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Career Direction – Do you need to change career direction?

Do you need to change career direction, profession or field of work? Are you aware of the wake-up calls that you may be receiving to help you change career direction? Are you so entrenched in your duties, jobs and tasks that you fail to actually see the bigger, better picture of you and your career? Your wake-up calls have a message for you – the message that your work life needs to be redirected or changed in some way.


Wake-up calls help take you from your current work situation into your new situation. Your job-related wake-up calls tell you what you need to learn and allow you to decide whether to respond to that invitation. Many people have described the effect of wake-up calls as waking from a sleep or the humdrum of work. A wake-up call can help a person to realise that work can be different and offers the person an insight into their new work vision or an area of work that needs their attention.


Whatever your beliefs, thoughts or ideas on the subject, take the time to consider any wake-up calls you may have had or are having. They will certainly help guide you in which career direction to head. Let’s take a closer look at wake-up calls in more detail. Examples of typical wake-up calls are as follows:


  • The loss of someone close to you, which changes your focus about work.
  • An article about the type of work that does interest you.
  • A period of sickness or illness during which you consider doing something more worthwhile, purposeful or different.
  • A glimpse of what you really want by witnessing it in others.
  • A realisation that you are dissatisfied with your work day after day, week after week.
  • A recurring dream about work or the type of work that would suit you.
  • A television programme, film or video that arouses important feelings, ideas or thoughts.
  • People telling you the same thing in different ways.
  • The birth of a child, which changes your focus about work.
  • A speeding fine or a parking ticket, hinting that you are speeding through your life.
  • Redundancy or the loss of your job, forcing you to do something about your circumstances.
  • However it presents itself, the wake-up call has a message for you – the message that your work life needs to be redirected or changed in some way.


Most wake-up calls start very gently and quietly. They are almost a ‘whisper’ in your head. Thus, it can be easy to miss them. Initially the calls may be newspaper clips, news items, passing conversations with strangers and then the significance of them can be missed. Why? Because perhaps you were flicking through the newspaper on your way to work or parking the car while the news was on or not really paying attention to what the stranger was saying?


So many wake-up calls get missed because people are too busy to hear them or they don’t regard themselves as special enough to receive one. Yes, it is true that many people feel: ‘Not me, surely. I mean, I couldn’t possibly do that, be that or do that justice. No, this doesn’t refer to me – Who? Me? No, there must be someone else who is more talented, qualified and able than I am, so who shall I talk to about this?’


The wake-up call is preparing you to believe and accept that you are worth so much more. It is telling you loud and clear that you can and do need to change. Unless you respond to the calls, however, resistance can set in. Resistance often stops you from changing and keeps you firmly in your comfort zone. While you resist you are simply putting off the inevitable. How do you resist things?


  • Protecting yourself.
  • Denying things.
  • Getting angry or aggressive.
  • Avoiding things.
  • Apologising for things.
  • And on and on the list goes.


Initially resistance tactics work; but if you continue to resist them, the wake-up calls can become louder and more dramatic. Then, the wake-up call forces you to stop, listen and look at the situation with perhaps more ‘vulnerable’ or fresh eyes.


How do people respond to wake-up calls? Some people wait and wait, not responding to the call until such time as they can no longer ignore it. But others simply get a whiff of a message and they respond. They don’t even ask themselves, ‘Why me? I’m too old or too young.’ They are merely delighted to be given an opportunity to do something new, different and worthwhile even if they don’t know where it will lead them in the future. What drives them is the wakeup-call itself.


With any wakeup-call, stop, listen and reflect for a while. Do you need to change your profession or direction of work? Do you need to develop further personal skills? Do you need to focus on worthiness?


It is important to recognise where you are within your career development and to notice the ‘unseen’ and ‘unnoticed’ bits so that you can be active in your development. Do you need to write down your wakeup-calls?


They are there to guide you forward and to help you develop your resilience, qualities, confidence, trust, and sense of self-belief. They are your ‘gifts’ and can take you further and further up the career ladder or along your career path.


If you need further advice on how to interpret your wakeup-calls or how to further your career, please check out Sarah Berry’s latest book How to Love the Job You Do‘ and her best selling career e-books on CVs, interviews, career planning and being headhunted’. CLICK HERE for more information.


Career Direction


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BY: Sarah Berry

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