Changing Careers in a Bad Economy


Conventional wisdom and the media would have you believe that if you have a job, thank your lucky stars and don’t even think about leaving it. In previous blogs, I have been giving stress management techniques for handling a crisis driven workplace and they will work to get you calmer and perhaps even help you to turn within instead of to the office muffins or donuts.

But, when we are not learning anymore, challenged anymore by our current career and there is no lateral move to take within the company, what does one do? Here are some tips:

1) The first key to a successful career transition that manifests from your heart instead of your old mental pictures is to strengthen the muscle of intuition. The first step in building this muscle begins with what you put in your mouth. Food or liquid that has caffeine or sugar will accelerate adrenal function. Our adrenals stimulate the nervous system to go into a fight or flight response. In other words – anxiety or other fear based emotions. Consuming food that balances your blood sugar such as protein and complex carbohydrates will also balance brain function. I cannot say enough about the need to get at least 800 mg of magnesium into your body every day. It is magnesium not calcium in milk that is calming. We are a magnesium deprived nation. The kind of magnesium you take is also important. For example, Magnesium glycinate is absorbed by the body more easily than magnesium oxide which can cause loose bowels if taken in high quantities.

2) 30-40 minutes of some kind of exercise that works the whole body: walking, jogging, yoga, a dance class, etc will get your endorphins going and also release stress that would prevent you from hearing the wise voice inside.

3) Notice your feelings as you go about your day. What job responsibilities, life events, and people give you energy or passion? Write it down for three weeks. These are the clues to what is emerging as your new life purpose.

4) Discipline yourself to sleep 7-8 hours a night. Turn off the tv, don’t read books, magazines, or newspapers that stimulate your mind right before bed. The more rested you are, the more apt you will be to feel confident about making a career change and the more access to your intuition you will have to come up with out of the box ideas for how to proceed with less conventional strategies. Also, when you get adequate REM sleep between 3-5 AM you are more apt to remember your dreams. Setting an intention before sleep to show you in your dreams, a creative solution, can bring you ideas you never considered. Many great inventors got their AHA! moment in a dream.

5) In your down time at night, instead of watching television to relax from a frustrating day, reach out to social communities like Facebook and Twitter with a research intention and let people know what you are looking for.

6) Consider starting a business from home while you still have a job. Begin to notice what products are missing in the marketplace and think in an entrepreneurial fashion. Ordinary people have come up with simple ideas that made them a fortune without a business background.

7) Volunteer. Do your research on companies or non profit organizations who court the kind of patrons that you want to network with. By volunteering for charity events or giving even 5 hours a week of your time to a cause you believe in could turn an avocation into a new vocation.

8) To go back to the beginning of this article, another strategy for building intuition and emotional stability in a time of change is to spend 15 minutes a day in stillness. If you can quiet your emotions, in a state of calm, ask the question, what is the highest next step I should take to create more fulfillment in my career? The answer may lie in staying in your present work but reinventing it in some way. And it may mean taking a risk and following your heart. Just remember, it is only the next step, not the five year plan you have to implement.

Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, career coach, columnist, public speaker, and author of The LifeQuake Phenomenon. She can be contacted through her website, or her office at 310-712-2600.