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I lost my job – now what?

I lost my job – now what?

Q. I was laid off almost a year ago from my job in an auto plant. I haven’t been able to find a job anywhere. I’m only 42 and I need to support my family. What can I do?

A. What does the mechanical engineer do when he comes to understand his engineering career is the major cause of significant and long-term job dissatisfaction? What does the recently divorced dad do now that his travel schedule is no longer possible? What does the stay-at-mom do when her spouse suddenly passes away? What does the professional ballet dancer do when …? As I work with individuals who hit their career crossroads, the simplest of exercises is where we begin. We ask two questions.

• Question # 1 – What do you want to do to get a new job?

• Question # 2 – What do you know you must do, even though you do not want to do it?

We then work together to answer each question on separate sheets of paper. Next, we set aside the answers to question #1. No one wants to – everyone wants to do what they want to do. However, when it comes to career detour situations, the challenge is that you have to do what you gotta do, even though you do not want to do it.

To successfully make a career transition, everything depends upon how committed you are to performing those “gotta do” activities that, at first, seem like a significant stretch. Of course, the more routinely you work your way through such challenges, the more naturally you become comfortable with the new you. It literally becomes easier to be the new you than the old you.

In each of these situations, we find that wisdom, experience and the Holy Spirit provided solid answers to that second question. In their hearts, people know what needs to be done.

How did the people mentioned earlier fare? The engineer took out loans, returned to school and is now a nurse. The divorced dad working as a traveling sales representative scaled back his lifestyle to fit his new local job and reduced income level. The widowed mom is now working as an administrative assistant after taking several valuable computer skills classes. The ballet dancer relocated, took an entry-level job as a customer service representative and, in just a few years, greatly increased her initial income.

Different stories, yet there is a common outcome of a successful career transition. You, too, may learn to truly believe Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”