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Is it a Reason or an Excuse?


excuseIf your child is hurt, what’s the first thing you do? You drop everything and make your child the first priority. You do this in other situations too. Try to imagine your career transition as a priority of the same magnitude. It’s not about not having the time; it’s about making the time. It’s too easy to push it to the side.  Of course, there’s a difference between a reason and an excuse. The former is a legitimate demand on you or your time. Maybe you just started a new job and need to see if it is a fit. Maybe you won’t be vested in the retirement fund in your company for another six months and it’s really worth waiting that out. Maybe there are other extenuating circumstances: your mate just had surgery, your parents are failing. Believe me, there are a multitude of good reasons to stay in your job a little longer if you need to.

Then there are the excuses. “I’ve got to sign up for the bowling league on the day I planned to work on my career.”  “I just had to see that concert.”  “I don’t want to give up two weeks’ vacation.” “I’ll do it tomorrow.”  Which makes me ask:  What day of the week is called “Tomorrow”? The point is when something is important to you – when it qualifies as urgent – you make the time.

Here’s another thought: At the end of your life, do you want to say that you tried and possibly failed or that you didn’t try at all?     

This helped me during my career transition; because I knew I would kick myself later if I didn’t at least look into coaching and try to start a business, even if I failed miserably. I couldn’t have lived with myself if I had copped out because of excuses.

Action step:

Make a chart in your journal with Reasons on the left side and Excuses on the right. Study each category seriously and decide what reasons you have for a legitimate postponement of your ideal career search and what reasons you have that are possibly stalling tactics.

Hallie Crawford is a certified career coach and founder of Her team of coaches helps people find their dream job and make it a reality. She is regularly featured as an expert in the media including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and US News & World Report. Visit her website at for more information about her teams career coaching services and to sign up for a complimentary consultation.

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