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The New American Dreamer: STOP Before You START

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Are you discouraged with the progress of your career? Perhaps what you are doing now is not the career path you had hoped you would follow. You’re not alone in your unhappiness. Some polls report that nearly three-quarters of workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. In these trying times, that percentage may be slightly higher. Studies show that people frustrated with their careers usually perform less well than those who are more satisfied, leading to even more discontent in the workplace.

If you love what you do, and make enough money doing it, you probably don’t want to change much, but if you are feeling “stuck” you may need to get “unstuck.”

Begin the road to a fulfilling career by going against your instinct to get going. Yes, it’s tempting to launch a full blown job search, going on job sites and sending out dozens of resumes. Before you can START—STOP! Take some time to evaluate your current situation. What about your job makes you unhappy? While you dislike your overall job, there may be pieces of it that you enjoy. Have you developed bad habits? If so, you may need to change before you move on.

What does your ideal job look like? Take 20 minutes each day to visualize where you would like to be. In other words, daydream! Yes, that’s right, I said daydream. Believe it or not, daydreaming is the first step on the path to a better job. If you don’t believe me, go see the offices at Google or 3M where people are encouraged to daydream and actually get paid to do it!

Stopping allows you to step back and view both the forest and the trees. You may see yourself as part of your company or part of a team. Even if your company’s stock is soaring and your team is winning awards, you may still be unhappy. Why? You may have lost sight of your own hopes and dreams, putting those aside in favor of serving a larger cause. “You Inc.” should be your focus. No matter where you work, in a large or small company, you are in business for yourself. Sound self-serving? Not at all. If you are happy in what you are doing, everyone benefits—you, your boss, your company, and your clients.

What will it take to make you happy and fulfilled in your job? A better boss? More travel? Taking on more responsibility? If these opportunities are not coming your way, ask yourself why. It may be as simple as asking for a transfer or new responsibilities. Or, it may mean you need to move on.

Feeling a little more clear headed by now? Great. This is usually when old fears start knocking on the door. Whatever you do don’t answer it. The “I can’t’s” and “Buts” will be addressed on a case by case basis, so don’t go looking for reasons to back down now. There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of, and there are plenty of reasons to believe in yourself. Now you can start to think about what kind of work you should be doing and how to get on with doing it.

If you are ready to change your life, STOPPING can be the key to STARTING.

Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

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