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Bring a dead career back to life


"I have a great job. I'm just not earning any money."

"My career has died. My company merged and my industry is dying. I have no choice."

"I'm really burned out. I've been missing meetings and losing important documents."

Do these scenarios sound familiar?

Notice a common theme of these scenarios:

Feeling Powerless.

"I have no choice."

"I don't know what to do next."

What's your first step?

To stop feeling powerless, reclaim your power.

Totally Stalled?

Sometimes you are at a point in your life when it's time to do nothing, but inability to act can signal serious problems, such as clinical depression or anxiety.

If you're willing to move but don't know what to do, do something different. It doesn't matter what you do. Take a different route when you walk home. Turn left instead of right when you walk the dog.

Here are some other ideas:

  • Do something alone that you normally do with others: shopping, traveling, eating in a restaurant.
  • Do something in the evening that you usually do in the morning, or vice versa.
  • Change a routine. Can you move a first-thing-in-the-morning activity to noon? Alter an evening activity to morning?

Learn something new

Learning a new skill is the greatest confidence-builder I know. And by gaining mastery over some portion of your environment, you enhance your power in meaningful ways.

For example, when I adopted my dog, I experienced a meaningful life transition. As a confirmed cat-owner, I was accustomed to spoiling my animals and letting them run the house. With a dog, I had to become a pack leader. That meant obedience training, for both of us!. Five years later, I still feel thrilled when strangers stop to compliment me on my well-behaved dog.

Any skill gives you confidence.

My skill-building was accidental, but you can plan for skills through continuing education programs, Learning Annex, and more.

If you've avoided learning computer skills, take a basic course and then learn how to build web pages.

If you've stayed away from Home Depot, dare to try a carpentry course. Are you a couch potato? Check out classes in aerobics or yoga.

If you're smart enough to read this article you won't try the steepest slope at Aspen on your first ski trip and you won't overextend your heart or tendons in a high-impact step aerobics class. Adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment (and a puppy will tax your patience more than you can imagine). Stay within your own limits.

Bottom Line. There are two ways to reclaim your power when your world seems to be slipping away:

Action and Learning

Do something different and learn something new.

Not always easy -- but guaranteed to move you out of a dying career and bring life to your work as well as your soul.


Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., author of Making the Big Move, helps midlife professionals navigate career and business transitions.


Click here to contact Cathy Goodwin


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