Over time, I noticed that a lot of my clients wanted to quit their jobs and become yoga teachers.
What this aspiration suggests to me is a need or desire for a healthier and / or spiritually fulfilling career and life path. Who can dispute this?
But then I wonder, maybe this intention is not about work at all.
In fact, there are two questions that underlie most career change choices: “Is it really about my job?” And “Should I quit my job?” “
You might be wondering what to do if this is you.
Here are 5 things I tell my clients who are ready to quit their daily jobs.
1. Take stock of where you are in your life cycle.
Radical career changes can be attractive in theory, but difficult and even disastrous in practice. Two scenarios will help illustrate why your lifecycle position matters.
The first is an elderly woman approaching retirement age or retirement age who has sufficient means to support herself for the remaining years. Obviously, she’s in a good position to effect impulsive or heart-motivated change.
The second case is a young professional woman in mid-career who still needs to build up a nest egg to meet her needs and ensure her financial independence.
While the vision of becoming a yoga teacher can be liberating, it is almost certain that it will lead to fierce competition for the few prime jobs in the field, as well as a significant drop in income.
Here, the question “Should I quit my job and become a yoga teacher?” requires careful consideration and potential disentangling from competing needs.
2. What don’t you like about your daily job?
A good place to start assessing the question “Do I want to quit my day job and change careers?” Is to write a list of what you don’t like about your current job.
Be as comprehensive as possible. Think about your workspace, boss, coworkers, clients, daily work routine and environment, commuting, etc.
Also consider the impact of work on the rest of your day, your personal relationships, and your current and / or life aspirations and plans.
Now go through the list and identify the thoughts and beliefs that resonate the most strongly. For example, do you think your job is boring, thankless, unchallengeable, stressful, hopeless, uncreative, insulating, too hard, etc. ?
Negative thoughts can restrict your perspective, causing you to overlook important information and opportunities. To counter this, go through them one by one and challenge the thoughts that arise.
For example, you might be thinking, “My job is stressing me out”. Modify the thought as little as possible to derive another thought which means the opposite.
In this case, “I’m stressing my job.” Can you find credible evidence to support this alternative thinking? Are these new ideas and supporting evidence changing your perspective in any way?
3. What first drew you to work?
Think back to when you applied for your current job. What attracted you? Were these specific aspects of the job or the salary? Are your personal or family professional expectations taken into account? Did you see this as an important springboard?
Are these assessments still valid for you today or have your interests, needs and / or goals changed? Are there aspects of the job that you still enjoy or want to explore? What are they?
Make sure you read your original job description with a fresh eye. Does it include work responsibilities that you were interested in then but never had the chance to pursue? Has your job evolved into something completely different?
4. What could you change about your job?
This reflection takes a little time. You want to undertake a representative review of what you do at work for about two weeks. If your tasks vary over time, make sure your assessment takes the variation into account.
Walk one hour at a time each day. Write down what you do, what you like or dislike about the activity and why in one or two sentences.
Ask yourself if you took advantage of the training and other opportunities to move in a direction you would like more.
Could you discuss with your supervisor and justify some changes in your responsibilities? Could you move sideways or upwards and increase your interest and satisfaction?
5. How can you change jobs to improve your life?
After reviewing all of your answers, with the new information in hand, reconsider whether you should quit your day job.
Are there fewer negatives associated now? Do you see ways to improve the work? Do you see opportunities to improve your work-life balance and bring in more of what you get from yoga or elsewhere?
Also consider if there are any aspects of the job that you simply cannot tolerate any longer despite this reassessment? Could anything other than quitting your job and becoming a yoga teacher solve these unresolved issues?
Should you quit or change your job?
A career change can be risky and overwhelming, especially when executed on a whim.
If you take an emotional, mental, and financial picture of your situation, you can reduce some of the risk, manage the whimsical appeal, and craft a holistic plan that gets you more of what you want and need.
If this sounds like you, perform these thinking exercises before quitting your day job and enrolling in yoga teacher training.
Patricia bonnard, PhD, ACC is an integrated coach and energy healer offering a blend of conventional coaching, embodied practice, and energy healing to help clients go deeper and make important life decisions creatively and authentically.