Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Discovering Your Next Career Path by Timothy Butler

, 8 Aug 2018

 In Getting Unstuck, Butler --a social scientist, psychotherapist and career counsellor-- provides a Jungian-derived practical career counselling  book to face personal upheaval, dramatic changes and periods of 'impasse' in which you suffer an existential and professional crisis. 

THE FIRST PART is a reflection of how impasse works, what shows up, and why you are stuck. Crisis shows you that your familiar models of being and working aren't working, and force you to stop, ponder, and learn new ways to move on and move in a better direction. You need to accept the impasse and the darkness it brings as a pre-requisite to positive change; sometimes it's the step needed to lead you to a more fulfilling life and career and to psychological growth. You have to let go of  your hold to the past (distorted self-images, ego's love for familiarity, fear, family pressure, personal demons, selves left behind) and learn to recognise the nasty voices that show up when things don't go well (the inner critic), and give up mental models that do not work for you any more. 

THE SECOND PART is an exploration of your personality traits because personality structure relates to job choices and career satisfaction. The system works on three levels: figuring out what your deepest interests are, learning to be guided by your passions, and figuring out what drives you, power, people or achievement. The 100-job exercise is designed to bring up those natural skills, passions, values and characteristics that are personal to you, to move you into the right direction.

THE THIRD PART is a put-all-together sort of chapter to help you in decision making and get unstuck to find a life path and career that are satisfying, exciting and sustainable. 


>  Butler uses a Jungian approach to crisis (he uses archetypal classification, shadow work, creative imagination, and ancestors/parental projection), mixed with mindfulness, and his own original scientific system created to circumvent your insistence on certain career paths and orientations that don't work for you any longer. The system helps you to unveil hidden dormant talents and passions that are part of who you really are  but you don't normally use or are aware you have.
> Butler asks you to stop and ponder on different questions, to answer them to yourself. Some of  them are really good and will make things clear to you about your conditioning, aims, and whether a job is really good for you or not.  
> The advice and strategies suggested to defeat your inner critic when it appears at your weakest darkest hour is really good. 
> One of the statements that resonated the most with me, and I think one of the most important nuggets to remember from the book, is this:
"Our perceptions—and preconceptions—of talent are too often intertwined with sense of self. “What are you good at?” all too easily slides into “What good are you? Of what value are you?” These are difficult waters to navigate, particularly treacherous at key life transitions when we are most tempted to play judge when assessing our own accomplishments." (locs 1671-1673)
> The archetypal classification in types, which links certain patterns of behaviour, personality traits and interests create excellent psychological-professional profiles, which I personally found very useful and relatable. The archetypes are: the engineer, the number cruncher, the professor, the artist, the coach, the team leader, the boss, the persuader, the action hero, and the organizer.
> Appendix A is a good commented bibliography, something that is rare to find nowadays and, therefore, something I really appreciate.
> Appendix B, contains an important brief reflection about the differences between clinical depression and impasse depressive moods.
> Appendix C has the scoring for the 100-job system, and puts together each profession with one of the archetypal patterns. Table 3-1, "Recognising the Pattern" is also very good and clear to understand how certain thinks link together.


The model used to figure out things is based on the 100-profession exercise, on which results other exercises build on. A great an original well-thought system, which I think will be great to work on with Butler as a counsellor, but, as it is presented in the book, it is not always clear, especially the part about working with imagery and dynamic tension.You are supposed to find 10 professions that you might want to do if you were able to and there was no obstacle whatsoever; I had difficulty finding even 10 that I liked; this is so because most of the professions are non-artistic, non-Humanities, business and managerial jobs. Just say, I would love to be a hairdresser, or a tailor, or be a ballerina,  well, these professions aren't mentioned. 
> Introversion/extroversion aren't apparently part of the equation, and the system suffers because two people could have the same life interests,  passions  and talents, but their introspective or extrovert intrinsic nature would lead them through very different paths. Perhaps these two element are part of the system but, as an introvert, I found that it wasn't  that obvious.


> You have to wait to the end of the book, literally, for Butler to explain what he means by impasse. And when you get the definition, is not that clear, and not what most people picking this book for  thought it was, because, speaking for myself, this was supposed to be a career, job or life crisis book not about an existential crisis.
> The examples from real cases and people go forever, are uninteresting, and mostly based on business people and professionals to whom I could not relate.
> Butler's writing is not always polished and clear, and some paragraphs would have needed of a better editing or editor.
> One of the many examples Butler uses in the book is that of cyclist Lance Armstrong, obviously written before the cheating scandal broke up; this ages the book and is no longer valid as an example for anything.
> In Deep Dive 'Dimensions of Achievement', Butler asks the following question: "Imagine forward to one year from now. At the end of the next twelve months, what would make you feel that you have done 'real work' and made a genuine contribution?". Isn't that called science fiction? Most people picking up this book won't be able to answer this because they would be without a job or a career in a process of transition with no idea on what is happening to them. They are stuck, remember?
> Butler tells you what do with the dynamic tensions we unearth in the 100-profession exercise. And he says "not try to “solve” the tension. Just experience it. Ultimately, you must live the resolution, not think your way through" (locs 2160-2161). What is that supposed to mean, really?


> You already know your  talents, weaknesses and vocation and are still stuck. 
> You have lost your job at middle age and the job market is not welcoming or favourable to older fellows or just you even though you have great talents.
> Your gender, age or origin are a hurdle that you have jump over.
> You are professional, but managerial or business jobs aren't your thing.
> You are a Humanities person, not a Science of Business fellow.
> You don't know what to do next but have to pay your bills, so need something more practical because you don't have the time to existential munching over a pina colada.


> You have finished your University studies and are a bit lost, and don't know where to go or are unsure about two or more choices.
> You are gravitating around business and managerial professions.
> You need to figure out how to match your inner traits, personality, skills and passions to find a  satisfying career.
> You have the luxury of spare time, energy and money to stop and re-evaluate your career options, satisfaction, long term projection, etc 


A very good edition, with no typos on view and hyper-linked notes, but references to tables aren't. Some of the tables in the book, which are included in the Kindle edition, cannot be seen properly in full on android. Although arrows allow to move back and forward through the table, one cannot see it properly, which is a pity. They work well in Kindle for PC.

0 Response to "Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Discovering Your Next Career Path by Timothy Butler"

Post a Comment

Comments are Moderated

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.