Career Transition: What Now?

Laid off after 25 years, this PTA was in dire need of a life change.

Life after your physical therapy career. What does that look like? Will you just retire or do something new? Have you given it any thought? When that day comes -- and it will come, either when you decide or someone decides for you -- what will you do? Or are you just burnt out but have no idea what to do next?

I know that feeling all too well. After 25 years in my physical therapy career, I found myself asking 'what now?' when I was laid off from my job. I asked myself many questions. Do I want to stay in the same profession? Was it time for a change? What would I do? Could I use my physical therapy skills in another profession? I had no idea which direction to go in.

Taking a Different Path

A few weeks later a friend invited me to a business women's networking event. It was an opportunity to meet other women in business -- some going through transitions like me -- and basically to see what else existed beyond the world of rehabilitation.

I was very impressed with the organization, enjoyed meeting very successful women, and felt that this was a potential introduction to my next career adventure. The founder of the organization was touring and spoke that day promoting the annual upcoming conference. I was very impressed, joined the organization, and signed up to go to the conference.

Networking events, social groups, and special interest clubs are a great resource to use as you're searching for a change. It's important to build relationships with like-minded people who can relate to what you're looking for.

I spent hours wondering what would be presented to me as possibilities for a new career. I was on my discovery journey and very open minded. Not only did I consider all my PT skills, but also all the other life skills I developed over the years. I felt I had a lot to offer but was not clear how it would all come together. I definitely wanted to do something I was passionate about and that fulfilled my purpose.

You'll find it very helpful when you write down all the interests, hobbies, skills, etc. that you have in order to get a clear idea of your passion. Don't hold back. Whatever ideas come to mind just let it flow without thinking about it. You'll be very surprised what the subconscious mind brings to the forefront.

Life Coaching

One day a friend from my new networking group said I'd make a great life coach. At the time I felt so depleted. I said I was tired of taking care of people. That may sound harsh, but I had been caring for my mother for a few years at home before she had to move into a health care facility, plus I was working full time. A few weeks after she had passed away I was laid off from my job.

I had to step back and get a new perspective on my life. First of all, I felt I needed to reclaim myself. I was drained. As a health care provider and an adult child caring for an aging parent, I had little energy left for me at the end of the day. Maintaining balance in my life was extremely challenging. Most of the time I felt out of sync, but just kept going through the motions day in and day out. I realized how crucial it was to have a support system. My closest friends were able to be more objective than I could be with myself.

The first day of my newfound freedom, I sat quietly on my porch glider having my coffee. I watched the birds at the feeders, the deer grazing in the field, and the horses roaming around the pasture. This was the starting point of my personal reclamation. The feeling was euphoric, uncertain and exciting. The peace I felt was deafening. I had been going nonstop for so long. Does that resonate with you as well?

At the conference I had the opportunity to learn about the coaching profession. I had a session with a transitional life coach who, in a brief encounter, opened the door and showed me the invaluable benefits of coaching. I knew I needed coaching to guide me through to the next chapter of my life.

I attended a presentation about coaching and made my decision. Coaching would be my new profession. What a perfect fit; after all, I was in essence coaching people throughout my entire physical therapy career. Whether you decide to become a coach or not, a coach most certainly will provide you with necessary tools to take you where you want to go.

The Next Phase of your Life

Removing any doubts, fears or self-limiting beliefs you have is imperative to getting you on the path of the next phase of your life. If you don't remove the blocks holding you back, you'll most likely struggle, feel more frustrated than you already are, and throw your hands in the air, saying 'this doesn't work.' Once you become clear how those blocks impact your life, you'll do whatever it takes to remove them. A coach will help you develop strategies for the outcomes you desire, and help you become clear and specific as you move forward.

My coaching profession gives me a newfound passion and purpose. As a coach, my purpose is to motivate, inspire and assist you with your transformation in finding your purpose and passion to live the life of your dreams.

Through a 3-step process I will help you to reclaim the person you were meant to be, restore the values and qualities that are uniquely you, and show you how your life revitalized will open up the untapped possibilities for a life of your dreams.

Start today, take your next step, and together we will clearly identify what you really want in the next stage of your life.

Jo Lyn Unangst is a Certified Dream Coach®, a PTA, and an artist in Pennsylvania. Visit www.jldreamnavigator.com.


Inspiring story.After being in this profesion for so many years it is time to seek other avenues to put my experiences to work.I feel I have a lot to offer and I am very interested in becoming a LC.

myriam costa,  PTANovember 24, 2012
davenport, FL

What a timely and interesting article for me. Thanks so much for sharing your story Jo Lyn. A close friend of mine has her"LC" (life coach) license but still practices as an SLP full time(not sure how much time she has to do both)! Anyway, you've inspired me to ask her again about her work. thanks again.

liz mooreNovember 17, 2012


Email: *

Email, first name, comment and security code are required fields; all other fields are optional. With the exception of email, any information you provide will be displayed with your comment.

First * Last
Title Field Facility
City State

Comments: *
To prevent comment spam, please type the code you see below into the code field before submitting your comment. If you cannot read the numbers in the below image, reload the page to generate a new one.

Enter the security code below: *

Fields marked with an * are required.


Back to Top

© 2017 Merion Matters

660 American Avenue Suite 300, King of Prussia PA 19406