My Career Change Story
I had been working in the Information Technology department of a major international investment bank. The pay and benefits were off the chart compared to what my peers were making and everyone seemed so impressed. Then something terrible happened.
I came face-to-face with reality. I was in the wrong career.
While wearing my suit, carrying my briefcase and commuting with the masses into New York City one day, it became apparent to me that life as I knew and enjoyed it was completely gone. I hated my job. Worse actually…I realized that I had chosen the wrong career! Everything about it started to really drive me crazy. The tedious work, lack of recognition, and, above all, the lack of freedom — not only the freedom to wear what I want, learn what I want, take time off when I want. But most importantly the freedom to feel “alive”. My Sundays were ruined because I was in a constant state of dread of going back to work on Monday. In the office I had zero motivation and just “went through the motions.” I suffered from career depression and my relationship with my family began to suffer. I was wasting my life. I was in desperate need of a teacher who could offer me sound advice regarding my career.
I admitted that it was entirely my fault.
I’d picked my college major because of its potential salary and public appeal (“Computer Science?? You must be smart!“), instead of researching and choosing what I was naturally good at and could “light my fire” for several decades. One might think that I had no good reason to feel this way. It was a great company that offered fantastic compensation and training. I was the youngest officer in a prestigious company. But I knew something critical was missing and I spent virtually every day trying to understand what change I could make which would free my mind and spirit.
I visited career counselor after career counselor and took all of the usual tests. I was slowly spending a fortune, yet I wasn’t getting any answers. I was convinced that I was alone and completely different from everyone else in the world.
Being in the wrong career finally reached a limit. While working in the UK for my firm, I had a full-blown meltdown. 3 months of panic attacks, deep depression, you name it. It was a blessing in disguise. I could hardly pull myself together.
Finally, I decided that “enough is enough”.
I had at last understood the meaning of the phrase: “life is not a dress rehearsal“. I knew the time had come to follow the Gellert edict: “Live as you will have wished to have lived when you are dying.”
I had decided that I would quit my corporate job and look for something that would truly bring me satisfaction in life. Within days I had decided that coaching rowing was what I wanted to do, and a couple of days later I had turned in my resignation. It was an extremely difficult decision. I was abandoning financial security and earning the wrath of my incredulous family. But with one life to live, I decided I was going to live it. Soon I left for the UK to become part of the coaching team at the pinnacle of collegiate rowing, Oxford University.
Something life changing happened. I uncovered my Vocational IDENTITY.
I absolutely loved my new job. I had found a career in which I honestly was sad to take the weekend off! Why was this profession so inspiring, energizing, mood elevating, life-fulfilling? The reason, I later understood, was that this job tapped into my “Trademark Talents”: a constellation of intrinsic factors which, when utilized by a job, create an inner sense of enthusiasm and satisfaction and the highest levels of motivation.
The most powerful realization was that it was not only possible to have joyful work that pays you well, but that the two go hand-in-hand when your Trademark Talents are being used. The route to knowing what to do with my life didn’t come by the conventional method of analyzing my interests and passions. Knowing the careers I should really be in and what I passionately wanted to do with my career came through discovering my strengths first! I explored and detailed my uniqueness and my identity. It was something that changed my life forever.
I devoted myself to helping others. I developed the Oxford Program to be better…
I developed the Oxford Program.
I had found and read every book I could find on career choice, career change, finding a calling, you name it. I got a Masters of Science degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, concentrating on the concept of person-environment-fit. It became more and more evident to me that most forms of career assistance for adults fail for adults.
It was as if they completely ignored fundamental laws of motivation, human performance, and decision making. Through extensive literature review and experience, I honed in on the Oxford Method:
Vocational Identity >> Personal Career Vision >> Natural Vocation
Without a Vocational Identity, you can not have a Personal Career Vision to target all of your actions. Without a Personal Vision, you are not likely to find a Natural Vocation.
I began writing articles discussing these concepts and I was amazed at the numbers of people who told me I was “speaking right to them” and who really “got what I was talking about.”
After years of running a traditional career counseling practice, I decided to create a program to help people learn and achieve what I had learned and achieved. I wanted to create a network of committed people who believed in living life to its fullest — to using their greatest natural talents and creating a Personal Vision to exceed their career dreams. By creating a forum for participants to learn, share, advise, and support each other as they go through the Oxford Program, we had built the most powerful medium to guarantee success.
The Oxford Program has since had over a 5 thousand participants and we have been nothing short of astonished and proud of the effect that it has had on people’s lives.
Are you wasting your potential?
In my e-mails and articles, I elaborate upon what it means to “know yourself” and how to get there. I’ll talk about the importance of understanding what you are really good at, what work environment you thrive in, what activities bring out your enthusiasm and the fact that if you don’t match your vocation with these traits, you will have a near impossible time finding what you may be looking for.
My career decisions and the resulting experiences have helped me to develop a great, inner satisfaction and confidence about my life and where I am heading. And I’m going to do my best to help you get to the same place.
The Oxford Program Founder/Head Coach
Certified International Job & Career Transition Coach