“Every noble work is bound to face problems and obstacles. . . . Once a positive goal is chosen, you should decide to pursue it all the way to the end. Even if it is not realized, at least there will be no regret. “
As the new year approaches, many people think about changing jobs or careers. The thought of another years of doing the same thing motivates them to think about change. Sadly, too few act to make changes in their life. They know that there will be “problems and obstacles,” so they bow their heads and sink back into misery.
What’s the alternative? Focus on where you are and where you want to be. Make a plan, but keep it flexible enough so you can adapt to new realities. The most important thing to think about is your happiness. If your current job or career is not satisfying, what do you have to lose in making a change?
A realistic approach to career change will make you more likely to achieve your goal. The path will not be straight or easy, but with the right attitude and effort you can get to where you want to be as a professional. As the Dalai Lama says, to stay where you are not happy will not just bring you misery, it will add to it “regret.” Don’t cheat yourself. Make 2012 the year when you pursue the life you want to live.
“When our self-defeating attitudes, emotions, and conceptions cease, so will the harmful actions arising from them.” The Dalai Lama
The job search is always difficult, especially in the current market. When someone applies for work every week without getting interviews, despair sinks in. When good interviews don’t lead to an offer, it is easy to quit. The greatest challenge job seekers face is staying strong in the face of rejection.
How can we deal with this problem? Accept reality. You will hear no again and again. Employers will hint that they really like you, but they never call you back. Expect rejection and not hearing back. Your challenge is to keep doing things that will lead to a job: networking, filling out applications, and distributing resumes. Stay active and hold to a positive attitude.
Henry Ford put it best:
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
Find a way to “think you can.”
The Dalai Lama teaches many valuable lessons. He presents his formula for happiness this way:
“Contentment is key. If you have contentment without material things, you are truly rich. Without it, even if you are a billionaire, you will not have happiness.”
Our ad and commercial filled world keeps telling us that we need things – new things, bigger things. I try to ask: Did my grandmother need this? Can I live without it? Keeping life simple is hard, but it’s also the path to contentment and peace, which is more important than the next new thing. Do you need “it” to be happy. Probably not.
“We all dream of a kinder, happier world. But if we with to make it a reality, we have to ensure that compassion inspires all of our actions.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama
I read this quote today and immediately thought about my clients. People beat themselves up when they are unemployed. They feel sleights and insults that normally would not be a big deal. They worry and often fall into despair. These emotions are understandable given the current job market. What we need to do is to find a way to limit their impact.
Start with compassion for yourself. We are often more forgiving of others, more supportive of others, than we are to ourselves. In most cases, people have lost jobs through no fault of their own. Don’t blame yourself for something that is out of your control. If you were let go from a job because of something you did, take this circumstance for what it is. Learn from your mistake and move on. As the great writer and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said, we cannot control the circumstances of our live, but we can control how we react to those circumstances. Work is a big part of our lives, but so are family, friends, and the other things that make us happy.
Invest in your happiness. This can be done for little or no cost. Go to a museum on a day when admission is free. Take a book out of the library (or download a classic from Project Gutenberg). Walk in the park and enjoy the big, beautiful world that we often forget about while we’re stuck in the office. Enjoy!
More wisdom from the Dalai Lama:
“Tragic circumstances help you develop inner strength, the courage to face them without emotional breakdown. Who teaches this? Not your friend, but your enemy.”
For many people today, the enemy is job loss or wage cuts. Our real challenge is to face the enemy without anger or tears, to solve our problem without a show of “poor me.” One important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Workers across this country – and many other countries – are facing the same problem. As the wise man says, we need to learn from our enemy and become stronger. Look inside. The strength you need is there. You just have to find it.
“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama
We all have disappointments in our careers and our personal lives. But, often, when we look back, we realize that the thing we wanted wasn’t right for us. One of the greatest human skills is adaptability. When our plans break down, we are forced to change, to take another path. That journey tests us and helps us discover new strengths. We become different people, and the thing we wanted doesn’t seem that important anymore. Don’t mourn. Keep moving forward.
“There is no guarantee that there will be a job tomorrow if you are working today. So, if we understand this ahead of time, it may change how we respond when that happens. Then we won’t feel so surprised, as if we are singled out. We understand that the loss of a job has many factors; the result of many causes and conditions. We will understand that, in many cases, it many even have roots in global economic issues. This way, we won’t become so upset by taking it personally, or looking around us for someone to blame for our problems.”
Job loss has many causes, especially in a time when many companies are cutting costs. Rather than look backward and ask a question that has no answer, we are better off when we accept uncertainty and know that there are no guarantees. According to Senator Bernie Sanders who appeared on Thom Hartmann’s show, 42,000 factories closed in the U.S. over the last decade, add to that, the jobs lost because of the “mortgage meltdown,” and we have a mess. There will be no fast solution to our current Job Depression (Workers are hurting; Wall Street is booming.). We need to understand the situation and keep things in perspective. It’s not our fault. Even so, we have to live with the problem and do our best to continue to manage our careers. Listening to the wisdom of the Dalai Lama makes it a little easier.
“Don’t simply believe what I say without question, but use it as a basis for personal reflection and, in that way, develop your understanding of the Dharma.”
We live in a world where experts claim to have all the answers. What I love about this quotation from a truly wise man is that he challenges his followers to test his teaching. He wants them to be responsible and free to “develop your understanding.” That’s a much better model for career management (and life) than “I’m an expert; listen to me.” Always question – find your own truth.