The Career Doctor™
by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez
Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers?
Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist
specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of
your own, use our anonymous form, and she
might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here.
Contact information is here.
I FEEL LIKE A FAILURE
Dear Career Doctor:
I am in my fifties and have my own business. It pays the mortgage and has supported me,
my wife and my two kids. I am not unhappy with the work I do, it's just that almost
everyone else I know seems to have a lot more money than I do. They go on interesting
vacations, or they have a second home. I'll be lucky if I can just pay for my kids'
college tuition and scrape together a little extra so I don't have to work until I am
ninety. I am better off than my brother and sister who live in other parts of the country,
but I feel like a failure here. You probably can't help me. Don't suggest I move because
my business isn't the kind that can move.
I hear this complaint a lot in my office - many people feel like failures because there
is so much financial pressure living in Westchester. Westchester has more people per
capita earning over $100,000 per year than any place else in the country. So, if you
live here, it is easy to feel "poor" or "a failure" even if your income is higher than
that of 99% of the people in the world.
I have three suggestions: First, be proud of what you do. Running your own business -
especially one that supports a home and family - is quite an accomplishment.
Second: Try to be creative about ways to grow your business and make it more profitable.
You may want to invite some other small business owners to start a support group with you
so that you can generate business growth ideas for each other. (I find that people who
have been doing the same thing for a long time get a bit stale when it comes to generating
new or creative ideas for themselves or their businesses.)
Third: Try to adopt a broader definition of success that focuses on more than just money.
I like Ralph Waldo Emerson's definition of success: "To laugh often and much; to win the
respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of
honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to find the best in others; to
leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed
social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
That is to have succeeded. "
The Career Doctor
The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont
psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.
Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.