When you think of the term “emotional health,” what comes up for you? There are numerous components to one’s “ emotional health ” and though many are the same for most people, the reality is there is a special cocktail that resonates with each of us individually – and is unique to us.
My own life experience and the experiences of many of my previous therapy clients has demonstrated to me that career choice is one important element to emotional health for many of us. I know it sure is for me.
I used to work in the “glitzy” and “glamorous” world of movie and television production; with well known actors, directors and on films and TV shows you’ve likely heard of. As much as I initially thought this was the dream career for me, it wasn’t. In fact, it became evident that I was missing out on lot of life and my relationships suffered as a result of the long, unpredictable hours, weeks spent out of town on location and general chaos that was my life when on a show. This ultimately started not only to emotionally and physically take a toll but it hurt my soul in such a way that I decided to leave, go back to school and train to become a therapist.
Career discontentment can be very stressful whether it be about doing a job that has no meaning, is a toxic environment or is simply against your grain.
Here are a few signs that you might be in a career that is leading to unhappiness:
Excessive worry about work.
Increase in illness or physical pains with no medical explanation.
Defensiveness and frustration.
Bad mood impacting family life / relationships.
The great thing about career discontentment, as uncomfortable as it is, is that it has the potential to help drive you forward to do something different, to search for meaning and satisfaction elsewhere. If you can break through the fear of it – and are able to logistically pull it off – then career reflection and possible direction shift can be an important step toward your emotional health.
Dr. Susan Bernstein, author, speaker, coach and founder of Work from Within, LLC inspires and empowers people to move their careers in a more fulfilling direction. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, she’s offering an upcoming workshop at UC Berkely entitled, “How to Create a ROLE That Truly Fits for You” to help you examine what’s important, explore and remove beliefs holding you back from fulfilling work and clarify how to move forward in a way that fits you. If you’re out of the area, she offers a number of products around how to make work transitions in her online store.
When I made my big career move it was a mentor who helped me to understand this was possible and helped me explore and challenge my fears around it. The person for me happened to be a therapist but there are other mentor-type people like Dr. Bernstein that can assist with dissecting the various layers unique to you in contemplating “what next?” if you’re at a career crossroads. Perhaps members of your support system can help you. Maybe a therapist can assist you in finding clarity on the issue like mine did for me. Whatever method you choose, it’s in the best interest of your emotional health – and in some cases, physical health and relationship health - to do so if possible.
It’s human nature to seek happiness, fulfillment, emotional and relationship health. I am grateful for having the ability to do such a significant career change as I realize not everyone can easily manage this. I am passionate about my job of psychotherapist and there is no question that I’m doing work that is for in line with who I am internally. It feels great!