Career Turmoil – A Good Thing?

There is nothing like a good career crisis.

The truth is, nobody WANTS to have their career turned upside down. I have yet to meet someone who enjoys being unhappy with their current career. Worse than being miserable in a job is not having one at all.

I have experienced all of the above. I have also seen numerous clients in my coaching business that deal with the very real stress and pain of various types of career turmoil. I am not attempting to downplay or trivialize the seriousness of career challenges but instead seek to offer a perspective of how to effectively cope with and manage career turmoil from someone who has been there and done that.

There is usually a great deal of pain associated with career turmoil. Often there is injustice involved and possibly some tears. Go ahead and mourn. It is ok to feel sorry for yourself. You need to do that for a period. However, there comes a time when you need to make a decision to seize control of your life and turn your career crisis into an advantage.

That is the time to turn your crisis into an opportunity. Your career turmoil may be the best opportunity you have ever had to take a holistic view at your life. It is the time to take inventory of your skills, values and needs. Look at what makes you tick. When have you been the happiest? What are you good at? What are your unfulfilled dreams?

Dr, Helen Harkness is a leader in career development issues through her Dallas-based firm Career Design Associates, Inc ( In her book, Capitalizing on Career Chaos, Dr. Harkness details a four-step process you can follow to tap into your creativity and strengths and take control of your career. The four steps are: looking inward, looking outward, looking forward and taking action. There is no way to do any of these topics justice in this short blog (buy the book-it’s worth it), but I will offer a couple of observations on each area.

Looking Inward. The first step is a take an inventory of your career. Harkness suggests using career assessment tools to help. There are a number of good ones to help you better understand yourself and give you a better idea if the career path you are on is the right one for you.

The next step is to identify what gives your life meaning. Dr, Harkness writes about meaning magnets which are patterns of behavior in your life that go to the core of who you are. I encourage people to keep a journal. Use it to reflect on your accomplishments, strengths and career goals.

Looking Outward. This is the time you take the inward reflection you have been through and start looking for a career match. Research different careers and organizations. Develop a formal networking strategy. Call people. Meet with them. Go to community events. Activate your social media platforms such as Linked In, Facebook and Twitter.