Wednesday, December 11, 2013

“Do you help those who are mid-career and need help finding out if they even have a 'true calling'?”

Last summer, completely out of the blue, I received a LinkedIn request-to-connect, with the above question in the subject heading. This seemed like a question I could help answer, so I accepted the request.  And the rest, they say, is history.

Let me explain: mid-career IT professional, profoundly unhappy with job, and yearning to discover something that would help pave the way toward a “true calling.”  My client is a delightful, intelligent professional with lots of wonderful technical skill sets, and highly respected. So, you might be thinking, what’s the problem?

Christie Mims, founder of The Revolutionary Club (, likes to challenge her clients with the question, “what makes you feel strong?” Well, my client didn’t feel strong, even with his strengths.  There is a real difference between strong and strength. Asking him what he felt most empowered to do versus his skill sets gave him the permission he needed to explore not only his own personality and work values, but also other related positions in the same industry.

We reviewed his MBTI results, and spent considerable time discussing the stereotypical nature of programmers.  We also discussed what he needed in order to be happy in both life and work. (Christie Mims said it so eloquently in a recent webinar: “If you don’t live and work your values, you’re living someone else’s”)

While he readily acknowledged his introverted nature, he also told me what he disliked the most was the solitary work, and especially the “unfeeling” nature of programmers- he clearly felt like a ‘fish out of water’.  While most introverts don’t lack feeling, what was missing for him was being around feeling people, which translated into helping the front-end user of his work, receiving feedback on his technical work- and thus feeling appreciated, needed, and a part of the team.

Result? Changed roles. Empowered. Strong….and darn close to a ‘true calling.’