When you dream about your future, what comes to mind?
Many recent studies of employee engagement claim that as many of 70% are spending work time pursuing or considering changing careers. On good days and challenging ones, you may be among those who are living in the world of “if only”, chasing an illusive dream, looking for passion, reinvention, or change.
Often, I find that people who are struggling with this issue are so busy doing what is expected of them…or chasing an ideal…that they have never taken the time to listen to themselves. Or, they are among the many for whom life or other people have conspired to cause them to bury their inner voice. Many look for techniques, systems and books to provide the answer to their career quandary; or focus on changing their career to resolve the existential issues in life….that have no “solution”, but require working through/accepting.
Pay attention to your dreams. Deconstruct, interpret, explore, write down, go beyond the evident to uncover the symbols or implications of your visions. The dream itself may be trying to tell you something. In my experience, people who want to discover or recover their passions have a sense of what they love to do/want to do but have buried, sidelined, dismissed or avoided it. Use your dreams to start an internal dialogue, gain insight, broaden your self-awareness. A career/life investigation takes courage. Often working with a career consultant will help you uncover and integrate hidden or buried desires and dreams. You may not have to change the work you do…you may find that you need to change the way you work, or expand your sense of occupation to include unmet elements with volunteer or avocational options.
Here are some thoughts to help you maximize your contemplation:
- Career dreams are symbols, that when deconstructed, can light the way to many real career options. They often need further analysis to convert them from unconscious and ambiguous images, ruminations or fantasies into grounded areas to explore.
- Thoughts about a career ideal or choice may really be about an occupation you wish to pursue or the dream may represent a need or an unfulfilled piece of your self that can be integrated into your current work/life.
- Taken literally, or acted on impulsively, a career dream can throw you off course, lead to an exhaustive search, or land you in a poor fit, with unsatisfying results.
- Dreams without action become fantasy–and this can can lead to a cycle of unmet desires and disappointment.
- Explore your career dreams with your career management consultant to help distinguish desired but unrealistic ideas from possibilities that can be actualized. For example, you can work on:
Turning dreams into occupations
Turning your unfulfilled career around
Turning weaknesses to strengths
Turning professional conflicts into collaborations
Turning an dream into a business solution