Table of contents:
- A determined man of 40–45 years old bursts into my office. From the doorway, he declares: “I'm out of my mind! Everybody tells me that!" I become alarmed, I start asking clarifying questions in order to understand the situation. And this is what turns out …
- Back to youth
- Changing profession is an important life choice
- Happiness every day
Video: How To Change A Profession In Adulthood - Image, Society
A determined man of 40–45 years old bursts into my office. From the doorway, he declares: “I'm out of my mind! Everybody tells me that!" I become alarmed, I start asking clarifying questions in order to understand the situation. And this is what turns out …
Alexander (name has been changed) is 44 years old. He "made himself" and is quite successful by external standards. He has a family, two children, his own house, and a nice car. No restrictions on food or clothing; can afford to go on vacation with the whole family somewhere to the warm sea. Until recently, he was the executive director of a small factory. The enterprise works stably, customers have always been, employees received decent wages on time. It would seem that life is a success, and Alexander, a typical representative of the "middle class", can only live quietly in anticipation of grandchildren and a pension, but no.
To understand the completeness of the picture - a small excursion into the past of Alexander. He comes from the village, from a large family. He studied well at school, and as a "social beneficiary" he managed to enter a prestigious university in a big city. But his family was not able to pay for his life and studies, and from the first year he worked part-time in a variety of jobs. As Alexander himself recalled, “I had to spin, and each new month was an intrigue for me - can I earn money for food, housing, transport or not? But I learned to survive even in such situations when my peers “merged” - dropped out of school and returned home”.
After graduating from the university, Alexander managed to find a job in a state structure. The work was "dust free", until one fine moment there was a litigation in which the organization where Alexander worked and one commercial company collided. Having studied the case, Alexander realized that it was, in fact, fabricated and that it was just an attempt by the authorities to put pressure on unwanted business. Alexander had the courage to refuse to participate in such an outrage, but he had to quit his job.
However, there is a silver lining - soon Alexander began to work as a lawyer in that very business organization. A little later he became an anti-crisis manager at a subsidiary; and eventually became an executive director. I gave such a detailed description of the life story of Alexander solely so that you are convinced that the person is really successful. That he is a real "fighter" who does not run away from difficult life challenges and is able to achieve his goals in spite of unfavorable circumstances. He is well educated, smart, knows how to build relationships with people and is a good leader. Then what kind of madness are we talking about?
Back to youth
Here's what happens next: about a year ago, Alexander quit his job as director. He resigned of his own free will, without any objective reason. “I suddenly felt bored. Everything is fine at the enterprise, everything is stable, everything works. There are, of course, some difficulties, but they are minor and routine. Some kind of groundhog day. I'm just tired of this life."
The first six months after his dismissal, he devoted himself. He realized some desires that he had put off for a long time: he actively went in for sports, studied English, went to visit friends on the other side of the country. At first, everyone thought that he was just “kooky” - he arranged a kind of long vacation for himself, but over time he would definitely return to his former place of work (especially since the business owners persuaded him to return). Who is turning down a director's position (amid the economic downturn and difficulties in finding work for those over 40)?
But finally everyone (family, friends, former colleagues) decided that Alexander had gone crazy when a few months ago he nevertheless found a new job. I got a job in a small company that is striving "through hardships to the stars" - trying to actively grow and develop, but resources are constantly lacking, and the market for the company is quite difficult. He receives almost three times less money. The family, of course, is unhappy, but Alexander "has enough for everything."
Alexander's new position is called "Deputy Director", but the work itself has nothing to do with sitting in an office and signing endless papers (as it was in the previous director's position). Alexander runs around the premises around the clock, pulls out something, “settles” recurring crises, conducts many negotiations with partners, suppliers, customers. As he himself says, “every day is an adventure! As if he returned to his youth - again you have to spin and survive. I even lost a few pounds. But I like!"
Changing profession is an important life choice
Here's a paradox: I see before me an energetic and smiling man with a youthful gleam in his eyes. Only an exceptionally happy person can look like this. Who, nevertheless, under pressure from loved ones begins to doubt: “Am I doing the right thing? What kind of adventurism is it - to give up a cozy director's chair in favor of the daily struggle for survival in a small firm? Have I lost my mind if I made such an irrational choice? Somewhat is generally reasonable and responsible - to change your career so radically when you are already 44 years old?"
Alexander faces a difficult choice: return to his previous job, which guarantees a reliable income and stability, or start a new life in a stream of changes, where there is excitement and joy, but there are no guarantees of material well-being. The first option is approved by all loved ones (family, friends, former colleagues), but the second is categorically disliked by them. It will have to be taken at your own peril and risk, and there will be no one with whom to share responsibility for your choice.
To be honest, I don't know what choice Alexander made - the psychologist does not give the client ready answers and does not require him to make a final decision during the consultation. The psychologist helps to study the situation from different angles, including those that the client himself may have overlooked. It was the same at this consultation, after which Alexander “went to think”. But if suddenly someone is interested, I can share some thoughts.
Happiness every day
Happiness (like any state) cannot be postponed, it happens only in the present, "here and now." Our feelings do not lie, we can perfectly discern when we feel exclusively boredom and discouragement at work, or when we find ourselves in a "state of flow" and are as passionate about what we are doing. Of course, you can reason like this: “Let me endure and suffer at my unloved job, but I will get a lot of money for it, and then …” And then what? Buy yourself a lot of happiness with this money ?!
But (and this is a psychological law) the expectation of happiness in the future never coincides with the actual experience of happiness (when that future finally comes). The more grandiose we draw in our imagination a picture of future happiness, the more disappointment awaits us when this situation, projected in our head, actually happens. You cannot invest in happiness, you cannot "buy it in the future." Therefore, it is difficult to call it reasonable to sacrifice the feeling of happiness "here and now" for the sake of illusory future happiness.
Usually, our life experience gives us the ability to fairly accurately model what kind of work / activity makes us truly happy
In the case of Alexander, everything is obvious: activity, "movement" and struggle, overcoming difficulties are important to him; the ability to implement new projects that do not have standard solutions; independence, the presence of broad powers and personal responsibility, etc. He is satisfied with his work, if these conditions are met. If these conditions are not present, then Alexander will cease to feel alive; stagnation sets in in his life, developing into a life crisis (it is not known with what consequences).
For other people who are not like Alexander, his choice in favor of a new place of work (and in fact, a new life) will be perceived as madness. After all, this choice contradicts social stereotypes that a career should be exclusively vertical, that everyone should storm all new job / salary heights. But if you look at this choice from the standpoint of personal self-realization, then for Alexander it is a "return to yourself", to your inner essence, to your "real self."
For some reason, it seems to me that I know what choice Alexander will make. Surely he will understand that he has not "lost his mind", but began to understand himself better and chose a job that will help him become truly happy. And it does not matter at what age this awareness of "true self" and "one's business" will occur - at 20 or after 40!