helping you solve the riddle of mental illness in your family
If you are are considering a career change, make sure your career change objective is aligned with what you naturally love doing. But first change non-career aspects of your life, and see if you are more happy at work since making a career change can take a lot of energy.
Bottom line: Does your work affect your caregiving? You bet it does!
Let's review your situation. If you are reading this website, most likely you are the primary caregiver of someone with a serious mental illness. And, most likely you also work. Now, take two scenarios and note the difference.
Which scenario is more likely to result in good caregiving?
The point is this: when you bring your work frustrations to your caregiving, you affect the outcome of your caregiving. Most people feel more relaxed when they look into the face of someone who is genuinely content. So, being happy at work can only affect your caregiving positively when you are with your loved one, because you bring a joyous energy to your loved one.
If your days look more like the second scenario, it might be time to consider a change. But that does not necessarily mean leaving your job. I would suggest the following approaches:
1. Give your job a chance. Change other elements of your life first. For example, if you are usually grumpy at work, but it's likely because you don't sleep enough, get more sleep and see if your happiness at work increases. Click here for info on sleep. Or, if you feel drained and you suspect it is because of your eating habits, consider changing them first.
The point here is that it takes a lot of energy to find a new job, start a business, or make a significant career switch. Consider it carefully. Even if you have identified the perfect career change objective, don't launch in head first yet. A career switch might end up being the right thing, but it is often the hardest to do, so take it a step at a time. This way you rule out non-job issues that affect your job first, before you decide to make a job change.
The next point connects with the heart of Zen: mindfulness. In Zen, you pay attention to what is happening every moment. It's not only effective (see recent studies of the follies of multi-tasking), but it's also where peace and joy lie. So, before you leave your job, pay better attention to it!
Pay 100% attention to the people you connect with, to how your fingers hit the keyboard as you type, to the connection between your feet and the ground when you walk, to your movements as you lift up the phone, your hand turning the door knob, and so on. Every moment counts. Don't be forceful about it--use gentle attention. Be relaxed, flexible, open.
After all these approaches fail to bring happiness to your work day, and you have carefully considered your finances, and the impacts of a change on the people and environment around you...then and only then do I suggest considering a change in jobs or careers. This is where your career change objective comes in.
2. After "rule-outs", consider a job change. If you've done everything in #1 above, and you've really given your heart to it, but you are deeply unhappy at work, consider a change. This calls for creating a career change objective.
In this objective, consider what is important to you. Your work can either be an extension of you or a distraction for you. Often we work too much and we work on things not close to our heart because we are afraid of the implications of making a change. Fear keeps us paralyzed or hypnotized.
So this path of crafting our own career means following our own intuition! Our own heart! Not our upbringing, not our parents, not our family or friends. It can be scary to turn in the direction of our heart because we have to take a risk. We have to face what is important to us. Our "career change objective" calls for attention.
What is it that we want to change?
These kinds of questions require responses if we want clarity on our career change objective.