Istanbul, Worldly Views, and 4 Resources for Changing Course

16 Mar

I have done a lot of traveling the past several years which has been amazing. It really has changed my perspective on a lot of things in my life. For example, when I read in the newspaper about the protests in Bangkok or politics in Istanbul, I pay more attention to these stories now. The news is no longer a passing headline to me, but it means something to me.I can picture the area where the protests took place in Bangkok, because I have been there.  I can better understand stories of politics in Turkey because I have made connections with the people there. And if I  read about a country that I haven’t been to, I read the story with more wonder, and questions about what it is like to live there. Travel opens the world up to you. If you have ever been fortunate enough to hear the hauntingly beautiful call to prayer in Istanbul or elsewhere, it changes you.

While the traveling has changed me in so many positive ways, in some ways it has made plotting my course forward more difficult. I am not the same person that I was before I did all of this traveling, and figuring out how to change course has been challenging. My struggle with unemployment, has been not just about finding a job, but about how to create a different life for myself.

If you are like me you vacillate during your job search between trying to find “a job” to just get your income back up, to really thinking big picture about what you want for your career. I feel like my world has expanded in the past couple years, and the whole world is open to me. But, having seemingly endless possibilities can be overwhelming. And the doubt creeps in about whether or not you will pick the right direction. What if you change course and still can’t find a job? What if you make the wrong decision? What if you make less money than you did previously? I have all of these thoughts and more.

I try to find inspiration and comfort in my favorite book, “The Alchemist”, by Paul Coelho. It is my favorite not only because it is about a boy in Spain, a country that holds a place in my heart, but because of the powerful message that it sends about following your dreams. My takeaway from the book is that if you find and follow your “personal legend”, in other words what you are meant to be doing in life, the universe and opportunities will open up to you. I know this sounds a bit new-age, and hokey, but I really belive it is true. Use this time, not only to find “a job” but to think about your life more broadly.

Although the financial pressures of unemployment are real and daunting, allow yourself to take some time to really think about your “personal legend” and the big picture of what you want in your life. My guess it that when you were working full-time in perhaps a stressful job, you didn’t have the time or the energy to do that. Map out what you want, and create action steps of how you are going to get there. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t apply for jobs that aren’t your dream job, or that you should turn down a job offer that isn’t exactly right. Having a less than perfect job may be part of the journey, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Below are some resources to help you think about the bigger picture and changing course in your life.

Tiny Budda

This may be my new favorite blog and the author started it when she was unemployed. She now has 336,665 twitter followers and a new book. I love this post on changing direction and how it is never too late to be who you want to be.

Escape from Cubicle Nation

I have mentioned this one before, but I think Pam Slim has a lot of great advice. This post on how to plot a career when you are overwhelmed with the choices is excellent.

The Change Blog

I just discovered this blog recently and it has a lot of inspirational information. And, it is another example of someone who used a lay-off to change the direction in his life. Read about how to change your career direction in this post on 10 Steps to creative career changes.

Zen Habits

Zen Habit is one of the top 25 blogs in the world. According to the author and creator, “Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness”. I love this post on 5 shortcuts to finding your passion.

The job search can be a grind, and the worry and financial fears are real, but don’t miss out on this opportunity to change course. Spend some time really thinking about what you want out of life, and figure out how you are going to get there.

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4 Responses to “Istanbul, Worldly Views, and 4 Resources for Changing Course”

  1. Mark Zipoli March 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Lisa, thanks for this posting, and for the previous ones; am much obliged to you for your positive outlook, as it sometimes is incredibly difficult for me to maintain while unemployed and battling the chipping away at of one’s self-esteem. And I identify with your being charmed by Turkey; have you read any of Orhan Pamuk’s books?

    • Lisa M. March 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      Mark, thanks for your comment.I agree it is tough to maintain a postive outlook during an extended job search. We just have to remember that it will get better. I do have the book “Istanbul”, by Orhan Pamuk, but I have to admit that I have read the entire book. I think Istanbul is my favorite city that I have been too. There are lots more place on my list for the future.

  2. Razwana March 18, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    Lisa – it IS tough to try and focus on a what you want to do, rather than what you *should* be doing when unemployed, especially when financial worries are hanging over your head. Of course there is the option of doing both – find a (part time?) job to keep money worries at bay and focus on your ‘personal legend’ simultaneously.

    – Razwana

    • Lisa M. March 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      Hi Razwana, I agree it is tough to focus on what you want to do, especially with financial pressure. I try to split my focus between what is really needed in the short-term, and my long-term goals.

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