Suppose a woman named Jackie hated her sales job with every bone in her body. She really wanted to leave, but all the job opportunities she heard of paid less. Every time she heard about an interesting position, she waited for such a long time that the job was gone by the time she enquired.
“How could I even consider taking a job like that'” Jackie wondered whenever she was thinking of making a change in career. “Everyone tells me I have a great job. And how would my family get by on less money'” As with Jackie, guilt stops people in their tracks.
Guilt and work
Different types of guilt can surface in relation to your career. If you are in a situation like the one Jackie is in, you might be suffering from “I am being selfish” guilt, because you feel bad about putting your own needs first. “How dare I...” might lead some of your thoughts, as in “How dare I contemplate a lower-paying job when I am successful in my current, higher-paying one'” Or,“How dare I consider going back to work when I have little ones at home'”
You might be suffering from “I’m not good enough” guilt if you feel it is your fault you were laid off or you constantly try to mull over all the things you did wrong follo- wing a missed promotion. “If only I’d...” may lead some of your thoughts.
A third type of guilt is, “I want something I shouldn’t” guilt. You may suffer from this if your heart tells you to pursue a job of which your family disapproves. You may hear their voices in your head saying, “You want to be a what'”
Guilt can suffocate your enthusiasm and interfere with your career goals if you let it. Here’s how you can manage your guilt so that you can return to a productive frame of mind.
Articulate your guilt
Please do pay close attention to the thoughts circulating in your head; these thoughts can lead to feelings. For example, you think, “I should really be doing something else with my time,” and as a result, you do feel guilty.
It will be better if you could write down your thoughts or share them with a trusted friend of yours. The point is to clearly state what you are thinking and feeling. You can begin with something like completing this sentence: “I feel guilty because...”
Determine the source
Where are these thoughts coming from' Are you telling yourself you should be doing something different, because that’s what your mother always said' Or is there an outside source, like a spouse, who lays a guilt trip on you every time you talk about pursuing your dream job'
What’s the reality
Are the thoughts truthful' Will the house really fall apart if you work away from home for a few hours a week' Hold your guilt to a strong light, and try to look for supporting facts. Are those guilty thoughts true' Chances are, there could be a lot of exaggeration surrounding a small kernel of truth ' do try to get to that kernel.
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