THE BLOG
06/01/2012 07:57 am ET Updated Aug 01, 2012

Out of Work? Look Beyond Your Fear!

Career change becomes a natural choice for many at some point in life, but it's an entirely different situation when you're forced to make a change, while the U.S. jobless rate is hovering at over 8 percent and you're part of that statistic.

Instead of being desperate to take any job that comes along in this difficult market, now may be the time for you to finally make your career be about whatever is your true passion. Many people have discovered -- even in this economy -- that they could successfully do this with much less difficulty than they thought. You only have to look beyond your fear!

I've seen it happen over and over again as a psychologist: Clients who lose their jobs, sometimes after even long careers in their fields, realize they weren't really happy with what they were doing to make a living after all. But when they made a commitment to follow their passions -- what they love -- onto a new career path, usually the opportunities and money followed.

Of course, the reality of harsh economics in hard times often means that at first you may have to take a pay cut when you segue into a totally different field. However, when you love what you do, you'll feel intrinsically (or internally) motivated, and that kind of inspiration has an incredible long-term track record in paying off economically.

When one of my clients in upper management was a target of downsizing and lost her six-figure income during middle age, she became very depressed. For every one job in her field, at her level, she said there were at least 100 qualified applicants.

I suggested that instead of worrying about competition in a field that upon exploration she realized she was dissatisfied with anyway, she should change her focus and figure out what she would choose as a career if she had it to do it all over again. With some soul-searching, she realized that she'd always wanted to be an interior decorator -- something she had talent and passion for, and that she did for herself and her friends as a hobby.

With her passion ignited, she found a mentor, took a job in the industry (for much less money at first), learned the business and soon became a sought-after and well-paid decorator.

You can determine what you really want in life by looking at your hobbies and interests and brainstorming the possibilities for literally monetizing what you now consider to be fun. In other words, think outside the box and look at what you have to contribute.

Another client was upset when he lost his banking job and couldn't find another one at his level. This was a huge financial and emotional setback for him. I encouraged him to be inspired instead of fearful and frustrated. He and his wife took their jewelry-making hobby and turned it into a thriving business.

As I explain in my new book Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential, if you think of a job loss as an opportunity instead of as a reason to panic, it can be the wake-up call that prompts you to finally commit to having the career you really want, and that is driven by your own uniqueness. As I have seen happen with so many, the money will follow. You'll be doing what you love and it doesn't get much better than that!

For more by Michael S. Broder, Ph.D., click here.

For more on becoming fearless, click here.

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