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Sorting It Out

Early Career Blues - look before you leap!

There's a certain point when a 'bad day at work' starts to become more than that. After a while you look back and finally admit it - this isn't going to get any better. You're over-worked, burned-out, disillusioned, stressed or bored to tears. It's a crazy corporate culture and you just don't fit. Your inner voice is screaming 'get out' ... but it's not just a summer job. This is the career you've dreamed of and worked for. Meet Patti and Gus.

Quiet, resourceful and naturally optimistic, Patti became an addiction counselor because she 'knew she could make a difference'. She was elated when her internship at an agency evolved into a counseling job in substance abuse.

Year one was a roller coaster - overwhelming, emotionally draining and rewarding all at once. As her confidence grew, Patti began to question and offer suggestions for improvement. She was shocked when her ideas were dismissed and she found herself facing a bureaucracy focused on cutbacks and survival.

For Patti it's a fundamental clash of values and ethics. She's disillusioned, depressed and finding it hard to go on. If this is counseling, she wants out.

At 25 Gus is a top producer for his pharmaceutical sales team. With a degree in chemistry and an easy way with people, he was recruited right out of college and hasn't looked back until now. He's enjoyed the people, the opportunity for growth, the travel and especially the bonuses and perks.

Last year everything changed - a corporate restructuring, a new area manager with ideas on 'improvement' ... and, just as Gus was starting to enjoy the territory he'd slaved to develop, he was reassigned a new one. It's not fun anymore and Gus is miserable. He's considered moving companies but he's worried the whole sector is moving in the same direction.

Patti and Gus are not alone with their 'early career blues'. Young professionals have always experienced an initial 'reality check' as they transition into the work world. They fully expect they'll have to 'pay their dues' but soon after, they're looking for a sense of appreciation and belonging.

When things get worse instead of better, it's a jolt. You start to panic, question your career choice ... even your abilities. With emotions running high, your decisions are sometimes impulsive and extreme. You just want to chuck it all and find something else before it's too late.

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