Dr. Lauren Artress of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, jumped off the page because they reflected my own philosophical belief that frames and guides my career counseling work.
Often clients will see me thinking that we’ll talk strategy right away. While I fully agree that having a sound and effective plan for making a career transition is essential, it’s not very often the first step in the process.
First, I need to understand the real issue behind a person’s discontent with their current work or career. Especially when the person is in the second half of life, the real issue becomes complicated by other life challenges that may emerge by way of a career or job during this complex time of life.
From a Jungian perspective, the second half of life presents opportunities to integrate lesser-known parts of ourselves as we move through life toward wholeness. Consider that fact with the notion that most people work out significant life challenges in two arenas: relationships and work, and you have the makings of a “it’s more than a job-training issue” scenario.
You may be wondering if your career or work challenge falls into the deeper category of “soul work”, meaning it has a spiritual dimension. If you answer yes to any of the following questions you may be experiencing a soul issue,
- Is the issue at work or in your career part of a pattern you’ve experienced in the past?
- Does the issue seem to warrant a solution that goes beyond what you can figure out alone?
- Have you tried various ways to address the challenge only to come back to a stuck place?
If it’s a soul issue, be gentle with yourself because you may be facing into an important and possibly transformational time. Engage in activities that allow contemplation, reflection and inspiration so you’ll gain a clearer understanding of your situation and your options.