400 questions that could change your life, part 2

Sometimes you don’t see the things that are right in front of you. It might be because of your focus, your frame of reference, or your expectations. The majority of people do not see the gorilla (and if you haven’t watched the video yet, this might be a good time to do it!).

I’ve often felt that maybe I haven’t found my dream job because I don’t know it exists, or that I don’t know what to look for. There are a myriad of options out there, but because I only have a limited number of experiences and knowledge about the world, there are a ton of possibilities that I just don’t see. If you read part 1 (and I hope you did!), you know that I’ve tried a number of options, done research, and even took a leap of faith with teaching yoga. But with all of this I still feel like there is so much out there I can’t see.

Last Fall Dave suggested I go to a career counselor. A friend of his had had success with one, and he thought I would too. At first I was resistant. My ego was getting in the way: “I can figure this out on my own! I don’t need someone telling me what I should do based on some multiple choice questions!”

In the end, though, I realized that it just might be the gorilla in the room that I would finally see. I Googled “career counselors” and decided on a redhead with a cool name, initials C.Z.C. These are obviously important characteristics to consider in any career counselor. I met C.Z.C. one afternoon in a cute cafe in the West Village. She opened her laptop and asked me to take the 400 question multiple choice test. I felt giddy with hope. That was until I saw the first question:

  • Could you see yourself as an actor/actress?

Trick question! I had to decide right there: am I taking this test to discover another career besides acting?

I answered “No” to that question, deciding that I was looking for a satisfying career that would also generate a paycheck. By the end of the test, I was almost positive that I would be told that I should be a florist.

  • “Do you like flowers?” YES
  • “Can you see yourself working with flowers?” YES

C.Z.C. called me once the “results were in” and sounded so excited–“you are going to be amazed!” she said. When we finally met, I was filled with anticipation. What will I be when I grow up?

I took the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS) test and there were seven “orientations” that you could fit into based on your skills and interest:

  • Influencing
  • Organizing
  • Helping
  • Creating
  • Analyzing
  • Producing
  • Adventuring

I was told to AVOID every orientation except for Creating. C.Z.C. was so excited for me–“there is no question what you’re meant to do…you must create.” She told me to pursue design and culinary arts, as well as explore performing arts and writing. And, yes, she even mentioned that I should look into floral arranging (but should probably avoid landscape architecture!). She told me that being creative is what would nourish my soul. And she told me that one thing was certain: this was confirmation to look for something outside of my current industry, which is finance. She told me that my first transition could be at a more creative company (which would mean more creative people and a more creative environment) doing work similar to what I’m doing now, or at least utilizing skills that I’ve developed. She said that alone would make me infinitely happier.

I felt devastated, overwhelmed, and confused. Even though I walked away with the knowledge that I was only going to be truly happy if I was being creative for most of my day (and that is actually a big takeaway), it seemed like a steep mountain to climb, especially for a second career. I also wondered how (or if) I was going to fit acting and auditioning into all of this. I had so many mixed emotions. I had to put the test results away for a while (it’s been 8 months now) and just let them be.  I’m still at the same finance day job. I think I’ve been so focused on the paycheck aspect that it’s hard for me to see the things that are literally right in front of me. Change is scary, but it’s important to believe in the power of each step, no matter how small it may be.

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