What would you do with your life if you could choose a different career?
One thing I’ve learned is that we could each make a contribution in a number of careers. My husband and I were happy in our first careers, but we both, for different reasons, made midlife career shifts.
We enjoy what we’re now doing, but neither of us feels like we’re doing what we were created to do. We’re not exactly sure how that happened. Logically, we should zero in on the work that is best suited for us as we go through life, but we have gone in the opposite direction.
Some fortunate people know what they want to do at an early age, and they do it brilliantly throughout their lives. Others, like my husband, had a plan, successfully worked the plan, and after twenty-five years realized that he needed a change. The plan wasn’t working anymore. Finally, people like me have never had well defined goals. I rode whatever current I caught until it disintegrated, and then I looked for another wave.
Would anyone else like a career do-over at times?
Some days I think I should have been a journalist. I enjoy writing, telling stories, and meeting people, and I am passionate about the truth. Communicating has always been a strong suit of mine, so if not a journalist, I could have been in communications or public relations. Maybe I could have communicated truth to benefit others.
Other days, I think I should have been a pastor, and I think I would have made a decent one. Dan and I have led small groups for decades, and I believe that I would be a good shepherd for a congregation. Writing, speaking and teaching God’s Word would also be in the mix. Being a pastor never entered my mind as a young woman. Ever. I wish it had.
Maybe I should have been a teacher. Community Bible Study showed me that I enjoy teaching – adults, that is. I would have had to be a high school teacher or college professor. Academic environments stimulate me and it’s fun to read and learn. I’m not sure why I didn’t consider that as a college student, but I didn’t.
Of course, when my children were in school I could have gone back to my original career in IT. I enjoyed it, and I was reasonably successful. If I had done that, however, I wouldn’t know how much I enjoy writing, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to study and teach the Bible. I suspect I would be a very different person.
As evidence of God’s sense of humor, I am now a career advisor for a local high school. When sophomores or juniors in high school say that they don’t know what they want to do with their lives, I ask questions to get them thinking about their interests and we explore. Then, I encourage them to set an achievable goal for themselves, take advantage of courses and internships that will help them decide, and be prepared to change their goals.
Actually, that’s not bad advice for us at any age. What are my interests? Am I taking advantage of every opportunity to improve my skills? Have I set goals for myself (always a challenge for me) and am I prepared to adjust them?
The Bible doesn’t have much career advice for us, in fact, I’m not sure it has any. God occasionally called people to serve him specifically, like Moses, David, and Paul, but those are individual cases. Most of us have to figure out our purpose using God’s word and under the Holy Spirit’s leading.
What the Bible does say, loud and clear, is that whatever we are doing we should do it for the Lord. For the last half of my life, I believe I have done that. My resume may not be as exemplary as others, but God has worked in and through me, and he continues to transform me.
I still have a long way to go, but maybe who we end up to be is more important than what we do.
I’d love to hear your career stories. Have you made career changes? Do you ever feel like you missed an opportunity to do what you love?