How Can You Design a Rewarding Career if You Have Unfinished Business?

When we put things off until some future – probably mythical – Laterland, we drag the past into the future. The burden of yesterday’s incompletions is a heavy load to carry. Don’t carry it.

~ Peter McWilliams ~

You may not think so, but there’s something very special about starting over after years and years in the same job or company. You have a golden opportunity to step back, reflect, complete the past, and design a new and rewarding career that fits who you’ve become as you progress through each stage of your life.

The first time around, you may not have had the opportunity to create a rewarding career. By rewarding, I mean a career that offers you fulfillment as well as a paycheck. You may have chosen your first career by happenstance or by some idea of doing something “practical”.

The second time around, you have more information to work with. You have experience, you are older, wiser, and you have gained a better sense of who you are and what you want. What better tools than those could you have in your toolkit for designing a rewarding career?

Clean Up Your Unfinished Business

There’s a catch. You can’t move forward if you have unfinished business to clean up. Be willing to jump in and do the work. It’s going to help you be able to design a fresh start with a clean slate.

  • Did you choose to leave or were you “invited” to leave?
  • Do you harbor bad feelings toward your former employer or co-workers?
  • Are you blaming the government, the economy, your age, or some other circumstance that you feel caused your current circumstances?

If so, you have “unfinished business” to clear up before you can effectively, powerfully, and eagerly move on to design and build a new, rewarding career.

Don’t Force Yourself to Just “Get on With It”

Whether you left your job voluntarily to retire or whether you want to pursue new opportunities, experiencing a sense of loss is a natural part of making a career transition. Don’t avoid it. Work with it and treat it as part of the clean-up process.

Don’t force yourself to just “get on with it”, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to push you. Give yourself breathing room to work through your feelings.

  • You may feel anger if you believe you were unfairly dismissed
  • You may experience grief, especially if you loved your job or career
  • If you are an older worker, you may feel devalued
  • You may feel like you’ve lost your identity
  • You may feel like you’ve become an “outsider” – no longer part of the “team” or “community”

The last thing you want to do is drag those emotions with you into the future. You can’t design a rewarding career when you are bogged down with emotional baggage.

Releasing the Emotional Charge

Releasing the emotional charge associated with losing your job is a valuable exercise that will free you up to enthusiastically face the future and create a rewarding career with optimism and anticipation.

Journaling is a great way to begin releasing the emotional charge associated with losing your job. It’s also a safe venue for expressing yourself freely.  Keep at it until you find some objectivity. At that point, you are likely to see new possibilities for the future.

Working with a coach or other trusted advisor is another way to release the emotional charge. Make sure you share with someone who is willing to listen objectively and openly.

Your only outcome at this point is to “empty your tank” and free yourself of any emotional charge associated with your previous career or workplace. It may take a while, so be compassionate and patient with yourself as you go through the process.

You’ll know you are getting thee when you begin to experience a sense of peace and acceptance.  You’ll know you are coming out the other side when you experience even a tiny jolt of anticipation about what’s next for you.

That’s when it starts to get fun and “sexy”. When you’ve emptied your emotional “tank” of unfinished business, you are ready to begin creating a rewarding career that combines Passion, Purpose, and a Paycheck!® In today’s world, the opportunities available to you are only limited by your imagination and willingness to think about your career in brand new ways, regardless of your economic status, age, or gender.

What’s stopping you from creating a rewarding career that combines Passion, Purpose, and a Paycheck®? Share in the comments.

Please do share this article with someone you know who would love to design a “Sexy Second Act” career, if only they could “figure out” what they want to do.