BOOKSHELF: Julian Locke Micko recommends these books by women for helping discern and define the work you were meant to do:
I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This by Julie Jansen
I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher
Life's a Bitch and Then You Change Careers by Andrea Kay
The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work by Joanne Ciulla
Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States by Alice Kessler-Harris
by Julian Locke Micko
A colleague called to tell me about a great job opportunity-great salary, interesting work-but one that I personally felt would involve selling my soul. I thanked him, hung up the phone, and realized I couldn't consider taking a job that would make me not sleep at night.
It was time for a career change.
I dove into a career search utilizing the scientific method we all learned in elementary school. My hypothesis was that I could be happy and enjoy my work.
Identifying a field for my career didn't end my search. I had to find the right place to work, learn how to work in a field that employs about 85 percent men, and overcome the challenges of an introvert working in an extroverted field.
Challenges aside, the soul-searching was worth the effort. Now I lose track of myself in my work and love the day-to-day elements of what I do. It is such an honor to work with people, helping them to unearth their goals and then work towards them.
I read a lot of books. I took a class at WomenVenture to refine my quest into a list of jobs related to my interests and values. Each potential job possessed the sacred elements I required: service, integrity, security and flexibility for my family.
With my list of job options, I started to experiment. I did informational interviews, I shadowed professionals currently in the field and took on volunteer opportunities to help me eliminate career options. It was tiring but fascinating to consider the possibilities.
The moment when I realized that not everyone is passionate about balancing their checkbook, paying off bills, staring at their 401k statements or figuring out when they could retire startled me. How could it be! I was shocked! Didn't everyone do these things? It turns out, no. In fact most people would rather go to the dentist.
It turns out, personal finance was for me. As someone who graduated from college young and thought the only way to offer help to people was to get a job at a nonprofit, this realization opened my eyes.
Five years later, I have no regrets, and am so grateful for the precious time people spent with me at lunches or coffees and on phone calls. I found my answer; it is possible to love the work I do. I help people in a very measurable way every day, and I can sleep at night.
Julian Locke Micko is a financial advisor and lives in St. Paul. She will encourage her two daughters to pursue meaningful work-but will wait until they at least finish Montessori.
What's on your bookshelf? Send us 450 words about your booklife, plus your list of four to five related books by women authors, to firstname.lastname@example.org