“I’m So Busy. How Do I Shift With Such Limited Time?”

Maria's demotivated in her job and ready for a change. She's determined to carve out an exit strategy, but is also struggling to create space to explore her options. When time's tight, what's the most efficient way to focus your energy and make an actionable plan?

What's your career history and current job?

I've worked in landscape architecture since I graduated ten years ago.

I've been on maternity leave for nearly four months.

How do you feel about your work?

I've felt dissatisfied and disconnected from my job for at least a couple of years.

My career has been rewarding at times, and I've put a lot of effort into it, but I don't feel my heart's in it anymore.

I've worked on some interesting projects with some of the best people in my industry.

Mentoring younger members of the team and working directly with clients has been particularly rewarding, but there's not enough of that in the role.

One of the main client bases for my profession is the private sector. The objectives of this sector feel far removed from those associated with my profession, which exists to create environments that serve people's needs as they live and work.

So little of what I do feels like it's of benefit. In fact, the bulk of what I do is interacting with a computer screen!

While I appreciate the skills I've developed in terms of putting architectural designs together, it's not something I want to do for the rest of my life.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I've faced a few challenges in the past few years, including losing my mum to cancer, which has changed my perspective about how I should spend my time.

I'm compassionate, perceptive and understanding, and I'd like to do something more people orientated, with more face-to-face work.

With my mum, I witnessed and experienced the difference that psychotherapy and alternative therapies such as reflexology and massage can have.

I feel there would be a strong emotional connection if I pursued something like psychotherapy or similar as a career, because I'd be helping people.

But with a new baby, I've not had the time to explore these ideas any further.

Before I went on maternity leave, I went through a few years of psychotherapy and life coaching, which opened my eyes to exploring an alternative career.

The main things that came up were the need for greater flexibility and control, given that I'm a parent now, and the fact that I need to do something where I feel my heart is in it.

I still want to feel challenged and to use the skills I've developed as an architect but to do something that feels more commensurate with being a mum.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I don't have much time to figure out which direction to shift in.

I'm not sure how to pursue alternative therapy, what steps I'd need to take, the training involved, that sort of thing.

I also don't know how to find other ideas that might fit the bill of what I'm looking for.

But during the day, I have at most a couple of hours while my baby is sleeping. My available time and energy is so limited, it's hard to know how to spend it in the most productive way, and get answers to the questions I have.

I've been reading lots of articles online, but that's about all I've had time for.

I might have to return to my job after my maternity leave for a while to earn some money. If that's the case, I want to have a long-term plan about when I could move on, and where to.

I feel strongly enough about this to take some action now, and yet, I just don't know how to make the best use of the small amount of time I have to get some real momentum going.

How can I plan a shift when I have no time?

Can you help Maria?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • How do you think Maria could move her shift forwards?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

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