“Identifying or fulfilling our life’s calling was simply another name for being unemployed and living in a painted Volkswagen van.”


“Workers who are considering a career change must start by assessing their personal values,” says Dan Novak, an assistant professor of leadership at South University Online. “Only after we clarify our values and establish our priorities can we determine if a career change is necessary or desirable.”

Novak says after determining their priorities, some people may realize their current job is actually a good fit for them even if they are not satisfied with their salary. He adds that sometimes employees are able to find a way to pursue their ideal career in their current organization.

“Alternatively, the value analysis will reveal that some workers need to change jobs, organizations, and careers,” Novak says. “As workers continue to work into their 60s, 70s and 80s, there is not an obvious cut off at which we are stuck in a career. Forty-year-old workers can pursue education now that will benefit them for another 40 years.” …

Novak believes many middle-aged workers accepted jobs right out of college strictly for their financial benefits.

“Many of us who entered the workplace in our 20s did not ‘choose’ a calling or career,” Novak says. “We just needed a job and the resources that come with that. We took a job. Not a career.”

“Similarly, most of us had not specifically determined or prioritized our personal values,” Novak says. “Our values at the time revolved around cash, paying bills, cash, having a little fun, cash, starting a new family, cash, feeding babies. Identifying or fulfilling our life’s calling was simply another name for being unemployed and living in a painted Volkswagen van.”

Many have started to look beyond the paycheck and are taking their personal values into consideration more than they once did. “Younger generations are asking questions about life’s purpose and values,” Novak says. “They place a higher priority on people and relationships, over cash and company loyalties. To fulfill their purpose and to chase their prioritized values, they desire positions of influence, roles that provide value to people, organizations who care, and the margin to pursue their dreams.”

Novak advises prospective career changers to look at the big picture. “Taking an 80-year perspective on life, purpose, and work changes the risk equation,” Novak says. “Is a 40-year-old person taking a risk by choosing to leave a ‘job’ and ‘become’ a person who adds value in his or her chosen calling or career?”

He also says people who chose to stay in a career they’re unhappy with risk burnout, stress, dissatisfaction, anger, and a lifetime of wondering.

Leadership Lessons for a Crisis Economy

An interview / article published by our university.


Original Thought

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