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The Wings International Network 2008 Women’s Expo will take place on March 2 in Quincy. From left are Susan McIntosh, life coach; vendor Louise Alibrandi of The Face Place in Hanover; and Norma Sellier, founder of the Wings organization and Expo host. Photo by Gary Higgins

You’re unhappy with your current job and yet you haven’t done a thing to look for a new one.

Maybe you complain to friends and family members about work all the time, and yet there you are, frozen, unsure how to move forward.

You are, quite simply, stuck.

Life coach Susan McIntosh works with people - many of them entrepreneurial women - who aren’t satisfied with their work, yet need help figuring out what to do next and the steps necessary to get there. McIntosh has devised a plan she calls “On Your Way in 90 Days” - and although she doesn’t promise you’ll be in a fabulous new job in three months, McIntosh does help you figure out what you want, provide a structured plan for making a change, and walk you through at least part of that plan, giving you a head start toward your end goal.

McIntosh, 39, of Winchester, will discuss her “On Your Way in 90 Days” program at the Wings International Network 2008 Women’s Expo March 2 at the Marriott Hotel in Quincy.

McIntosh, who is managing director of eWomenNetwork - an organization in which entrepreneurial women can network and do business with one another - said women sometimes need help devising a career plan that suits them. She has a deep understanding for clients who work hard to get to a career, only to find when they are successful that they are not exactly loving life.

McIntosh herself has been there. She used to work in sales for high-tech companies, and before that she worked as a lawyer for a domestic violence shelter. She said working as an attorney never suited her, and although she loved sales, the company she worked for got acquired. So she began working on her own and has now created a satisfying career out of coaching people as well as consulting with small businesses to help them execute certain plans, such as specific sales goals.

“I feel very fortunate because I love what I do,” she said.

In working with clients to help them make career changes - whether it’s looking for a new job after a layoff or switching careers altogether - McIntosh asks open-ended questions to help get people thinking about what they want. Often times people end up realizing they don’t want what they thought they did. A woman might say, for instance, that she wants to grow her business, but she later realizes she doesn’t want to add a lot more hours to her plate. So while she works on growing her business, she also needs to spend time reframing her role so she is not doing it all on her own.

“I want to help people find a place and a fit that works best,” McIntosh said. “You have to look at not only how much do you want to make, but how far will you commute, what do you want your boss to look like, are flexible hours important? If you look at past jobs, what did you love about them? If you’ve got three children and elderly parents you’re taking care of, we need to find a job that fits, and that may not be a job where you’re on call 24/7. Or sometimes people think they want to be entrepreneurs, but they’re risk-averse. Some people want a job where they can leave at 5, but then they’re probably not going to be vice president of sales.”

McIntosh said people can benefit from talking to an objective coach to help define exactly what kind of job to seek.

“If you’re in your own head having a conversation with yourself, sometimes you can’t move forward, but when you say the words and have a dialogue with (a coach), the words are no longer holding you back,” she said. “My goal is to help people comb through these pieces and sort through the dialogue in their heads.”

After defining what they want, McIntosh helps clients develop a plan for getting there, encouraging people to work backward from their goal.

“If you focus on where you are today, it can sometimes feel like it’s a million miles away. But starting at the end and working toward the beginning, you stay focused and inspired.”

McIntosh said it is helpful to give people strict deadlines. “What I found is when you give people unlimited time, they take unlimited time,” she said.

McIntosh then directs clients to build a “success team,” people they can call for help when they are stuck, people who will be helpful sounding boards. And as clients check off tasks on their to-do lists - whether it’s restructuring a resume or reaching out to 10 contacts in a week - they need to reward themselves, even in small ways. “It might be making a cup of tea and reading a book for half an hour,” she said. “You need to reward yourself so you stay motivated and move forward.”

In the end, the hope is that all the hard work will pay off in greater fulfillment.

“My only interest is that people find a way to be happy in their lives,” McIntosh said.

By Dina Gerdeman, dgerdeman@ledger.com.