Humanitarians: What if your desire for a professional change was hiding something else?

What if you desire for a professional change was hiding something else? Are you currently asking yourself a thousand questions about your life and your work as a humanitarian? Maybe you think that you no longer want to sacrifice your personal and/or family life for this job. Have you come to think that you should leave the humanitarian sector and this expatriate life to finally find a better life balance?

Maybe you’ve come to the realization that your work is taking up all your space, with long hours and a full commitment! You have no real time for hobbies, interests, or passions. You have too little time for your family and friends back home! Maybe you haven’t managed to build a solid relationship or create the family you dreamed of as a child… and you’ve come to blame your life as a humanitarian for making life outside work impossible!


What if you’re thinking about it the wrong way?

And yet! I’d like to ask you, quite frankly, if it’s possible that the (very real) challenges of your life as a humanitarian are not necessarily the real causes of your current situation?

Could it be that it’s not so much your work that needs to be reconsidered, but rather your way of being inside and outside your professional sphere?

I know, it stings! But does it speak to you?

Stay with me and be open to this reflection: deep down, are you telling yourself that yes, maybe changes need to be made elsewhere: in the way you take care of your energy, in the investment you give to your work, in the place you offer to your personal life, in the space you reserve for building a life as a couple?


What if your desire for a professional change was hiding something else?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions because the desire for a professional change can sometimes hide something else entirely! It’s possible that a desire for change in one area of your life is the result of dissatisfaction in another.

As Dr. Christophe FaurĂ© says: “Make sure that your desire for change in an area of your life that is frustrating doesn’t inappropriately (and often unconsciously) shift to your professional activity. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change anything in this area, but it may not be where you should focus your efforts to make your life happier. You run the risk of making a superficial change on the professional front, when in fact it’s nothing more than a move to avoid the real situation, which deserves a change. So don’t pick the wrong target and take time to reflect: the change you’re looking for may not be where you think it is.”

Is it possible that right now, you’re a little disconnected from yourself, your needs, your desires, your values? Maybe what you think you want isn’t what you really want? Maybe you’re focusing your attention on the wrong place?

So how do you find out?

By taking a step back from your life as a humanitarian! After years in the field, it’s normal for you to have your head in the sand a little too much and end up asking yourself a thousand questions about this atypical life. Working in the humanitarian field isn’t just about donning a new professional identity. It’s much more than that!


What it means to “work in the humanitarian sector.”

Working in the humanitarian sector, particularly abroad in the field, means adopting a way of life that’s completely out of the ordinary, with 3 major consequences on your life:

  • Work takes up a huge part of your life (and of your very identity), because it’s not just a job, but a commitment to people in emergency situations and who are particularly vulnerable.
  • The line between personal and professional life is a fine one, and difficult to enforce when you live with your colleagues, when you work in contexts with no opportunity for leisure, when you’re confined to a safety zone.
  • A gap develops between your life and that of your loved ones staying home. The realities of your life as a humanitarian are so out of the ordinary that they cut you off from the rest of the world, and from those of your family and friends back home! While you’re on a mission in the field, your friends are out enjoying themselves, catching up on the latest film releases, meeting the love of their lives, getting married and having children! This creates a big gap that can sometimes put pressure on you to conform to others, to fit into the mold… a mold that doesn’t necessarily fit you, or not totally!


The solution is not necessarily to leave the humanitarian sector.

So, it’s only natural that, over time, you come to question your life, your work, and your commitment as a humanitarian! However, as I often see with the humanitarians I accompany, the solution is not always to leave the sector!

I’m often approached by humanitarians who start by telling me that they absolutely want to leave this sector so that they can finally return to a “normal” life! They see it as the only solution to their situation! And sometimes, yes, this is indeed what they need! However, it’s not always the case – on the contrary, it’s just as often the case that, in the end, they don’t leave this sector, but rather choose to create changes, big or small, in several areas of their lives, not just the professional.


Clarify the changes you need to make in ALL areas of your life.

Maybe this is what you need?

To clarify concretely what kind of changes need to implement in your current job, in your personal life, for your health, to regain your energy and motivation, for your personal and professional development, for your relationships with family and friends, in your leisure activities, financially, in terms of the environment, etc.

This is what we work on with the humanitarians I accompany: clearly identifying what they need in EVERY area of their lives! It’s this holistic approach to their lives as humanitarians that enables them to concretely identify the changes they really need.

Does this resonate with you? Could your professional frustrations be influencing other areas of your life?

Would you like to discuss this with me? Contact me for a free session here.

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