Q: I've been in sales jobs, not because I loved them but because I fell into the industry due to a lack of other skills. I actually don't like having to sell people on products or services (I've sold both), even though I am good at it. My problem is that because I don't like sales, I haven't stayed very long in any one job — one year to three years — so I never built up equity from any benefits. In fact, the jobs I've had offered very little in benefits other than health insurance, sick days and vacation time. Now I'm in my 50s; I'm tired of this kind of work, but I'm too stressed and down on myself to see my options.
A: It sounds like you need to spend a weekend at home with absolutely no interruptions to allow yourself a pity party. Once you quarantine yourself, you need to open up and face your regret. This may come forth in the form of sobbing for hours or sitting in silence to force yourself to review your life. The next step is to pull yourself together and write a list of all the activities and hobbies you remember liking. Digging into your childhood is may be a necessary step for self-improvement, so don't expect to magically heal yourself overnight.
You've been working in a field you've disliked for about 30 years. You may have tuned out and turned off your discomfort, which enabled you to stay. Now, when you need happiness and comfort the most, you don't know how to find it. It won't come from watching TV shows or movies or dashing out with friends for lunch and shopping. Those superficial activities just prolong the process of numbing yourself to your discontent.
It's time to take positive action and develop a plan to change your life. If money is not your sole motivator, sales is certainly not for you, but you still need money to live. Many people have discovered passive means of making money, but you have to devote time to learning the ways. Read Facebook ads promoting the various systems for passive incomes. There is no one correct way to make money.
It will take time, focus and discipline, but once you collect information, you may feel more in line with one system over another. This is how you should now spend your free time. Not on frivolous, nonproductive activities like shopping or other forms of entertainment. That will keep you in a financial hole that will extend your time spent in sales jobs you dislike.
Once you choose a path for a passive income, depending on your level of commitment, success should follow. With this new income, you should be able to quit your sales job. You will then have time to study, train or practice in a new area of interest. One woman studied to become a yoga teacher at age 60, so you can't use the excuse that you are too old to learn new activities and hobbies. Depending on what motivates you, you can study anything you like. A world of opportunities awaits if you open your mind.
In 1640, George Herbert wrote "Jacula Prudentum," a collection of proverbs. "To him that will, ways are not wanting," he wrote. A magazine in 1822 translated that phrase to modern English: "Where there is a will, there is a way." This is your new mantra for life. Thirty years working in a field you dislike is far too long. Now you have the steps to improve. The change is up to you.
Email career and life coach: [email protected] with your workplace problems and issues. Ms. Novak responds to all emails. For more information, visit www.lindseynovak.com, and for past columns, see www.creators.com/read/At-Work-Lindsey-Novak.
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