Friday, February 24, 2012

Tips For Changing Careers From The Buddha

Most people change careers at least once in their lives.  Heck, even the Buddha did it.

As Franz Metcalf and BJ Gallagher explain in their book "Being Buddha at Work," the man who would become the Buddha, Siddhartha, made a stunning career change early in his life.  He walked away from what was the equivalent of a CEO job to live the life of a beggar.  Why?  Because he discovered he wasn't happy with the sheltered life he was living, and wanted to find a solution to human suffering.  And even when he was a success in his second career, he quit that because he still couldn't find the answer to suffering.

We're not suggesting you quit your job to become a beggar, but if you're not happy at your current job you should look into a career change.  One of the many reasons people move to a nonprofit job is the opportunity to do work for a cause that really matters to them.  So do you think it's time to switch careers?  Metcalf and Gallagher have some tips inspired by the Buddha to help you make your decision:
  • Drop a career that makes you miserable.  Move on and try something new, and keep trying new things until you find what works for you.
  • Listen to the advice of people who care about you and to experts, but don't obey them blindly.  Test what they say against your own intuitions before deciding which path is right for you.
  • Take time to know yourself.  Discover what makes you truly happy, not superficially but deeply.  This can take a while to discover so resist the urge to skimp.
  • Once you know what you want, take action.  Do everything you can to make your new career a reality and, above all else, don't linger in situations that make you unhappy just because you don't think it can get any better.

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