THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SUCCESSFUL CAREER CHOICE & CHANGE starts with SELF-DISCOVERY. Doing work that is not satisfying reflects a basic conflict you have with yourself. You may think your career causes the conflict, and that if you change careers, the conflict will go away. But, you cannot pick the right career for you without first starting to resolve the conflict in your mind.
The conflict caused you to pick the wrong career to begin with, and now causes work dissatisfaction. The place to begin changing careers is with your self-conflict. If you do not, dissatisfaction will just show up in whatever work you choose next. Then you will have another reason to be upset with yourself.
This basic principle holds true for personal relationships too – – if you just change partners, the same problems are reproduced in the new relationship. The truth is, conflict you have with work is the same conflict you have with family, friends and relatives. Self-conflict takes many forms, but there is only one underlying cause – -how you relate to you in your mind.
Over time self-conflict may also show up as physical symptoms of illness and disease in your body. This is because mental health, physical health and work satisfaction are intertwined. Anyone who believes career dissatisfaction is determined by outside factors, however, will also find
external explanations for health problems and inter-personal misunderstandings.
A conflict with work, therefore, expresses a hidden conflict within yourself. When we are young, we tend to see our problems as imposed, and solved, by external means. Explanations may range, for example, from environmental (“a bad job market”) to circumstantial (“a bad boss”). To overcome these adversities is the very reason we strive to attain the highest income and best career possible.
But this strategy must inevitably break down, since it locates the reasons for conflict outside yourself. Beneath appearances, there is only one problem, and it is the relationship of you with you. Understanding this principle requires some insight and maturity, techniques that contradict external and superficial points of view.
Individuals do not ordinarily attain a more contemplative attitude toward life before the age of “thirty-something.” Until then, you think your career is created by economic opportunities, influential connections, quality of higher education, family background, good fortune and hard work.