QUESTION AND ANSWER FORUM

Email me directly at craignathanson@gmail.com with all your questions.  I am happy to respond to those to make your life more joyful.

VOCATIONAL PASSION

Follow my passion
Craig,

I left Corporate America to follow my passion which is singing. The problem is I am happy but not making ends meet. Suggestions? Do I go back to what I was doing before since it paid the bills but made me miserable?

Bill

Dear Bill,

It’s a tough question to answer . Would you rather be happy and struggling or making ends meet and miserable in the short term?
What else could you do to compliment your singing passions? Who else could benefit from your musical interests and abilities?
Sometimes its just pondering a few new possibilities to get your energy re-fueled

Regards Craig

What’s the problem with retirement?
Craig,

What’s the problem with retirement? I only have eight years left in a job that is boring but it pays the mortgage. In eight years, I’ll finally do what I want.

Name Withheld

A lot can happen in eight years. Life without passion is a life slowly dying. If you take action now vs. wait, the odds turn in your favor

Craig

Difference between vocational passion and having a career
Craig,

What’s the difference between vocational passion and having a career?

James

Dear James,

When you have vocational passion, you never have a need to stop or retire. When you have a career, one day you stop and then you are faced with trying to figure out what you really want to do. BY then your vocational passion muscles might be too weary for repair. The choice is up to you.

Regards Craig

Vocational passion
Craig,

How does one exactly find vocational passion?

Tim

Dear Tim,

First, start to look in the right places. Tip # 1- Start by looking from your heart, from the inside out

Regards Craig

Why is it so hard for me to do what I want?
Craig,

Why is it so hard for me to do what I want?

Name Withheld

Start by pondering what your perfect vocational day would be like if you actually lived it. That should get your heart pumping and your creativity flowing.

Regards Craig

Isn’t’ it risky to suddenly leave your job to pursue what might be considered one’s hobby
Craig,

Isn’t’ it risky to suddenly leave your job to pursue what might be considered one’s hobby, just because it is something you love to do?

Jenny

Dear Jenny,

I think it’s more risky to stay in a job that is no longer fulfilling. Better to live and do what one loves then to die slowly doing what you don’t love

Regards Craig

real people, real stories
Craig,

What does it take to get profiled in your real people, real stories section?

Susan

Dear Susan,

I am currently profiling people who while in mid-life discovered what they really were passionate about and then followed it . What would it take for you to join the club? I am offering free lifetime membership!

Regards Craig

I feel empty inside
Dear Craig,

Lately, I feel empty inside. I mean, I am good at what I do, but every day is the same and I feel I have so much more potential. Advice?

Jenny, First Line Supervisor

Dear Jenny,

Time to change but first you must identify what your perfect vocational day would be if you could create it. So many of us stop at this point as we get these great ideas on WHAT we want but stop short based on external feedback. Ok, here’s 50 million dollars. Now, six months from now, write down how you would spend your day. Then, look for vocational patterns from this day that you could follow if I took that 50 million away!

Regards Craig

Follow my passion
Craig,

I plan on following my passion of restoring old cars. The problem is I am not sure I can financially support my family in the first few years. Suggestions?

James

Dear James,

First, congratulations on moving towards what you want in your vocational life.
Figure out the minimum cash flow that you will need for the first few years and then figure out the maximum potential cash flow you can bring in for your new business.

What can you do to close the gap? Aside from the financial analysis which you should do, what other types of services and products could you sell around your love of cars? Many of us ponder ways to make more money doing the things they just left vs. those new activities which bring them passion!

Regards Craig

What should I do?
Craig,

I am a full time student and only 22. I found this site by accident. I am writing because I am in school and have no idea what I want to do when I get out. I don’t want to become lost later in mid-life. What should I do?

Jennie

Dear Jennie,

It’s great that you are now pondering this issue. It’s never too early to move towards what you love to do. What are you interested in? Do you have abilities in those areas?
Do you know how to gain abilities in the areas which interest you?
Ponder this and you will be well ahead of the rest of us in mid-life!

Regards Craig

Difference between doing a job JUST for money and doing a job you love?
Craig,

What’s the difference between doing a job JUST for money and doing a job you love?

Name Withheld

In one way or another, all of us end up renting our behaviors to someone else for money. The secret is to make sure you love what you do and then you won’t be able to tell the difference between your work and your play.

Regards Craig

Difference between career and vocation
Craig,

I enjoyed your new book, P is For Perfect. I still don’t understand the difference between career and vocation?

Sam- Retail

You retire from careers and then one day your life is over. With vocation, you experience a sense of meaning that stays with you over the long haul. With vocation, it makes it difficult to retire from meaning and fulfillment

Craig

I find myself feeling scared
Craig,

I am in the process of following my passion but at least two days a week, I find myself feeling scared and not as confident.

Mary- Teacher in training

Dear Mary,

This is normal. You are still in transition, sure about where you have been but unsure about what the future will bring. The best way to defeat this feeling is to reflect each day on a written roadmap with clear goals aligned around what is most important to you. This will help regain the confidence that you are on the right track

Craig

Doing what you love is foolish in this economy
Craig,

I read an article which suggested doing what you love is not only a pipedream; it is foolish in this economy

Jim

Dear Jim,

Sounds like this must have come from someone who isn’t doing what they love. We are all responsible for creating our own reality. It’s up to you to decide what’s possible and then move towards it. First, decide what kind of vocational life you want and talk to others who are already living it.

Craig

What is the difference between job and career when you are older?
What is the difference between job and career when you are older?

Howie

Howie,

Is there a difference?
A job is just an exchange of service for money. A career is the same but with a professional label.
With vocation, it is timeless because you never have to retire from it. Which would you rather have?

Craig

How long did it take you to define and follow what you do today?
Craig,

How long did it take you to define and follow what you do today?

Angie

Angie,

A few years to define it and over 25 years to finally take action.

Craig

What is the best time to finally do what I love
Craig,

I have been out of work for five months and suddenly realize this might be the best time to finally do what I love

Kyle

Dear Kyle,

You are right. When we are in transition, It is the best time since we tend to be more open and receptive to new ideas.

Craig

My passion is helping disabled children. Is there a way out?
Craig,

I am currently a sales person in a large high tech company. I am constantly under pressure to meet my sales quota. My passion is helping disabled children. Is there a way out?

Name Withheld

Sadly, some rewards and punishment at work force us to feel controlled and manipulated. Some studies have shown that performance goes down when a person is rewarded for doing something they already love to do.
So, it’s time for you to create your own reward; move towards teaching disabled children to appreciate themselves and their world. It’s a gift you’ll never have to give back.

Regards Craig

My husband is not thrilled I quit my job to run my own home based business.
Craig,

My husband is not thrilled I quit my job to run my own home based business. I collect and sell art which is my passion. How can I get him to understand this is what I need to do?

Ann

Dear Ann,

Explain to him why this is important. Minimize the impact to him where possible. Get other people if necessary around you who support what you are doing.

Regards Craig

Difference between doing what you love and just liking a job?
Craig,

What is the difference between doing what you love and just liking a job?

Sam

Dear Sam,

It’s a job when you like it. It’s your life’s work when you can’t be without it and you see no reason to ever ‘’retire’’

Regards Craig

Like my hobbies but can’t seem to ever enjoy my jobs
Craig,

I really like my hobbies but can’t seem to ever enjoy my jobs. I’m confused?

Dan- Sports medicine

Dan,

Congrats! Being confused is the first step towards understanding one’s self.
How could you start to make an income at your hobbies? How could you combine them in a way that might surpass your current ‘’job’’ income? Now, that’s living one’s vocation!

Craig

I don’t really feel I have ever had a career but simply a bunch of jobs
Craig,

I don’t really feel I have ever had a career but simply a bunch of jobs. What can I do to finally get a career?

Name Withheld

Why do you suddenly want to change? I think careers are over-rated while life is under-rated. Many people need to fire their careers before their careers destroy them.
Consider yourself lucky. At the end of the day, it’s semantics.
What is most important is that you love what you do.
You must be the judge and jury of your own life

Craig

Every time I try to imagine what’s possible for me in my vocational life, I get stuck?
Craig,

You talk about doing what’s possible. What if I can’t think of anything? Every time I try to imagine what’s possible for me in my vocational life, I get stuck?

Ken

Dear Ken,

It just takes practice. Negative thinking becomes a habit. I do know that negativity doesn’t like it when you think of new possibilities. Motion changes emotion so next time you do your possibility thinking, try doing it outside in a new location.

If you get stuck, try a new approach, a new position or a new perspective!

Craig

Where should i start my vocation?
Craig,

I am currently an engineer in software development. Lately, I have realized that this no longer interests me. Since I was very little, I have always been interested in working outside in nature. I wonder where I should start?

Azim

Dear Azim,

Wondering about possibilities is a good thing. Having a positive position about yourself is equally important. Taking action now in your present is what you must do.

Examine all the possibilities. Imagine the perfect role you would like to play in the world as it relates to being in nature. Go out in nature and let the possibilities build. Your options will only be limited or expanded by your thinking.

Craig

What can I do when I really don’t know what I want?
Craig

What can I do when I really don’t know what I want? All I know is that I hate what I do. There must be a better way to live?

Ross

Dear Ross,

Just discovering that you donxt want more of what you currently have is a great start. What might be the better way for you to live? What do you prize most in your life? How might you incorporate what i want.

I feel empty inside
Dear Craig,

Lately, I feel empty inside. I mean, I am good at what I do, but every day is the same and I feel I have so much more potential. Advice?

Jenny, First Line Supervisor

Dear Jenny,

Time to change but first you must identify what your perfect vocational day would be if you could create it. So many of us stop at this point as we get these great ideas on WHAT we want but stop short based on external feedback. Ok, here’s 50 million dollars. Now, six months from now, write down how you would spend your day. Then, look for vocational patterns from this day that you could follow if I took that 50 million away!

Regards Craig

Why is it so hard for people to do what they really want to do?
Craig,

Why is it so hard for people to do what they really want to do?

Kenneth

Dear Kenneth,

Many people are afraid to admit what they would really rather be doing. They blame their inability to change on external factors. You however, don’t have to do this!
You can start with looking inside on what it is you want to do. Just this acknowledgement can help move you forward.

Craig

I don’t have the confidence to follow my dreams.
Craig,

I know what my passion is but I don’t have the confidence to follow my dreams. What can you suggest?

Steven

Dear Steven,

What would it take for you to have confidence? Can you think back to a time in your life when you did have confidence? Think back now to how that felt. Now capture this moment as a picture or feeling or sound. Take this resource into the present. Use it to build on as proof that you can access this confidence when you need it.

Craig

Definition of vocational passion
Dear Craig,

What’s the definition of vocational passion? I don’t know if I have it?

Cindy- Retail Manager

Dear Cindy,

I see it as spending the majority of your day doing something which is meaningful and inspiring for you. You feel energetic and passionate about what you are doing. Your days go by quickly and perhaps you are a little sad when Friday comes and you have to wait until Monday to continue. You feel like this role is a great alignment of your abilities and interests. For the first time in your life, you no longer see a need to contemplate retirement since you can’t ever imagine doing anything else. Finally, you can’t tell the difference between work and play.
Does this fit you?

Regards Craig

Align one’s abilities and interests
Craig,

What does it mean to align one’s abilities and interests as you write about? I am not sure how to do this

Felice

Dear Felice,

What do you think you are truly good at? What are you interested in doing each and every day?
I find that when people have trouble doing this, it is because, they are influenced by what others have told them about what they should be good at and interested in. Start thinking for yourself and you’ll have a list that means something to you and is a good starting place.

Craig

My work seems empty
Craig,

I am 45 years old and lately my work seems empty. Any suggestions?

Tim

Dear Tim,

First, don’t ignore your inner signals. This is the first step. The second step is take the time now to figure out what it is you actually want to do. Don’t focus now on what you don’t want. Most people do this and as a result get stuck.

Craig

Follow my passion
Craig,

I would like to follow my passion like you did but unfortunately; I have lots of passions and can’t decide which path to take.

Ken

Dear Ken,

Think through how you could combine your passions in a way which integrates the best of what you love to do. This is a creative process which you might find very exciting.

Craig

What do you mean by daily position?
Craig,

What do you mean by daily position?

Angela

Angela,

What is your daily attitude that you wake up with and carry around with you on a daily basis? A Positive daily position will support your pursuits while a negative one will slow your progress.

Craig

i left my job, but my relatives make fun of me.
Craig,

I recently left my job to open my own cleaning business. This is something I have always wanted to do but my relatives make fun of me.

Name Withheld

Better to have your relatives make fun of something you love then for them to praise you for activities which leave you unhappy and unfulfilled

Craig

CAREER TRANSITION

How do I turn my dream into reality?
Craig,

My dream is to own my own coffee shop. I am 46 years old and have been selling life insurance as part of a large organization for many years.
How do I turn my dream into reality?

Angel

Dear Angel,

There is a big difference between deciding what to do and taking action. Talk to other coffee shop owners. Start thinking like a coffee shop owner. Imagine your typical day as a coffee shop owner. Put an action plan together and turn your dream into a destiny!

Regards Craig

Stuck in my job
Craig,

I feel stuck in my job. I just turned 46 and it seems like each day is just a struggle to get out of bed

Name Withheld

The way to get un-stuck is to break your pattern. Stop struggling and start living.
What type of work would you rather get out of bed for? Think this through until you reach a destination you are excited about

Craig

I just got laid off
Craig,

I just got laid off. My whole family is worried about me and our situation. The funny thing is, I feel like I have been let out of prison. Is this normal?

Alex

Dear Alex,

Many people feel this way when they are forced to come up with a new path. Seize the opportunity and move towards something you love to do. You apply for a job but you live your vocation.

Craig

Frustrated at work
Craig

What did you do when you felt frustrated at work but didn’t know how to get started to move towards something else like you write about?

Name Withheld

First, I thought about it and then I talked about what was bothering me to people who cared. Then I quickly took action to try something new. I learned that waiting only postponed my unhappiness.

Craig

Future biography
Craig,

I like the idea you discuss in your book about going into the future and writing a future biography and then coming back into the present to write one to understand the gap between one’s future state and where they are today. This makes sense but seems too logical. Is there something I am missing here?

Randy
X-Ray Technician

Dear Randy,

The logical things in life take discipline and a belief in one’s self. Sadly, most of us give up before we even try. Defeated by self-doubt and negativity, we turn back defeated by our own selves. It sounds however that you have chosen instead to defeat the above.
Remember, self-doubt doesn’t like it when you take calculated risks with confidence and discipline.

Craig

Graduated from college. Which jobs I should apply ?
Craig,

I just graduated from college with a liberal arts degree. I have no idea which jobs I should apply for in this economy. Can you help?

Seth

Dear Seth,

Only you can answer which jobs are right for you. I recommend you start by thinking about which roles feel the most natural for you to play. Imagine you just came home from work feeling like your day was productive and meaningful, Now, answer this question, what did you do all day?

Craig

Job is no longer meaningful?
Craig,

I am a senior manager. Lately, all it seems I am doing is firing people. I have been reading your column and have found it very helpful. My question is what do you do when you get to a point where the job is no longer meaningful?

Name Withheld

You leave the job behind and figure out what would be more meaningful and fulfilling
then firing people. Congratulations on getting to this point where you recognized an internal signal that something must change in your vocational life.
Before you leave though, have a plan in place on what you will do. I would suggest you start with what you prize most in life and then define how you’ll know if you are following this. The rest will start to fall into place if you are patient.

Craig

Assessments tend to label me in one way or another.
Craig,

I recently started taking assessments to figure out what I love. The problem is these assessments all tend to label me in one way or another.

Judy

Dear Judy,

That’s the problem with many assessments. They are not usually emotionally based. Look however at the patterns of your answers and what you can learn from them.

Regards Craig

I recently took Myers-Briggs, what next?
Craig,

I recently took Myers-Briggs and a few other tests, which sort of told me what I should do and what type of person I am. Great, now what do I do?

Cindy- Retail

Dear Cindy,

Focus on what you see from the tests. Examine the patterns. In the patterns you will get ideas. Without looking at the patterns, you run the risk of labeling yourself forever based on the tests which is not useful for you.

Craig

Out of work for six months
Craig,

I have been out of work for six months and I finally got one offer which I took. The job doesn’t pay much and it isn’t what I want to do. I had no choice. Now, I am having nightmares over possibly never reaching my dreams. What do I do?

Cecil

Dear Cecil,

The important thing now is rationalize how this current assignment fits in to a bigger plan for what you really want to do. This current job fills a need you had and now it’s important to make this simply a small step in a bigger plan for you. Without a plan to reach your perfect vocational day, you face a life of meaningless jobs and wasted time.

Craig

Bored but feel helpless.
Craig,

Lately, I just barely make it through my day. I am bored but feel helpless.

Samantha

Dear Samantha,

You can break out of prison by starting to put plans together to move forward towards a better life. Boredom gets defeated by planning forward around what you really want in life.

Craig

Keeping myself busy trying to look productive
Dear Craig,

I am keeping myself busy trying to look productive but the bottom line, I hate what I do but I am too afraid to change. Suggestions?

Ed- Administration

Dear Ed,

The real question is what are you afraid of? Most of us are not afraid of change but perhaps what the change will do to us. What will your life be like in 3 years if you don’t change now? What will your life be like in three years if you do change now? Once the pain of not changing is greater then the pleasure of changing, I think you’ll find the incentive to find the work you love and follow it.

Regards Craig

The role doesn’t fit me yet in this economy
Dear Craig,

I am an ex-senior manager now doing an individual contributor job, mostly project work. The role doesn’t fit me yet in this economy getting another executive role is tough.
I am not ready to retire as yet but feel like I need to make another move to preserve my sanity. Any ideas?

Ron- Project Manager

Dear Ron,

Maybe it’s time to get a little insane. That is, try some new insane idea around what you actually like to do. It doesn’t sound like what you are doing, you are very passionate about. If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

Regards Craig

I hate what I do
Craig,

I am six years from retiring. The problem is I hate what I do and not sure if I can last another day let alone six years.

Jim

Dear Jim,

If that’s the way you feel, you probably won’t last. In mid-life, many of us ignore these signals and then never live to enjoy our second half. Make plans to change now. You’ll live a more exciting life and be glad you listened to your inner voice.

Craig

A few years from retirement
Craig,

I am really good at what I do but no longer that interested. I am a few years from retirement so not sure this is a big deal. I do worry though what I will do in a few years.

Darrell

Dear Darrell,

Better now to start to understand what does interest you so you can begin to obtain or refine those skills. Many people retire and then die a short time later out of boredom. Don’t let this happen to you.

Craig

MONEY

I am not sure what I really want to do
Craig,

I just left my job as a high tech manager after 17 years. I realized I was no longer interested. I have about six month’s savings in the bank. The problem is now; I am not sure what I really want to do

Eric

Dear Eric,

Ok, but if you did know what you wanted to do, what would that be?
I think we all deep inside know what we want to do. The problem is when we listen to our head and not our heart.

Craig

Really bored, afraid to change
Dear Craig,

I am really bored with my current career but given this economy, I am afraid to change. Any advice?

Jan- Engineer

Dear Jan,

Good or poor economy, work without meaning has a way of catching up with you. Take some time and write down your interests and abilities and see which one’s match. That should give you a kick-start. Go with your heart.

Regards Craig

Dislike my current job, Suggestions?
Craig,

I really dislike my current job but I have lots of bills and see no way out. I do have some money in my 401K but that’s saved for retirement. Suggestions?

Ann

Dear Ann,

People only retire when they don’t like what they are doing. Cash in your 401K now to fund a move into more fulfilling work and then you won’t have to worry about saving for a retirement you will no longer need.

Regards Craig

Should I work extra hours to increase my chances for promotion?
Craig,

My new job, which I just started, is only paying me 80 % of what I require. Should I work extra hours to increase my chances for promotion?

Name Withheld

I would suggest you focus on what you can control. Promotions you can’t control.
Your vocation is something you can take control of now. In your spare time, focus on doing more of what you love and creatively figure out how as a result you can generate more income. We all have exactly 24 hours a day, no more, no less.

Craig

i have no money to pursue what I love
Craig,

I feel like I have plenty of time and no money to pursue what I love after being been laid off. I need income, any kind of it!

John- Ex financial services analyst

Dear John,

This is understandable but this time around makes sure your next ”job” is closer to things you actually like to do. What are the tradeoffs you are willing to take right now to bring you closer to doing what you love?

Craig

if I pursue doing what I love, I will become homeless!
Craig,

I have this fear that if I pursue doing what I love, I will become homeless!

Name Withheld

This is a common fear and I have felt it! You can defeat this fear by action. Fill your days with activities which continually move you in the direction you want to go. You won’t have time to think about anything else.

Craig

Is it practical for all of us to do what we love
Craig,

Do you really think it is practical for all of us to do what we love when the reality is; we all have to pay the rent or mortgage?

Name Withheld

We each create our own reality. What may seem practical to one person may not seem wise to another. It all depends on how you think about it.

Regards Craig

I do hate my job but I have just five more years before retirement
Craig,

Although I respect your advice, I do hate my job but I have just five more years before retirement. I have decided to hang in there and not risk anything that I have worked for all these years.

Name Withheld

The wonderful thing about life is that we get to make choices. If you are happy with your choices, that is what is most important. Word of caution; Don’t let your vocational passion muscles get too far out of shape in the next five years or they won’t be much use to you when you do retire.

Regards Craig

I hate my job, I love the money
Craig,

Each month, I look forward to reading your Q’s and A’s. I never thought I would actually write in. I hate my job, I love the money. It’s that simple. How do I break out of this?

Amanda- Sales

Amanda,

At least you are honest. The fact that you want to ‘’ break out’’ should tell you something. The way to break out is think outside of the system. That is, think about instead what you would like to break into? Remember, there is a big difference between just deciding and taking action. Do something now!

Craig

My spouse isn’t too thrilled about me leaving my secure job
Craig,

I would like to follow my vocational passion. The problem is my spouse isn’t too thrilled about me leaving my secure job which these days doesn’t feel all that secure

John

Dear John,

Clearly there is opportunity for anxiety in today’s economy.

There is also opportunity for moving towards more of what you want. If you love what you do and it’s secure, great. It sounds however that you aren’t passionate about what you doing and instead would prefer to seek new change. While this can cause stress in the household, the opposite can do more damage. Continuing more of what you don’t want will gradually wear you down, emotionally and physically. This is no way to live.

Take little steps to build your own security

Craig

It’s ok to do my passions on the side while earning an income
Craig,

Do you think it’s ok to do my passions on the side while earning an income during the day?

Ben

Dear Ben,

Only you can answer this. Remember, you don’t do a passion, you live it! I also believe it’s possible to live your passion and earn the income you require. The more you separate this in your mind, the more you’ll continue to only live for the weekends.

Craig

What can I do to further my education?
Craig,

What can I do to further my education when my company doesn’t pay for me to go back to school?

James

Dear James,

It depends how you define education. Learning new things can be accomplished in lots of different ways. Define what you want to learn and how you can learn it on your own.
Don’t get shut down because your current employer doesn’t fund what you need.

Craig

it only pays a third of what I require right now
Dear Craig,

I recently decided to follow my love of teaching. I just got a teaching job at a local high school. The good news is I love it. The bad news is it only pays a third of what I require right now. I am feeling like this was not a good idea after all to give up my finance job at the big company?

Sam- High school math teacher

Dear Sam,

So many people give up just before they come up with that one creative idea which made things work for them. Don’t join them. Think about how you teach math to your students. You don’t give them the answer. You teach them the theory and then the formulas and then they practice until they get it right. Have you written down your formula for success? Have you practiced any part if it? Just like math, break down your money challenge into small pieces and then deal with each one on its own merit.
To solve your equation, you need both sides.

Regards Craig

I never actually made money from hobbies
Dear Craig,

I have been selling cars for several years after being laid off from the dot com cycle. I really want to get into music which has also been my hobby but I never actually made money at it. Do you have any ideas?

Ron- Car Salesman

Dear Ron,

Lots of ideas!! First make a list of all your abilities and interests around music. Circle the ones which match the closest. Brainstorm all the ways you could make money using those pairs of abilities and interests. Then evaluate where you need additional education and or assisting to get more experience. The last step is to target and start talking to people who are already doing this. You’ll start to attract the right opportunities into your life as a result.

Regards Craig

Not passionate about job. Any thoughts?
Craig,

My job pays well and it keeps me in the area I like and my family is comfortable with our situation. Am I passionate, no! The job gives good benefits and I guess that’s all I can ask for. Is something wrong with this?

Name Withheld

If you are comfortable with your situation that is what counts the most. Many times it comes down to making sure you live each day based on what you prize most. It sounds like you are. It is however important to keep in perspective an idea of the work you love to do. Someday, if you lose your current job, this will be an important thing to know.

Craig

I don’t think the pay is going to be enough
Craig,

I am ready to make the leap to finally doing what I love after 26 years in retail. The problem is I don’t think the pay is going to be enough. What should I do?

Carmel

Dear Carmel,

The problem I have seen is that many people quickly jump to the conclusion that they cannot make enough money doing what they love and they stop all movement towards doing what they love. First, decide what you need to make and then brainstorm all the ways you could compliment your planned activities with other sources of income.
Don’t let your negativity impact your creativity

Craig

BOSS

At work, my boss keeps telling me what I need to do to be in line for a promotion.
Craig,

At work, my boss keeps telling me what I need to do to be in line for a promotion. The problem is, I don’t like what I do now and a promotion in an area I don’t like seems more like a punishment then a reward?

Sarah

Dear Sarah,

It is always interesting to observe how others seem to know exactly what’s not good for us. So, if you were going to promote yourself, what would you choose to do?

Regards Craig

Gave me more work given out recent layoffs
Dear Craig,

My boss last week gave me more work given out recent layoffs and said he was expecting me to work more overtime. I have a family and I am not sure I can put more time in at the office. Suggestions?

Bob- Software engineer

Dear Bob,

It’s not the quantity of work you produce, but the quality. It is possible to balance time with family and work but it takes discipline and planning. Are you focusing on the most critical things that MUST get done each day? Remember, there are only a few things any of us can do each day which are critical whether they relate to work or family. Ensure your planning takes this into consideration. Finally, strive to make sure your daily activities align to your most important values; otherwise you’ll end up with that empty feeling at the end of the day

Craig

My work never seems to get noticed
Dear Craig,

I really need a promotion. I want more responsibility and more money but my work never seems to get noticed. How do I get what I want?

Alec- Buyer

Dear Alec,

Perhaps it’s time to start giving yourself a little more responsibility. How can you provide the internal feedback to feel better about yourself?
Yes, the money and promotion would be nice but that is generally not in your control. What you can control is how you feel about yourself and the positive attitude you carry with you daily. Get the right results done each day in a positive and spirited way and the rewards both internal and external will come.

Regards Craig

Boss who constantly micro-manages me.
Craig,

I have a boss who constantly micro-manages me. I feel so frustrated. The whole company in fact is run this way. What should I do?

Manny

Dear Manny,

A person who manages in this way usually has a combination of insecurity, fear and or inexperience. Combine this with an overall system which practices this harmful approach of management and you have a very challenging environment. Make a plan now to transition out to an environment where you feel more creative and more alive

Regards Craig

I have two jobs I don’t like
Craig,

I recently took on two roles, given the recent layoffs in our company. I didn’t like my existing job and now I have two jobs I don’t like. What should I do, quit?

Wendy- Product Support

Dear Wendy,

Congrats! You are the first person I have heard from who has two jobs at the same time, which doesn’t work for them. The problem with jobs is that they are defined by someone else. You have two choices. Continue to do two jobs you don’t like or begin to create the vocational role you desire. How do you do this? Imagine you had unlimited funds. How would you spend the rest of your life? What exactly would you do? Examine those patterns and then design your perfect day. There will be a gap. Now, determine next the first steps to close the gap. There are many choices if you can create them first in your mind’s eye.

Craig

Not getting along with my peers
Craig,

Lately, I am not getting along with my peers. It seems they are jealous of me since I seem to get the most opportunities at work. What should I do?

Name Withheld

How do you know they are jealous? We all bring to work our mental maps of our lives. It’s hard to observe this. I doubt they are jealous. They are probably experiencing some unhappiness in their roles and figure the only way out is to make more money and perhaps you represent a threat to them. Smile, be friendly and role model someone who loves what they do. You might rub off on your co-workers.

Craig

Conflicts with my personal vacation plans
Craig,

My company recently implemented a new policy where we have to take our vacations only at certain times of the year. This totally conflicts with my personal vacation plans.
What should I do?

Ken- Sales

Ken,

It continues to amaze me how many companies implement policies which force employee’s to take time off when it is convienent for the company. Since I doubt you can influence this, my suggestion is change your vacation schedule in the short term and in the long term, seek to combine vacation and vocation. This way, every day will always be the same for you; full of meaning and fulfillment

Craig

I already work 60 hours a week
Craig,

Lately, I have been getting mixed signals at work. I received a good annual review but with mixed signals. I was told I had a good year but the goals for 2004 will be even greater and I will have to pick up the pace? What does this mean? I already work 60 hours a week; never see my wife and 3-year-old daughter. I am the sole provider for my family but I feel like I am losing my own soul

Name Withheld
Sales Engineer

First, congratulations for paying attention to your inner signals that something is not quite right. It’s time to re-evaluate what you prize most in your life and determine how you will know if you are following what you are prize and when you are not.
Once this is clear to you, you’ll be able to make the right decisions about your life’s balance

Craig

Managing a rather large group of non-exempt workers
Craig,

I recently started managing a rather large group of non-exempt workers. I enjoy my work but this group of hourly workers seems not as motivated as people I have managed in the past. What can I possibly do to get them moving!!!

With all due respect, I don’t believe anyone can ever motivate anyone else over the long term. That sadly, is the problem with many corporate programs. I suggest you invest the time with your people to understand how you can help match their high skills with high challenges while aligning their interests and their abilities. This will go a lot further towards helping them find their own meaning and fulfillment in their activities, which then actually might motivate them

Craig

Perspective about myself
Craig,

I have a great perspective about myself as you write about. The problem is others at work have this perspective about me. The details aren’t important other then to mention that this has kept me from getting the right opportunities. What should I do?

Name Withheld

Five years from now what you will continue to remember is your on-going perspective of yourself. Your beliefs, your goals and your desires will continue to drive your behavior.
Instead focus on these things now and you will feel better about your current state.

Craig

My company only gave me a 1% increase this year
Craig,

My company only gave me a 1% increase this year, That was after a really good year for me. I know times are tough but don’t you think that’s terrible? Should I leave?

Rene

Dear Rene,

Salary is an element I try not to take a position on. Money is a very personal choice. I would however suggest you go inside yourself and see if you can find a greater reward that you can give yourself much more often then the 1% annual increase, I bet you’ll find it has a longer shelf life.

Craig

Two weeks vacation at work
Craig,

I have two weeks vacation at work. It seems at my age, 46; they should give more time off for age?

Name Withheld

Now, that is the best idea I have heard all week! Let me know if your proposal is accepted. If not, try giving yourself vocation and then you will vacation the rest of your life! That’s what I found!

Craig

I love my job but hate my boss
Dear Craig,

I love my job but hate my boss. This is also starting to make me hate my job. What should I do?

Name Withheld

First think through why you hate your boss. How might you look at your boss from a new perspective? If you were your boss, what would you need from you?
Don’t lose sight that you love what you do. You have reached a magical place.

Regards Craig

Where are all the people who love their jobs?
Craig

How come most of these questions people write in are so negative? Where are all the people who love their jobs?

Andy

Dear Andy,

Well, this should tell you something. Actually, I have discovered that when one is happy with what they do, a quiet confidence builds and there is no reason to complain anymore.
How about you? Would you like to stop complaining about what you do? You can!

Craig

Need a promotion
Dear Craig,

I really need a promotion. I want more responsibility and more money but my work never seems to get noticed. How do I get what I want?

Alec- Buyer

Dear Alec,

Perhaps it’s time to start giving yourself a little more responsibility. How can you provide the internal feedback to feel better about yourself?
Yes, the money and promotion would be nice but that is generally not in your control. What you can control is how you feel about yourself and the positive attitude you carry with you daily. Get the right results done each day in a positive and spirited way and the rewards both internal and external will come.

Regards Craig

Work more hours without extra pay
Craig,

My company has been forcing us to work more hours without extra pay. What can I do?

Name Withheld

Doing anything when forced doesn’t make for a good environment. Examine what you are doing for this company. Is it worth the extra work? Only you can decide how and where you spend your time. Just make sure it’s time well spend on what you want.
You’ll feel healthier.

Craig

What do you do when you feel trapped in your job?
Craig,

What do you do when you feel trapped in your job?

Name Withheld

The question is what do you do right now so you don’t feel trapped.
Getting out of traps is tricky. It can be done with creativity mixed with new perspectives and new choices.

Craig

I have not made my sales quota’s the past couple of months
Dear Craig,

I have not made my sales quota’s the past couple of months and I have a feeling I am going to be laid soon as a result. What should I do? I can’t possibly make up sales in the next few weeks to make any difference

Jim- High Tech Sales

Dear Jim,

Might be a blessing . I doubt you are the problem. It’s probably a combination of a poor product, down economy and a quota which is overly optimistic.
So, maybe now’s the time to think about what else might be possible for you. Your sales quota might be impossible, but your possibilities are much larger if you choose to invest the time now on you.

Regards Craig

My co-workers get frustrated with me
Dear Craig,

I was recently hired at this company and although I like what I am doing, I am not a quick study and it takes me a few times to learn what I am doing. I think my co-workers get frustrated with me and I want them to believe I am worth something?

Sandy- Medical worker

Dear Sandy,

You are worth something! What counts is how you feel about yourself. There is really little you can do to control others thoughts, views and opinions. Many people spend the bulk of their lives trying to convince others how they ought to feel. It is a useless exercise. Do you love the work you do? If so, you will naturally learn from your mistakes, gain confidence over time and feel better about yourself. Keep on the journey for self-improvement from the inside out and you’ll feel better about your progress.

Regards Craig

My job is terrible, my boss is worst and I commute 2 hours a day
Craig,

I’ll be frank. My job is terrible, my boss is worst and I commute 2 hours a day. The problem is there are no other jobs right now as far as I can tell. Do I really have any other choices?

Ally- Payroll supervisor

Dear Ally,

Being 0-3 in baseball as a hitter in a game would mean you have to try something much different on your 4th time at bat.
So, you can make your job better, you can quit or move closer to your job. You can also go back to your personal roadmap and decide what you want. Does this current job fuel your passion, your energy, your meaning and fulfillment for what you are truly capable of? If not, I suggest you start to craft a better roadmap and plan for yourself. While in progress, that will help make the commute, boss and job easier to handle in the short term!

Regards Craig

My HR career development program at work labeled me as a poor sales person.
Craig,

My HR career development program at work labeled me as a poor sales person.
I love sales not just at this company

Name Withheld

I think you figured out the problem! HR’s assessment program probably doesn’t take into consideration the fact that people can love what they do but place them in a lousy environment and their performance drops. Find a new environment to sell and your sales will thrive!

Craig

WORK LIFE BALANCE

What is most important to me

Craig,

I know what I prize most in my life but am not sure how to be consistent each day following what is most important to me.

Ali

Dear Ali,

Make a list of the most important things you would have to do each and every day to follow what’s most important and what you would have to do to not follow what’s most important to you. This contrasting list will help you focus on where to start.

Regards Craig

How can I integrate my life?

Craig,

Sometimes it feels to me like life and work is so separate. How can I integrate my life?

Name Withheld

First, decide how you can integrate your life. What are the first steps you must take? Deciding you should take action and actually taking action are much different.
Define for yourself what your perfect vocational day would be like. Then define where you are now and examine what the gap looks like.
Now, you have a place to start a plan.

Craig

Out of work six months

Dear Craig,

After being out of work six months, I finally have a job offer but they require me to move clear across the country. This will totally disrupt my family and my wife doesn’t want to move. What should I do?

Ken- Mid-level Manager

Dear Ken,

The best way to resolve this is for you and your wife and family to sit down and discuss your future vision together.
What are the family priorities now and in the future? What will the perfect family day look like now, in the future?
Does this relocation get you closer or farther from that vision?
This is a good place to start.

Regards Craig

MID LIFE CAREER CHANGE

How do I interview well given I feel rusty?

Dear Craig,

I have been out of the workforce for nearly 18 months after being laid off from a dot.com company. How do I interview well given I feel rusty?

Tim- Web Producer

Dear Tim,

Focus on yourself as a product with features to sell. That is think how others will benefit from your services and skills. Then, think about who might be your audience for your services. Bottom line, managers want to hire people who can solve their challenges. It’s your job to match yourself up with those opportunities based on your abilities and interests.

Craig

I do not like what I do but I am afraid to sacrifice

Craig,

I do not like what I do but I am afraid to sacrifice what I have to quit and try something new? What does a person like me do?

Andy

Andy,

What could you first sacrifice this week on a small scale to get started?
Sometimes it just takes a little practice here, a little change there, to realize that you can live with less of what you don’t want right now

Regards Craig

I recently was laid off and have been in a fog for a month on what I should do.

Craig,

I just read your book and found that it came at just the right time for me. I recently was laid off and have been in a fog for a month on what I should do. It’s scary, as I have no answers yet.

Ryan

Ryan,

Thanks for your kind feedback. Being in what’s called the liminal state is quite normal. This is a time of transition when once what was is no longer and the future is uncertain.
The best thing now is to not rush the process. Each person requires different amounts of time. Many of us are not afraid of change but what the change will do to us.
Use this period of change as a time to revisit and think through what’s most important to you and what you seek at this time. The answers will come in unusual places so keep your eyes and ears open!

Craig

I have been out of work now for three months

Craig,

I have been out of work now for three months. I have applied to at least twenty jobs on monster.com and hot jobs but I have not received one response. Is there something wrong with me?

Eric

Dear Eric,

There is nothing wrong with you. Although many people tend to feel this way. The most effective method to find your next opportunity is to network. That means for everyone you meet starting now, prepare to let him or her know exactly what you seeking. Many people in the job search are available and willing to help. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what they want so both parties walk away confused. Don’t let that happen to you.

Craig

I am planning to relocate to another state for job. Any suggestions?

Craig,

Given there are very few opportunities right now in California at my mid-level management experience; I am planning to relocate to another state. Any suggestions?

Marc

Dear Marc,

One of the most common problems which many people make is first finding a job and then much later deciding if they like and or fit into the culture. Seems a little backwards doesn’t it? First determine which culture and environment is right for you.

Craig

You don't spend time discussing the importance of resumes.

Craig,

You don’t spend time discussing the importance of resumes, job searching and other traditional approaches. Why?

Angelina

Dear Angelina,

I don’t discuss these things because I don’t think they are nearly as important as first deciding what you want and then investing the time to get to know one’s self. The field of career counseling has done an injustice by ignoring one’s soul. I think this is more important in the long run to pay attention to.

Craig

What did you do when you felt frustrated at work

Craig,

What did you do when you felt frustrated at work but didn’t know how to get started to move towards something else like you write about?

Name Withheld

First, I thought about it and then I talked about what was bothering me to people who cared. Then I quickly took action to try something new. I learned that waiting only postponed my unhappiness.

Craig

In school, I was never taught how to choose what I love to do.

Craig,

In school, I was never taught how to choose what I love to do.
Now at 45 years of age and recently laid off, my mind goes blank when thinking about what I should do next?

Anthony

Dear Anthony,

I am going to give you a gift; a day all to yourself. How will you spend this day from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep. Examine your patterns and notice which aspects of the day gets you the most excited.
Start with this as a foundation to build on.

Regards Craig

I have been out of work now 8 months with no job in site.

Craig,

I have been out of work now 8 months with no job in site. Currently, I am looking at a retail job or a commission based sales job. Both offer no future, no interest and 50 per-cent of what I made before. I feel I have no choice but to take it. Suggestions?

Name Witheld

The thought occurs to me that perhaps it is time to find your vocation since it doesn’t appear the right job for you exists. That is, what could you start doing tomorrow and continue this through the rest of your years? Once identified, what are the activities you could start to put together for yourself to create the vocational life and income you require? The effort is challenging but well worth it. I doubt you’ll ever find the vocational job for you on monster.com. This one takes creating from the inside out.

Craig

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