Career Melting Down? Find a New One You Love

mm Bill Pace

Okay, gotta start this piece off with a bit of cutesy holiday cheer. If you know America’s Got Talent, or similar such shows, then you know that talent comes in all sorts of packages: ages, skin colors, hair colors, heights, weights, religions, languages, and so on.

But there’s something about a petite, twelve year old, ukulele-playing, Kansas-born girl that strikes a chord (literally and figuratively). So, if you want a little cheering up, check out this video of Grace VanderWaal’s version of “Frosty the Snowman”

Now that you’re in a better mood, here are some thoughts inspired by Grace’s diddy:

  • First of all, to one degree or another, everyone has talent. Sometimes it’s an amazing talent (Mozart), sometimes just a piddling one (my writing). Sometimes it’s out there for the world to see (Prince) and sometimes it’s well-hidden (my sense of humor). Finding and developing your talent(s) is a lifelong process. Grace found hers early; Grandma Moses was a late bloomer. Do it now; do it tomorrow; do it forever.
  • Secondly, whenever and however possible, reflect your talents in your work. Sometimes your work is a direct expression of your talent. If you’re the first violin in the local symphony, you’re obviously using your talent. But you can reflect your talent in other less direct ways. If you have a good sense of humor, lift up your co-workers spirits. If you’re good at event planning, help produce your company’s annual holiday party. If you’re good at fundraising, take on a role in your company’s philanthropic activities (and if the company doesn’t do anything philanthropic, take the lead in changing that).
  • Lastly, recognize that change is often not just good, it’s essential. Your interests and talents vary with age (just ask a 65 year old golfer about his game 20 years ago). While not quite seasonal, interests — including career interests — do shift. Sometimes by choice, sometimes by necessity, sometimes by economic imperative. Some careers melt down because of dwindling commitment; some melt down due to shifting markets (just ask a 45 year old coal miner).

So, like Frosty, you may find yourself melting down. Maybe quickly, maybe slowly, but melting down just the same. You can reinvent yourself in a career that leverages the talents that you have and want to develop next, but it takes recognition, time, and energy. Now’s the time to do something about it. Or in Frosty’s words: “Let’s run, and we’ll have some fun now, before I melt away… Don’t cry, I’ll be back again some day.”

Happy Holidays!

Bill Pace is Managing Director of ClearlyNext, a guided online career program that helps people of all backgrounds and incomes figure out what to do next. Read more >