Discover 3 Powerful Strategies For Finding the Perfect Career When You’re Over 40 and Hate, Hate, HATE Your Job

Sandy Cormack headshot 3

As the owner of Strategic Diagnostics LLC, Sandy coaches people who hate their jobs and have decided it’s time for a career change, or a better career situation. He specializes in helping people find their perfect career in 30 days or less. He also helps organizations eliminate hiring failure and develop high performing teams. You can reach him at 410.459.5508, or email him at

“What career is right for me?” As a career coach, I hear that question quite often.

It starts when we are kids:  “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

It intensifies as we approach high school graduation: “What should I major in at college?”

And at sometime during adulthood, it cuts to the core problem many of us face: “What is my true calling in life?  What is my passion and purpose?”

People who have reached this point often tell me things like:

  • I’m at a dead end in my career
  • I don’t feel I’m a good ‘fit’ for the job anymore
  • I’ve topped out in my career path and want to earn more money
  • I want to move into a totally new career path
  • I want to achieve a better work-life balance
  • I want to understand my ‘true purpose’ and calling in life

At this point we realize we’re not in the right job.  It no longer inspires passion and drive.  And it makes us hungry for a change.

How seldom our job matches our true calling!  How rare it is that our career aligns with our life’s passion!

I’ve found that later in life “What career is right for me” often evolves into something a lot more extreme: “How do I reinvent myself?”

At the end of this article, you’ll discover three powerful strategies to help you find the perfect career, in 30 days or less.  But first, let’s explore…

How Did We Get To This Place?

Over the years I’ve found there are three common reasons we find ourselves in this “career dilemma:”

  1. We select a college major, career or path in life based on what we’re good at (aptitude) rather than who we are (attitude).  If you’re good at math, you’re automatically told you should be an accountant or engineer or statistician or whatever.  No one asks you what you’re passionate about, or what drives you, or what career fits your personality. But if I DID ask you this, would you be able to answer?  Maybe, maybe not. It’s a hard question, because…
  2. We are pretty lousy at self-assessment. Self-assessment is the ability to intuitively understand your natural strengths, as well as your blind spots.  Self-assessment is, in of itself, a blind spot for many of us. We don’t clearly know how what we think, how we behave and what motivates us makes us unique. Lacking self-assessment, many of our strengths remain hidden. In other words…
  3. We lack true self-awareness.  If we lack self-awareness, we can’t be true to ourselves.  This is called ‘authenticity.’  Lacking authenticity, we don’t understand how to figure out the best work environment for our personality and related ‘soft skills.’ So we can’t find the right career from the get-go.

This has helped me develop a crystal clear philosophy for my career coaching:

  • I only work with people who are passionate about discovering their purpose in life.
  • Self-awareness and authenticity are the keys to finding the right career.  We pick the career that fits who we are – we don’t try to change ourselves to fit the career.
  • People are ‘born’ to do something – my purpose is to help them discover what it is.
  • Anyone can EASILY reinvent themselves, even if self-assessment doesn’t come naturally. It’s my role to facilitate the process and let the client discover themselves.

The Corporate Perspective

15128486582_0e9b4a9f6dSo maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to work for company that invests in workforce development.  Some employers believe in hiring for competence and training skills on the job. And truth be told, I’m a huge proponent of workforce development.

It’s just that I’ve detected an evolution in the attitude companies take towards developing an increasingly transient workforce.

Our employers are increasingly seeing this from a much different perspective – that of hiring failure.

Research tells us new hires are failing at a rate of nearly 50 percent. Within 18 months of hiring new employees, almost half of them will be replaced or leave on their own.

Statistically speaking, the top reasons for hiring failure have nothing to do with aptitude, technical ability, talent, etc.  They are:

  • Lack of the right temperament/personality for the job
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of emotional intelligence
  • Lack of coachability

These factors are all directly connected to attitude. The first bullet sums up the situation nicely – the new hire might be smart and competent, but they simply don’t fit the job.

I’ve had at least one employer tell me: “I don’t want help them ‘find themselves” on the job – I want them to know who they are before they apply!”  In other words, they want to hire the right person from day one.

So it’s increasingly falling on employees to discover their passion and purpose on their own. But this also gives us key insight into what makes for a successful employee:

Four Things Successful People Possess In Spades

  1. Drive, Passion, Motivation – A reason to get out of bed in the morning
  2. Attitude vs Aptitude – A career that aligns with *who they are*
  3. Emotional Intelligence – The ability to understand and manage themselves and their relationships
  4. Coachability – The ability to take constructive criticism from coaches, supervisors and colleagues.  A sense of self-awareness, self-assessment, self-development

The Solution

People tend to come to me for two different reasons:

  1. They generally hate their jobs, and want to find the career they were meant to have.
  2. They like their chosen profession just fine…but they hate their situation.  They aren’t a good fit in their work situation – their boss wants them to be someone else, or they don’t align well with the corporate culture.

I use the same process for both situations.  Here’s how we get from “What career is right for me?” to “This is what I was born to do.” It’s a simple, three-phase strategy.

  1. Discover Who You Are.  I call the first phase of the process DISCOVERY. The goal of Discovery is self-assessment.  Discovery is a guided process through which we understand how you think, how you behave and what motivates you. The primary tool of Discovery is the psychometric assessment – I use three to explore deep enough to answer the question: “This is who I am.”
  2. Craft Your Vision. The second phase of the process is VISIONING. The goal of Visioning is self-actualization.  Paint a picture of your perfect future and select the career that best fits who you are. “This is where I want to be.”
  3. Develop Your Roadmap. The final phase of the process is DEVELOPMENT. The goal of Development is self-improvement. It’s the roadmap that shows how you’re going to attain your Vision. “This is how I’m going to get there.” Until we complete the first two phases, we don’t know what this looks like. For some people, Discovery and Visioning is all that’s needed – you can move right into your new career as you are.  Others may need development in areas like communication skills, leadership, or something more specific to their new role.

If you hate your job and want to find the perfect career, sign up for a free one-on-one strategy session and personality assessment – a $400 value.  We’ll explore how we can fix your problem in 30 days or less.


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