Q: Your article describes my situation perfectly. I am a CIO for a very successful financial services company. My job is very challenging, rewarding and boring. I have built a great working relationship with my boss (the CEO) and other executives. However, I am finding myself losing more interest day after day. I want to quit my job altogether and join a small startup where I can expand my responsibility over other areas such as sales and marketing, product development, and operations. Do I exhibit typical signs of burnout, or am I just going through a midlife, midcareer crisis?
A: Don’t ignore your current feelings, but don’t change for change’s sake. Base any actions on insights on your skills, knowledge, talents, motivators, likes and dislikes, and practical considerations regarding financial security, prior experience, networking and reputation. I am currently working with a client who wants a change but is security-minded given his family responsibilities. We have identified his career goal and opportunities within his current company that will help move him forward. For more information on defining your career destination and plan, please read one of my previous columns, “Is This Job All There Is?” (www.cio.com/printlinks).
Q: A couple of things are missing from your list of what to do. A focus on family and friends is more important than spending all my energy at work. Those are the true lasting relationships. It’s there that I gain my energy to work. My family members also help me focus on work because of the importance of supporting them. Also, you neglected outside interests; hobbies, sports and so on are how people recharge themselves. Life isn’t all about work.
A: Congratulations! It sounds to me like you are a proud member of the purposeful 10 percent. In your case, you express yourself by ensuring that your work supports your desire to nurture and support your family and foster relationships. My guess is that your focus on relationships is something that is part of your personal DNA and that you are able to express it on a day-to-day basis in your job. It’s true that life isn’t all about work. It’s also true that if you are spending 10 hours a day doing things that don’t feed your soul, you will ultimately join the suffering 90 percent.
Q: Most of us are disengaged, distracted or procrastinating. Can anybody really avoid that? I don’t know anyone in that 10 percent group.
A: It is true that the purposeful 10 percent are the enviable minority. Regaining purposeful footing is difficult because the catalyst for change must be created internally. The renewal process requires the self-awareness to identify the need for change, the self-discipline to work through the discovery process, and the self-confidence to put your insights into action.