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My Advice

No matter where I go or who I am talking to, when the conversation comes around to work or jobs or careers, someone has a coaching question. The following are some of the questions I have received and my responses.


Dear Prudence,

It is not that I am unhappy in my work or career; it is just that I am not inspired by it. I certainly don't feel any of the passion you refer to in your book. What should I do?

A - You are correct to be concerned, because you cannot produce your best results or feel any joy if you lack passion for your work. When I am coaching someone on this issue, there are a number of questions I have them reflect on. One would be:

Describe to me something in your life that you really love to do. Then break down the activity into its components. For example, I love to cook. So what is it about cooking that I love? The answer may be finding new recipes (discover), learning a new cooking technique (learning), and creating an exotic new dish (creating). Now, do any of these attributes, i.e. discovery, learning and creating show up in your current work? If not, could your work be restructured to provide these elements. How do the activities of cooking compare to your job?

Dear Prudence,

I do not like my boss. Should I quit my job?

A - There is not an easy answer to this one. And quitting your job is a big step. First, I would remind you that you cannot change anyone; all you can do is change yourself. So the issue is what is it you don't like about the boss and can you overcome it? Whenever someone tells me they don't like someone, I ask them first to take a look in the mirror and check into whether what they don't like about this person is something they may not like about themselves. Many times, what we are turned off by in others is a behavior or style we possess but don't recognize. From there, we review the specific issues to see if there is a way around this situation. Ultimately, if there is no way to overcome the situation, then I help them develop a plan to move on.

Dear Prudence,

I have just been passed over for a promotion and feel defeated. My self-confidence is very low and I am not sure what to do next.

A - I do not know how long it has been since you did not get the new position, but I can tell you that you are going through the normal grieving process and emotions for such a loss. The issue is to get into action to move up from the valley of despair and reenergize yourself for other possibilities. First, you should be sure you understood, not speculated on why you did not get the job. This clarity is important since I find that most people will create stories about why they did not get the promotion that are far worse than the actual reason. Then I would tell you to take a look at what you really want in life (this is one key outcome of our book) and develop plans to get it. The important thing to recognize is the career success you already have had and that this one loss does not define you. Most of the time these losses can be a blessing in disguise.

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