Monday, April 20, 2015

What's On Your Career Runway?

A career can feel like a busy airport, a marathon, a bus terminal, a rickshaw, or a taxi careering the wrong way down a one-way street. If your nursing career is an airport, and you're readying your plane on the runway in order to take flight, what's on your runway in 2015?

Who's in the Cockpit? 

In terms of the career airplane that's ready for take-off, who's in the pilot seat? Who's the co-pilot, and who are the flight attendants?
  • Is your inner career co-pilot a critical mother or overbearing father? 
  • Are your career choices controlled by an automatic pilot that won't take no for an answer?
  • Are your flight attendants busy making coffee when they should be battening down the hatches and locking the door? 
  • Is there so much (emotional) baggage in the overhead bins that your plane is too heavy to leave the ground? 
  • Is the engine of your career overdue for repairs so that the potential velocity of your craft will keep you earthbound? 
The Baggage

We all bring baggage to the table, and our career is just one of the places where that baggage make its true weight known. The aforementioned overbearing father or critical mother can be like stowaways on the jet of your career.

When you contemplate your potential choices, do their voices echo in your head?
  • You should have been a doctor. 
  • Why did you waste your time on nursing school? 
  • Your brother went into the family business. Why didn't you? 
  • You're not smart enough to be a nurse. 
Other baggage might obstruct us, as well. We may have had teachers in high school who questioned our intelligence, a boss that demeaned us, or a partner or spouse who abused us emotionally.

Sometimes, to move your career forward, the baggage has to be jettisoned, thrown overboard. We can manage this ourselves under certain circumstances, but in some cases a psychotherapist or other mental health professional may be needed.

When I engage with a client in career coaching, I'll sometimes suggest psychotherapy when there are apparent issues that absolutely require intervention by a mental health clinician. I have, on occasion, refused to work with a client on their career until they seek assistance for their mental, emotional, or spiritual baggage. Sometimes we can work the small stuff through in the coaching arena, but I won't hesitate to point out when a career coaching client clearly needs something more in order to break through.

Consider the Conditions for Flight

If your career runway is filled with emotional potholes, fading lines, and broken directional signals, perhaps there's some work you need to do in order to create the most fertile environment for success. Your inner air traffic controller may be on vacation, and the terminal may be closed for renovations, and that's okay. Time is your friend.

When readying for flight, one needs a good mapping system, reliable air traffic control data, a safe runway, a solid plane in which to fly, and a crew that can safely get you where you want to go.

If the fuselage is damaged, seek assistance in repairing it. If the runway is filled with emotional potholes, solicit help to fill them appropriately. If your crew is missing in action, take your time in hiring a new one that's more reliable (coach, therapist, friends, family, colleagues, etc). And if you're not ready for flight, stay grounded until the weather clears.

Take Off When the Time is Right

No matter what you think you want, the next step of your career can only truly take flight when all conditions are met. Be patient, be diligent, plan effectively, and make sure that your crew is up to the task, and available to be there for you when you need them most.

Prepare the runway, fuel up for the journey, and get excited about what can happen when the conditions are right and the equipment is in tip-top shape.

Happy trails!


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