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Avoiding Rash Career Decisions Mark Swartz, M.B.A. M.Ed.

About the Author

Mark Swartz, MBA, M.Ed., is Canada's Career Activist. His insights reach millions yearly as the Career Advisor, as author of the best seller "Get Wired, You're Hired," also as a professional speaker and coach on career/work issues. A former Toronto Star careers columnist, Mark's advice is forthright and practical. For Canada's biggest directory of free career articles, and for personalized coaching, please visit

Mark Swartz
Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dear Mark: I am just returning to the workforce after looking after my ailing parents. I am still grieving their loss, but need to return for financial reasons. I currently hold a BSc & 20 years experience in Emergency Medical Services (EMS). I'm just not motivated and clearly cannot see what I want to do - a brand new career or something in EMS.

-- Evan B., Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Dear Evan,

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your ailing parents. It must have been a very difficult time for you and your loved ones.

Now you are looking at restoring your earnings stream in terms of paid employment. However you are questioning the two decades of work you've invested in the EMS field. No fireworks display is bursting to signal the urgency of returning there. This, among other things, could be leading you to wonder if something completely different might not be in order. Maybe the change will do you some good, right?

Change certainly can prove a world of good. New activities, friends, co-workers, location. And a chance to leave behind some elements you've either dealt with to your satisfaction, or no longer need to.

I do recommend that before you start making big changes -- or lots of little ones all at once -- you decide first if you're in a good space to be considering these kinds of major adjustments over the next while.

Planning your future ought to be fun. Like looking into a crystal ball and pointing at all the cool things you want to be there for you. Then seeking out the ones most important to you step by manageable step. Ideally this sort of soul journey would be started when you can focus a lot of your attention on yourself. This way you can better sense, and sort out, who you truly are and where you might like to head.

Launching into self-exploration when feeling wiped out from recent events already, or when struggling with heightened emotions, some people run the risk of skipping over important steps. As an example, caretakers can naturally burnout over time, being so consumed with looking after the health and welfare of someone else. If your own well of inspiration is running dry, might not you be tempted to leap at the first solutions that present themselves?

If so, then you might want to proceed cautiously. Since you imply, Eva, that you may need money fairly soon, you might look at getting something impermanent in the EMS field immediately. Maybe some contract work or a fill-in for someone on leave. A bit of temping, if available. Also, and I mean this with the greatest of respect, you might inquire as to whether the estate has provided for you somehow that could help you get along for now. By giving yourself time you may find that you're gradually more able to make thought out decisions that you've investigated to your satisfaction. Doing so will boost your odds of going for and getting more of what you care about.

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