If you’re at work reading this, it’s possible that you spend a lot of time looking out at the window, wondering if there’s something else out there that you were REALLY meant to be doing. Marissa Nordstrom encounters this a lot in her work as a “career concierge,” and her message to both those she works with and those who attended CAREER SHIFT on March 31st is the same: “The more centered and grounded and confident you feel, then you can go into a job search with the idea of, I want to co-create my life. I’m not looking for this job to solve everything for me.” However, it does take some work to get there, and in CAREER SHIFT, Nordstrom talks about the work she needed to do on herself to get there, and how she assists others in getting there as well.
Considering her penchant for merging personal and professional goals for her clients, it’s not surprising that her own career path was shaped by personal tragedy. While manager of a crisis helpline at Presbyterian Hospital Services in New Mexico, Marissa was married to a clinically depressed husband who obsessed over his inability to get ahead at work. After they divorced, her ex-husband’s mental health cratered, culminating in a tragic suicide. Called upon to execute his estate, Nordstrom left the cancer center and slowly began to reorder her life in keeping with the hard lessons her ordeal taught her.
In particular, Nordstrom singles out the injustice and structural inequities which she feels contributed in part to her husband’s feelings of inadequacy — the need to perform and succeed being paramount amongst them. Brian mentions his own experience with this in recovery, and how his own lack of purpose-led him down the road to perdition. Nordstrom chalks this up to an inability of most people to really state clearly what they are feeling and to listen to their own intuition. Much of the work she does as a career concierge, she explains, involves deep dives into her clients’ motivations and desires to create a “specialized package” directly tailored to the client’s passions. For Marissa, the job and the passion do not have to occupy separate lanes; in fact, it’s preferable if they don’t. She urges people to think of work and life as a practice, similar to yoga or medicine, that improves a person’s outlook and enhances their abilities as they continue to work at it.
The work of course, can fuel and correspond directly with anybody’s desire to have a greater social impact. In particular, Marissa talked about her work with Dress for Success, which provides wardrobes for indigent and houseless individuals who are looking for work. She summarizes her mission with a quote from Eric Clapton, “I’m responsible for creating my life. I’m responsible for confronting my fears.” Putting her clients in the drivers’ seat and giving them the tools they need to to start consciously navigating their lives is what she excels at, and what connects her vision of professional sovereignty with our mission of health sovereignty. We’re glad that we got a chance to collaborate with her.
Career Shift Full Video: https://youtu.be/KODHVY-Rjq4