I am certain I have written about this previously but, with 290 LinkedIn articles, I hope you will forgive me for not being able to find it and pardon me for repeating myself.
Many years ago a man had a unique problem. He owned a meeting venue. His best client was a woman who regularly filled his largest room, some 250 seats. This was a weekly lecture. It began at 11 AM and was scheduled to finish at Noon, but her audience, all women, stayed an extra 15-20 minutes to speak with her. It was just what any speaker would want and exactly what the owner wanted. Until…
One day a man came to him and said he wanted to rent his largest room on the same day that the previously mentioned woman was scheduled to speak. The man wanted to begin precisely at Noon. The owner explained to him that the room would be utilized until Noon and they agreed that his presentation would begin at 12:15.
Now the owner had to figure out a way to clear the room by Noon so he could have the rows of chairs straightened and the room cleaned, if necessary. If I remember correctly, he came to me for a solution and I asked a friend, more qualified than I, to join me. (He may have called my friend who invited me to join them. It was a long time ago so some details are fuzzy.) We went to his facility, saw the room, and then the three of us took a walk outside.
We noticed that across the street was an apartment building with retail stores on the ground floor, including a shoe store catering to women. One of us came up with an idea. We approached the owner of the shoe store and asked him if he would agree to have a 50% off sale, for one hour, on the day in question, starting at Noon and ending at 1:00. We said we would print no more than 250 coupons which we would place on the seats prior to the woman’s lecture.
Since the owner of the meeting facility would pay for the printing, the shoe store owner agreed. When the women entered the room and saw the coupons, that became the topic of discussion. For the first time ever, they started to leave the lecture before the speaker had finished. The room emptied out before Noon. The sale was a complete success. The store owner was thrilled and offered to do it again.
I remember, when the venue owner called to tell me that the gimmick actually worked, my friend and I had a good laugh. We could not understand the fascination women have with shoes. And we could not think of a male equivalent. Ties? Cuff links?
In any event, the connection between women and shoes has always remained in the back of my mind. On occasion, I have asked shoe store owners to explain it to me. Their answers were usually along the lines of “Women” in an exasperated tone of voice. Not at all helpful.
As my regular readers know, I have lately been reading Freud. During his tenth lecture on dreams, “Symbolism in the Dream, ” in Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, he stated that “the shoe or slipper is a female genital” (emphasis in original). That got me thinking that perhaps women have a subconscious need for shoes. For some reason, this got me thinking about people who want to change careers.
I am sure everyone has heard that in sports the general advice is to think it, visualize it, and then do it. Think about throwing a strike. Picture it sailing over home plate. Then you will throw a strike. Think about hitting an ace in tennis. Picture your swing and impacting the ball. Then you will hit an ace, a ball your opponent cannot return. I advise clients to imagine their upcoming job interview and play it out. Then, in the actual interview, they are usually calm and confident because they have rehearsed different scenarios either with me, a friend, or simply in their heads.
So why not the same with changing careers and literally finding your dream job? Dreams, according to Freud, are expressions of our wishes (“wish fulfillment” to be precise). We dream what we want. (Nightmares are what we fear). And it does not matter if it is a day dream or a sleeping (night) dream, we dream what we want.
When a career counseling client comes to me to discuss changing careers, I always ask about their day dreams. Based purely on personal experience, I know that is a key to what a person truly wants. I had no idea that psychiatry was supporting me and I never bothered (My bad!) to find out. Apparently, I was right. (It’s rare, but it does happen!)
So, since your dreams tell you what you want, if you are thinking about changing careers but don’t know what to do, think about changing careers before you go to sleep and perhaps your subconscious will let you know. Or, if while doing your job you find yourself day dreaming about something else, you may already have your answer. (As for what the items in your dreams mean, that’s above my pay grade! I would not hazard to guess.)
One word of warning: Many times people do not actually want to change careers, they only think they do. They like their colleagues. They like their boss. They like their clients/customers. What they want is a change of responsibilities, something new. In those cases, we work out a written proposal to the employer to expand the person’s duties. Everyone is happy. The boss keeps a loyal employee and the employee keeps working with people they like while making their dream come true.