One of my very favorite quotes about career and life comes from Thomas Edison. The inventor, who also taught us many great lessons about success and failure, tells us, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” That quote is on the inside front cover of my writing notebook. (Yes, I write old school – pen and paper first.) And, when this notebook gets filled up, I’ll add it to the inside cover of the next one, too. I love this quote. I find it incredibly powerful and inspiring, and I believe in its truth. Do you? We’re all great at something. We have energy and passion and talents that, if released, could contribute to something pretty amazing. But are we in positions to release all of that energy, passion, and talent?

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Have you ever felt like a complete career misfit? You've had many jobs and many employers, but it’s always something - a bad boss. The work doesn't challenge you. The work is too challenging. They’re trying to make you into something you’re not. You spend the majority of your time doing work you hate. You feel like a sell-out. They have no idea what you’re really capable of. How many times do you get to say, “It’s not me – it’s them?” before you start to wonder if maybe it really is you? How long before you start to wonder if maybe you shouldn't just get shipped off to the Island of Misfit Employees? How long before you start to lose faith that there really is a fit for you... somewhere? It can be disheartening, can’t it? Especially when you know that you really could be great at something… somewhere. I believe that most people really aren’t afraid of hard work. I think that we actually long to work hard for someone or something that matters to us. I think that we each have skills and abilities that we would love to use in service of the right cause. We just haven’t found that right fit yet. Why is that? Over one-third of our adult lives are spent working. Don’t we want that time to matter? Don’t we want to find fulfilling work that makes a difference? Of course we do. We just don’t always know how.

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Good news for those interested in changing careers in 2013, according to the article, “Jobs: Getting Ahead in 2013” in CNN Money. “If you’re eager to land a new job, win a promotion, or snag a decent raise, next year will be your best chance since 2007 to get ahead – especially for professional workers,” says the article. Further, if you’re looking for a job in accounting, finance, legal, advertising, marketing, or technology, you can look forward to a pay increase, as salaries in these fields are expected to grow 3.7% in 2013, according to Robert Half International’s 2013 Salary Guide. What’s more, CareerBuilder has identified a list of occupations that are on an upward trajectory regarding employment. The list includes accountants, computer systems analysts, and event coordinators. Okay, so... yay. It’s a better outlook for jobs than we’ve seen in the last few years, but… what does this mean for you? Sounds like if you’re an accountant, you’ve got it made! But what if you’re not an accountant? Or… what if you are, and you’ve grown to hate accounting? What if you’re already employed in one of the supposed “hot” fields, and you’re miserable? Will a pay increase of 3.7% make it all better? Forget about employment trends for a minute. If you’re unhappy with your career and want to make a change, you’ll need to look inward first.

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