I Feel Stuck

A woman seeks guidance on how to deal with how miserable she is in her current career.

Your Career Coach

Thomas Alva Edison My Life, Please

Dear Michele,

I have been a CPA for 20 years working at a major
non-profit that everyone in America knows. From that perspective, it’s a good job because from time to time I get to experience some interesting stuff, but I am mostly stuck in my cube crunching numbers. We recently had some training where I found out that I score very high on my need to be with people. Which I’m not doing when I’m in my cube.

I’m afraid that if I try to find a new job that’s more people oriented that I’ll have to take a huge step back and a big pay cut. With two kids in college and one ready to go, I can’t afford to do that now. But I am miserable in my job. Is there anything I can do?

— Reinventor

Dear Re,

Often we limit our opportunities because we tell ourselves that we
have to do all of THIS and none of THAT, or all of THAT and none of THIS. When the easiest transition is to have some of THIS and some of THAT, moving toward the one that gives us more happiness and joy.

So, you are a CPA and obviously have great skills and talents in that area. But you are also a people person. I happen to know gregarious accountants, so it’s not such an odd mix! Could you go to your head of PR or marketing — whichever office does most of its work with the public — and volunteer to help organize an event? Or to work at an event? You could even offer to organize an upcoming company
party, like a Christmas Party or summer picnic — anything that gets you to associate with people and broaden your network within the organization.

If you do a good job in these volunteer roles, you may find yourself tapped to leave accounting and join another team — keeping your tenure, salary and benefits intact. Or maybe even getting a raise! Give it a shot, and let me know how it goes.

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