First a list, then the change


Your job is a big drag and it's really getting you down. You know you need to make a change, but beyond that you're stuck -- knowing what you don't want, but unable to figure out what you do want.

That's a good starting point, because knowing what you don't want can be used as a catalyst for figuring out what you do want. If you really want to change things, (and aren't using "stuck" as an excuse to keep drifting), begin by exploring the "don't wants":

* First, in brief, simple terms, write down exactly what it is that needs changing -- "I don't want to stay in my line of work."

* Next, list all the things you don't want to exist when you have made the change, such as "I don't want to push so much paper." Keep adding to the list until you completely run out of steam.

* Then, for each "don't want," list a contrasting "do want." For example, "I do want work that allows me more interaction with people." Put your "do want" list order of importance and, using your top priority items, create a description of a job that suits you.

* Finally, using that description, take action! Perhaps you'll need some career counseling or some more education, but get started. Taking responsible action is the only thing that will make what you do want become a reality.

Barbara Turk is a psychotherapist in private practice.

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