Deeply unfulfilled but nonetheless succeeding in my chosen field (banking regulation), I knew that something was amiss but didn’t know where to start to get my life back on the right track. I had ideas (perhaps too many ideas!) about where I’d rather be, but somehow felt that I wasn’t ready to commit to any of them.
Was teaching a better fit for me? Or was it Education Administration? Or perhaps something more along the lines of Human Resources or Organizational Development? Should I get a Masters in Social Work? Or maybe a position in a non-profit where I could help to solve local or global problems? There were too many options and I was clearly lost.
By then I had vague ideas of what I enjoyed doing and even better notions of what I didn’t. It turned out that was a good place to start. One day at work (desperate to do anything else but the current task at hand), I made a list of my strengths and everything I thought I was good at. A common thread that ran through the list was that I liked working with people (teaching, counseling, building connections, etc) and I liked to help them solve problems. So, what on earth brought me to banking? Well….it must have been my interview skills…
I bought a few books on career change. I took a personality assessment. As I struggled to get through my days at the office, it helped to focus some of my energy on figuring out a way forward. The clerk at the self-help section of the Wall Street Barnes and Noble began to smile at me as I approached. I felt like I was playing a game of hot and cold. I was getting warmer. But I still was unsure of where I belonged.
What do you do if you don’t know where to begin? How do you re-group and re-evaluate your options?
First of all. Step back. Create some distance.
I decided to take a leave of absence. My goal: uninterrupted time to evaluate options. I found an intensive month-long course offering in Coaching at NYU. The timing was right, the financial commitment was low, and it sounded like my cup of tea. This was the serendipitous beginning of my newfound path.