I know this is too long, but I don’t know how to transition and I married a man who was succinct so I didn’t have to be, so I am banking off of content interest for you to keep reading. But I don’t feel entitled for you to keep reading if you are bored – I just couldn’t figure out how to edit this down further and I really needed to write you after reading your blog.

I have spent the past 20 hours in three days reading your blog. I’ve probably read over 50 posts or so, and they all revolve around the self-acceptance and fulfillment or career change categories. I am very interested in reading your homeschooling and parenting categories soon since I am almost 63% sure I will be going off birth control after my husband and I come back from our China trip in 2017.

I am 28 years old (ticking clock and parents aching to be grandparents working against a fear that once I have kids I will always think “what if” if I don’t figure out “what I should be doing” now) and feel like I’m in a job that wastes my potential. I know I shouldn’t blame the job, but I blame myself for being too weak and scared to leave this job that is a 5/6 on your test for “do you have a good job“… so I tell myself I should shut up and be grateful.

I am an ENFJ, but sometimes I test as an INFJ. I think I’m 50/50 on the Introvert/Extrovert thing because I love helping people at work, but I get tired of being constantly around them (so I work virtual and in-office) and I am very independent and need an escape to think.

This also may depend on at what time I take the test. If I take it around holidays when all my free time is taken up rushing to and from family events which I am very bitter and guilty for feeling bitter about right now, I test as an INFJ, but when I’m taking the test while I am at work or was just around cool people, I am an ENFJ. I love my family, but I can’t say no to family events because we live 2 hours away and it’s not like I see them every day… so perhaps I am just a guilty and bitter ENFJ with no family boundaries.

I am a programmer analyst who changed from being a systems analyst last year. I have been caught in analysis paralysis on my next career move for over 3 years. I have been at this company since my 2010 college graduation.

My company likes me enough to keep me even when I had a quarter-life crisis last April and said I am about to quit so they gave me a coding job I asked for to replace my database job but it didn’t get better because I don’t like data, I like reading about research based on data. (TBH I think they keep me because I’m fun, not because I’m good at coding) But I thought I should make myself get a degree in something I was bad at because it would be a good character building experience for me. And because it would fulfill both my parent’s expectations (and I had no time to think of any for myself) I think that was a big mistake.

The only part of my job I like is when I am helping people find answers to their problems. But I don’t want to learn the code anymore to be the answer to those type of problems so I don’t see how I have any more use here except to keep doing a mediocre job at learning to code and then giving people sort of knowledgeable advice about something I don’t really like. But I end up feeling good I helped them and that keeps me going. Sort of.

My dad is a successful engineer and manager and loved us based on achievements (grades, contest wins) and my mother was a very emotional and creative best friend who raised me to “get a degree” because her husband would definitely marry a woman with a degree if she died. My parents are still married after 36 years and are quite happy with each other for what its worth.

My friend is abused and I have been helping her through her issues. This makes me feel fulfilled and interested because it presents a challenge where I need to convince her to make better life choices to get away from the abuse. I looked up “victim advocate” job on indeed and apparently a master’s degree is required…. so I dropped that idea because having to get a masters degree for that sounds stupid since I’m already doing a great job at helping my friend now. I actually ended up counseling many coworkers about their relationship issues or lack thereof these past 5 years. I’m good at getting people to open up. But to be a psychologist I’d need a doctorate and I’m 28 with a ticking clock.

I tried to go to art school and business school at the same time. The art school because I wanted art and the business school because I thought it was the smart and practical thing to do to support that art.

I felt mentally raped by art school as they were all crazy drug addicts who thought my representational art was kitsch and their over-sexualized abstract art was high brow. I saw no other options in art. The school gave no other options to be a different type of artist. So I quit. I did something practical that I thought would give me a stable income so I got a business degree in computers. I am sort of a happy person in general but existentially miserable.

From one of your posts, I tried to remember my greatest feeling of accomplishment and super fun or peaceful moments as a child. So I remember interpretive ballet dancing on stage many times and enjoying it, mostly because I enjoy moving around and also knowing people are being entertained by it. Now I pursue wushu, a performance martial art 3 times a week. I remember setting up house for dolls with friends in a low hanging camphor tree. We climbed and jumped off the branches. We were at home there.

I now live in a stilt house on a lake built from wood and fixing it up feels good. I liked helping my grandmother with her chicken and rabbit feeding chores. I also remember laying in a meadow by a forest in really soft grass and it felt awesome. I currently have 5 chickens and think 15 would be even more fun – so I guess I’ve done pretty well in actualizing my childhood aha! moments. I realize this and feel more ungrateful that I am still complaining about my career.

I know you’ve heard this before… but I think I still want to be an artist. After all the career books and repetitive analysis I have done in the past 3 years I look back on my notes and I keep coming to this conclusion. I make some art, but I feel guilty about it because the art doesn’t make money to help support myself or my family so its only for myself. Then when I catch myself feeling like this I become scared to death I will become my mother. She is too guilty to do anything for herself and never tried to capitalize on her natural artistic talents.

Right now I just want to sit the work computer down and go to my art desk and make art. I have been in the flow state with this before. But I would be a bad employee if I did that. But I’m not a bad employee if I type this long winded expose of my life to you after reading 50+ of your posts in the past 3 workdays.

But am I cut out to be an art entrepreneur? In 5th grade, the kids liked my art and commissioned different Pokemon, and I drew them and received fair compensation. I was proud of how well I could make Pokemon drawings and sell them for 25 or 50 cents but then a jealous kid told on me and the teacher said I couldn’t do that in class. I was so guilty I did something the teacher said was wrong so I quit.

I am a people pleaser to my own fault, and I don’t want to die having pleased everyone but myself. I’m scared because now I’m 28 with a ticking clock and probably have maybe 2000/10000 expert hours of art combined under my belt. I want to draw pictures of awesome stuff, have people see it and love it and want it, and then pay me for it. So then I can buy everything plus health insurance with it and feel worthy. I know there are successful artists that do this. But they are all already successful. I’m just starting out. It was easier to explore when I was a child and had no adult responsibility or a baby clock.

I want to ignore people (INFJ) but I just can’t (ENFJ). Women have it harder than men in these existential crises because of babies. And I still want babies too.

If you got to this part of the mail, my question is what do you think I should do? I would love to know your opinion about my situation. I finally feel braced and ready for any hard truths I may hear.

I originally wanted to be a lawyer, however, after interning for a law firm over the summer, I quickly noticed how miserable lawyers are. During my second year of college, I am taking Finance and Accounting courses, and loving the work.

I have decided that I want to become an investment banker after college. What tips do you have for getting an investment banking internship? I plan on doing the CFA Program (Chartered Financial Analyst) after college, but what else can I do to stand out to get one of these highly competitive internships?

Why does most everyone hold their talent/passion/true gift/calling under water like trying to hold a beach ball under water? It does eventually pop up, but why the squelching? It’s wide spread and effects all classes, people, etc.

I know you have to keep trying different jobs out to know what you want to do, I think my problem is that there is some kind of block/resistance around anything, including the jobs I try out.

I’m an INFP.

I have interned as a Human resource intern for a non-profit and I think I liked the talent acquisition, recruiting and company wellness aspects of it, but not benefits/compensation etc.. But I still don’t know if I want to pursue this aspect of HR further. I always seem to feel like there’s something else.

I’ve interned as a marketing and communications intern in NYC for a start-up juice company. I didn’t like it that much, thinking I don’t care too much about marketing for this.

I then got a job as a marketing assistant where I assisted the director of business development with marketing, social media, helping out with proposals (it was a consulting company) and other little business development pieces.

I liked it because of the people I worked with and the office environment. But it was also something I saw as temporary.

My biggest resistance comes with pursuing Psychology. I definitely don’t want to get a PhD, but secretly, I think about counseling as a career but I have SO MUCH resistance around this. For example:

(1) I don’t know if I’m confusing my love for personal development and spirituality with choosing this as a career–cos I use it to help myself. I get really inspired by mental wellness and I spend a lot of time being inspired by individuals who are life coaches etc. online and I feel connected. But am I just having wishful thinking.

(2) I love being empathetic, I’m a great listener and I feel a desire to help and empower others. BUT there are times where I feel like I don’t want to be listening to people’s problems. It gets depressing and I feel stupid if I can’t help or give the right kind of advice. What if I suck? I also have enormous fears around not feeling smart enough for grad school. I got by fine in my undergrad career but didn’t do well in my research methods class for e.g.

(3) I don’t really want to do clinical psych because I would want to help with less serious concerns than actual mental disorders like schizophrenia for instance. There a lot of people in my country where there is not enough psychological help and no outlet for people to talk about mental wellness. I feel like there is some kind of potential here but I’m not exactly sure how I would want to play a part.

I’m 25 years old and I can continue to experiment with jobs but I’m afraid that I might just be hopping from one thing to another with no direction. I know this feeling very well. There are instances in my life where I’d feel this way and actually sabotage myself because I’m not seeing things properly. I’ve read Dr. Meg Jay’s book, Defining Decade and how the decisions you make in your 20’s are important.

I’m scared that I’m just aimless. I can’t even decide what skills to get good at. I don’t want to waste my time on something when I could be gaining experience somewhere else. In my country, opportunities are different than in USA. It’s more common in the U.S. and maybe elsewhere to experiment with jobs but here, it’s different. I just interviewed for  HR executive position and the interviewer asked why HR after interning and working in marketing/business development.

I would appreciate any insight you have?!

I am an ENFJ and I’ve listened to your course for ENFJ’s and it was great! And you were talking about me when you said ENFJs want to have it all. That’s why I took the course because it’s sooo TRUE! I need to do it all and find myself committing to too much and becoming overwhelmed

I have a question regarding my career. I have NEVER wanted my career to be my life and always pursued a career in science communication because (makes so much sense) I love taking research learned and explaining it to the public. However, I realized this career will never pay me any money and I won’t have control over where I live.

So, after spending 4 years working in the science communications field I have made a decision to become a nurse. I’ll be able to work with people, live where I want, earn more money, and have a good balance between work and life (don’t take work home with me). I’m currently finishing up my prereqs, working the hospital part-time, and applying to schools (out of state schools).

I’m also concerned with going back to school as school is not my strong area and I will be doing the accelerated nursing program which is quite intensive. I know I can do it, but am trying to figure out how to still maintain balance and not feel overwhelmed, which is why I’m seeking out advice before I take the plunge this fall (have to be accepted first though).  Do you have any advice on this?

My second question for you is that you say “ENFJs can have anything they want, and if they don’t have it it’s because they don’t really want it.” I understand this to a certain extent. I’m curious as to what you mean exactly because there have been, is currently actually, guys who I have wanted, but they haven’t wanted me in a romantic relationship. They want to still hang out with me a lot and confide in me, but it actually blows my mind that they want that, but don’t want to be in a relationship with me.

So, I’m confused on how you say “ENFJ’s can get anything they want.” AND the worst part is because I know they enjoy my company I hang out with them whenever they want to because I don’t want them to feel alone or like they don’t have anyone to confide in. It’s actually kind of nuts. I’m also stubborn and can’t accept that it’s “just platonic.” This is actually the most challenging part of my life right now, as for everything else I want, I do get. You are right about that.

I’m 27 now though and want kids and to settle down. I’m tired of getting sucked into dating guys that I date because I feel they need me more than I need them, but I stay with them because it makes them feel good. It’s insane when I say it out loud. I want to take the time to date a guy who I want to marry.

Thank you! I thoroughly appreciate any advice you have!

I am 23, graduated from UCSB two years ago in international development and business communication, and work for a four-person consulting agency with extremely supportive cofounders. Unfortunately, my desire to feel connected to a cause or issue is suppressed in my current career.

I’ve been circling my next move for about 6 months now and quite frankly, I just need to make a decision before I go crazy.  I know that I would love to do international development work with a focus on maternal and newborn health. I am considering joining the Peace Corps to carry out this step come January.

It would be a major transition for me and I just don’t know if this would serve me more than staying where I am now, or making a completely different move altogether. I know you would give wonderful advice to help me gain some clarity.

I’ve been a big fan of yours recently.  I can’t help but think you said that you posed nude a few times in one of your blog posts before.

I was wondering if there was any way to see those shots?

If not, sorry for asking.  Just being frank, something I wouldn’t mind seeing.

I am ENFP according to personality tests, ADHD according to psychotherapy, and 26 according to the calendar. I have been doing account management type work for the past couple of years, which admittedly was a terrible idea as details, timelines, and keeping track of projects are all things I, as an ENFP, am inherently terrible at and also make me feel like my soul is being sucked away. I also have had a number of issues with several bosses because I don’t fall in line with their demands just because “the boss said so” or because “this is the way we do things around here,” which has resulted in some, ahem, parting of ways (i.e. kicks to the curb).

I think eventually I’ll need to work for myself, but creating some kind of freelance career right now while working from home sounds so boring and lonely, not to mention less financially solvent. Brooklyn is expensive! I want to start solidifying my career because I know I want kids (at least five years down the road) and I want to have the flexibility to be with them, but I feel like I’m not gaining any traction in my career because so far, my job description has been at odds with who I am.

Here are my current thoughts and I’m interested to here which, if any, you think would be my best bet.

1. Find a new job that is more people-oriented and focused on big ideas rather than details (and where I work for a boss that I can respect)  – I’m considering Sales because it’s with people or content writing because I can write

2. Go back to school to get my MSW and become a therapist – it’s people-oriented, flexible, and I think it’s meaningful work with a purpose

3. Go on ADHD medication so I can fit into the box at work and theoretically be more successful

Thanks!

Apologies for the super long post, but I started writing and had to get it all out. Your post about Leaving your options open sets you back  really resonated with me and I recognise that that’s where I am but at the same time seem utterly incapacitated to do anything about it.

So I am a classic case of having a well progressing career that is suddenly turned upside-down by having kids. Back when I had the career coaching with you was when I was first trying to make sense of what to do. As a result of that I tried new things like the start-up with Claudia, where we failed fast and I learnt a ton. Then exploring options with the tech camps which looked more promising but then (with your coaching advice) I was able to evaluate that the marketing & PR wasn’t all I thought it was cracked up to be. In between doing this I think I was taking every class of yours I could afford:dream job, freelancing, blogging, negotiating, etc.

So with money becoming an issue again, I went back to focussing on my main work which is running an open-source software consultancy with my (INTJ) husband. With what I had learnt I was able to see that we needed to do more marketing. So I started blogging, albeit still sporadically. And I started going to the industry conferences, and I think I shared with you how the blogging course helped me write a great article which I turned into a talk which got early-bird acceptance at two of the conferences I submitted it too. And then like magic, companies, big big companies doing really interesting work started coming up to me to ask us to do work for them.

So now we have our choice of great work coming in, working side-by-side with great people at big & small companies, operating as freelancers where we can notionally control how much we do and still balance out with spending time with the kids. And it’s absurd that it sounds so perfect on paper, and it should be, but it isn’t in reality.

I have been killing myself over the last year to be a good mother, figure out my parenting style, take my business to new heights and deal with medical emergencies and deaths in the family. More recently I’ve had to add couples therapy to the list because the marriage part has been one of the parts that has suffered. So now I know I need to cut back but already seem too exhausted and don’t trust I have the perspective to make the right decisions. My husband who I normally rely on for helping make these decisions and is much more a black & white thinker like you is fed up with my inability to give things up and say no to people. I have been slowly and painfully getting better at saying no and getting rid of some clients/projects, but still have too many.

I was hoping you might have some clarity on the situation and see the bigger picture to help me focus on one goal. So far this is the list.

1. Focus on clients in the embedded space – this is our original speciality and where are backgrounds are perfect for but when the work seemed to dry up 5 years ago we lucked into the science sector. With the renewed marketing we are picking up 2-3 big new clients who are happy to pay us well for consulting. Also with the promise of the ‘internet of things’ this seems like an attractive space (although noisy) space to stay in. I want to grow and hire some people, but my husband thinks it is not worthwhile in the short term. It feels like a chicken&egg.

2. Focus on Science – we have been working for 5yrs with a big scientific facility in this space and now things are growing. We decided to become founding members of an open source science working group and have a bit of technology we wrote for the science company which they are happy for us to package and sell services to other companies. Ironically with that technology we are attracting companies in embedded space. We don’t have the phd credentials for the science space but I do have a friend who does who I might be able to bring on board. The work is very cool and looks like it will have added bonuses of getting to visit some great facilities.

3. Hardware product – then I have a good friend who came up with a little bit of hardware, ran a couple of kickstarters and got it initially funded. The product is great, with some fanastic usps but he completely lacks any marketing or a business plan. I am the one-eyed leading the blind but I feel like it has massive potential either in the education space or even as part of a low-power solution for industry. I feel like a product will always have more potential than consulting – is this even true and does it matter? I do talks about the technology and have set up a project at a school next year to get it in front of kids to try it out, but again haven’t made any progress because I am not committing. I like this option when I imagine it works well in the future for spending time with my son who is such an engineer already.

4. Other?? Focus on a personal brand – so if you ask me what I really love to do it is problem solving and personal development.

If I try to imagine what I want in 5 years I could see it being something like heading up an open source foundation or some random foundation. And then I think well if I want to do that I need to build a brand and I should be spending time blogging to build that up. And ever since I did your How to Write About Your Life course I have been haunted by the idea of writing a personal dev blog disguised as a tech blog. So then I spend time here and there trying to write stories.

OK so now writing this all down I don’t feel I’ve done it justice – I see so many little nuances and things to over-explain. I feel like I don’t know what’s involved for each path and how it will fit in with my family life so how can I decide. So do you think a coaching call would be the right way to go, or is the answer blindingly obvious to you? BTW, I am enjoying the pitching seminar (just watched day 1 so far) but I can’t help but feel it is another thing I am doing that I should not be because I haven’t made any proper commitments and so I am stressed, anxious and exhausted while I have to force myself daily to meet the commitments I have already made.

I just read your article “How to Build a Career As An Artist”. I found the article helpful but I was hoping for a little more advice. I feel like every thing in our society is career driven.

Since I got my Associates in Arts in 2012 I have been working and saving so I can move out of my mother’s house and continue my education in an art school in California (I had the intention of being a prop maker). But now I’m 24 I have no idea what I want to do, and I am fearful of pouring a bunch of money into a school for a career that is always described as so inconstant.

I am creative and I love to make art in many mediums but like the Bruce Lee quote I feel “crammed and distorted by the classical mess.” Every one I speak to asks me what job do I want but really I cant answer that I just want to create. I don’t care if its alone or in a team or what environment it is specifically. It doesn’t have to be prop making or costume design or painting I’ll be happy as long as I’m creating and working with my hands and not at a desk all day.
Any advice or suggestions would be great. I’m just feeling very frazzled and conflicted and thought you could help.