I recently met with a client whose struggles are not unique among the people that seek out my career coaching services. The person I am referring to, Patricia (not her real name), is a seasoned professional who has been working in a public sector job for just over six months.
Patricia accepted her role in the public sector after a long career in the private sector. She booked a career coaching appointment to confidentially discuss where she was now, and what could be ahead for her career-wise.
When Patricia met with me, she reported her overall career satisfaction to be about 6/10. This type of rating usually means someone is not in their dream job, but it is a role that meets many of their needs. Patricia’s satisfaction level was high enough with her current position that she could afford to take more time to consider her options.
In Patricia’s case, personal needs and circumstances drove her latest career move. She changed jobs and moved to a new city to be closer to her ageing parents. She left a job she liked very much that paid more money to accept her new role.
This role was not as satisfying to Patricia, but accepting this job allowed her to move to be closer to her parents. Patricia does not regret the decision, but the reality is the role she accepted could be perceived as a step backward from a career perspective.
Patricia made a clear career tradeoff to meet life priorities. She reached out to make an appointment with me when the implications of that decision were starting to sink in.
Patricia appreciated the chance to re-tell her story and reaffirm the reasons why she intentionally made the tradeoff. Reconnecting with her value-based rationale for the move helped her make peace with where she landed.
She was ready to start looking at what else could be possible for her career-wise now she is settled. It was time to set new goals and develop a strategy. Like many people, ageing parents and other family circumstances weigh heavily in real life career choices.
Patricia’s career path, like most people’s, is affected by both work and life conditions. Career paths usually aren’t linear, and decision-making must take into account a combination of factors.
Through a narrow lens of an organizational chart, Patricia’s move resulted in a demotion. Through the multi-faceted lens of work and life factors, Patricia made a strategic career move in alignment with his real-life priorities.
Now that Patricia has successfully relocated, she is taking the same strategic approach to finding another position that will deliver her even more satisfaction at work.