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Loneliness is a complex problem of epidemic proportions, affecting millions from all walks of life. Verified by Psychology Today. By Amy Gutman, published September 3, - last reviewed on June 9, After a long-anticipated Brazilian vacation in February , Sean Ogle had a hard time returning to his stable—if unexciting—job as a financial analyst in Portland, Oregon.
Still, he had a hard time figuring out what to do. The economy presented another stumbling block, he says. Why would I give up a steady paycheck and a comfortable life to gallivant around Asia when I had no idea what that would bring? After he was asked to suggest some money-saving ideas for the company, Ogle proposed that he work remotely for a pay cut—which his boss unexpectedly interpreted as his resignation.
Rather than focus on finding another traditional job, Ogle embraced the chance to pursue Plan B: Months before, he had reached out to blogger Chris Guillebeau, who, through his website, The Art of Non- Conformity , encourages others to make a living doing what they love. With his guidance, Ogle sold his car, landed a half-year, Internet-based gig he could do remotely while starting his own blogging business—and transplanted himself to Thailand.
For many, these messages resonate—and sometimes compete—as never before. In the wake of the Great Recession, the pressure to think practically about jobs has never been greater. Personality also plays a role. Anyone open to different types of experience is inclined to see the appeal of forging a new path, says Ronald Riggio, an organizational psychologist at Claremont McKenna College.
Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career. Concerns about career identity are particularly acute among Millennials, who came of age with extraordinary expectations for themselves, boosted by Boomer parents who encouraged them to dream big. Underscoring the widespread nature of the strife over what matters most in a career is a study by Encore.
Through much of the last century, work trajectories seemed relatively clear. Ideals have since shifted: Workers frequently find themselves with less autonomy and more tedious dead-end projects. Many of the old security guarantees are gone—without a compensating upside. The clamor over the benefits of taking a risk is especially conspicuous on the Web. One voice among many in the digital chorus: To make ends meet, he juggles other projects, including part-time work for his mentor, Guillebeau.
For some, it might be relatively obvious which road makes the most sense. Among other things, how comfortable you are with ambiguity may also play a role in whether or not you take a leap of faith. In addition, she recommends thinking of ways you can bring what interests you about a Plan B career into your current position: It may also be helpful to know research suggests career satisfaction is linked to obtaining work that offers scope for autonomy, a sense of impact and mastery, and creativity.
The Mental Demands of Modern Life , counsels finding ways to tease out and reflect upon the various competing voices. One strategy he suggests is creating a four-column document identifying, in turn: Simply getting these ideas out of your head and onto paper will often lead to a profound shift in perspective, Kegan says. Another critical step in any successful transition: Having voices of encouragement is key to handling the stress of making a career jump, Neff points out.
No one knows this better than Ogle. If you sit down at a bar, what are the odds that someone next to you will share your goals and interests? Through the Internet you can find people who want the same things you do.
Finally, Likis made a U-turn back to the tech world, a foray that was cut short by a layoff in the wake of the financial crisis. That, coupled with a life-threatening pulmonary embolism 10 days later, brought new clarity. The school where he spent the past year has no openings for this one. Despite the uncertainty, Likis has no regrets about his full-circle journey. Finishing my working life in the classroom was a good choice for me. After law school and several years working in Boston, he and his wife moved to Maine, where he shuffled between the private and public sectors before landing a job in government relations.
By then, he was divorced—and finally ready to take a risk. When his best friend announced a move to Los Angeles, Menoyo was inspired to do the same and give acting another shot. Acting felt like unfinished business. In the years that followed, he enjoyed a certain success: It was fun, but unfulfilling. Among the respondents was Steven Hiller, a veteran of dozens of Hollywood studio films, including Terms of Endearment. Once he signed on, others quickly followed.
A Cure for Disconnection Loneliness is a complex problem of epidemic proportions, affecting millions from all walks of life. With job security waning and risk-taking arguably less risky, is it better to stick with a safe career or forge a new path?
Don't look to the Internet for easy answers—the myriad opinions it offers only make resolving the conflict more difficult. Instead, PT sought out experts for advice on how to know when to reach for your dreams.
Call it the new Plan B. Put in the Time. Sexless Marriage Is Surprisingly Common. Ditching the Backup Plan? The Siren Call of Starting Over.