June 27, 2019

Where Change Begins: Wake Up Call (Part 2)

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series of job search and career transition articles. Click here to read Part 1.

A former Marine drill sergeant once told me how they “greeted” new recruits – stomping into their barracks at 3:00 a.m., shouting and cracking whips. “I guess you could say we gave them a wake up call,” he chuckled. Then he got serious. “They needed to know right away that they weren’t in Kansas anymore. Otherwise they weren’t going to survive boot camp, let alone the kind of combat we send them into.”

Wake up calls jolt us into a present, unpleasant reality. They leave us disoriented, lost, afraid. They create tension, discomfort, dissonance. They ask us to take an unflinching look at what’s uncomfortable in our world – what’s making us unhappy, what we’d like to change. And not just what’s in our world, but what’s in us.

Lots of people have gotten nasty wake up calls the past few years:  the tough economy, job loss, business failure, downsizing, foreclosure, bankruptcy. Sometimes wake up calls aren’t so harsh, but come more subtly, from inside – a restless longing to pursue a dream, a resolve to reinvent ourselves in midlife, or a vague sense that all is not well in our world.

How wake up calls come to us ultimately isn’t important. What’s important is how we deal with them. It takes courage to wake up. It takes more courage to stay awake, and get moving in the direction of the change we want to see. There are always an overwhelming number of good reasons not to change – which is why most of use go right on living our lives of quiet desperation.

And to make it worse, our dreams just won’t leave us alone. They keep coming back – a nudge, an invitation, a crazy idea. Each time is more forceful than the last. If we keep putting them off, next time the wake up call might come drill sergeant style.

Just be warned, that’s all.

Kevin Rhodes left a successful 20+ years career in private practice to pursue a creative dream. He has led two workshops for the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. His next one, scheduled for January 10, 2012, is called Work With Passion: Find Your Fire and Fuel It! Click here for registration information.
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