Planning by Career Seasons
Rick Jarow, author of Creating
the Work You Love, introduced many of us to the notion of
career seasons. When we're struggling with a career, we're most
likely to think of winter. At some point a career change (or
other transition) feels like being buried under a coat of ice,
hibernating through long, dark days. Hopefully we learn to see
the beauty of winter -- sun on the snow, clear air, the bare
outlines of trees denied their leafy cover-ups.
Spring gets promoted as a
time of new beginnings -- and it's a fragile season. Buds appear
on trees, only to become leaves in a matter of days. Cherry blossoms,
forsythia, and daffodils seem to last just long enough for us
to learn their names.
Spring also brings energy.
Here in New Mexico, we're blown about by winds. The dog races
around the park like a young puppy and the cats spend hours bird-watching.
Spring can be harsh. Frost
can crush the brand-new blossoms and a sudden snow will take
care of next summer's harvest.
And you can be fooled. Just
when you think it's safe to shut down your heating system, pack
up your parka and begin a joyful summer of shorts-and-a-tee,
you get a cold day. The dog is thrilled -- but you're not.
You probably see where I'm
heading with this. Often clients seek out my coaching services
after a long, hard job search, or a long dry period of seeking
customers for a new business. They've glimpsed a taste of success:
a few nibbles to the resume, a few customers who seemed happy
but then disappeared. They're really ready for summer.
Spring can be harder than
winter. After slogging through ice and snow, you're ready for
warmth! I remember living in cold climates -- Alaska, Connecticut,
Manitoba -- when a gray, cold spring seemed like the last straw.
We deserve more!
Inevitably, we do move on
because the earth turns and life goes in cycles. Longer days
bring more sunlight to fight the frost. Icicles start dripping
and then one day we notice they're gone and a dandelion sprouts
on the front lawn. At last!
Your experience of spring
depends on where you lived up to now -- literally and metaphorically.
By midlife, some people have experienced only summer. The first
winter can be terrifying. You don't own a parka and have no idea
how to shop for one. Boots? Gloves? Where do we start?
If you've been there before,
it's easier to believe spring is coming -- and you've learned
some tricks to protect your fragile new growth.
Need an extra boost to get
through spring -- your own or the season's? Talk to people who
have been there. Find a coach or counselor. Join a new group.
Take the dog for an extra long walk. Devise your own Spring Festival.
And keep looking for glimpses of summer every day -- even when
you've had to pull an extra sweater out of storage.
Exercise: I recommend keeping
a record of spring. Write down the changes you see -- and the
dates. When do you first notice a snowdrop or a dandelion? When
does the ice start to melt? How are you responding? How does
this spring compare to the last one? And put aside your record
in a safe place -- to read the next time spring comes around.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
Author, Career Consultant, Speaker
*Fast Track to Career Freedom*