Career Choices…. Minefields and Opportunities- Time to think.

In the last two weeks I have separately spoken to five different coachees all of whom are in a period of career transition. For each of them it is a profound life moment with direction uncertain and unpredictable, exciting and frightening in equal measure. In each case the motivation is different, the desire to change is different. One is fully ‘stuck’. The second striving onwards and upwards at pace – a rising star.   The third in a position of forced changed due to external factors -“a burning platform”. Whilst the fourth simply unhappy in work which is impacting wider life -a slower burning platform but on fire nonetheless. Finally,  the fifth heading into retirement -potentially a significant transition with a unnecessary feeling of finality.  

Whilst the context and actions will be different there is great commonality too.

In all five cases the change will involve a loss – as all change involves the loss of something- even if the transition is to something better. There are a wider range of options open to them than they might initially think. Each requires a period of reflection and introspection to get the optimum choice. In all cases the execution of the career strategy needs support and clear action.

So, if you are in this situation or heading towards it how might you begin o approach this challenge?

Initially it might be prudent to go back to basics and explore your values through a series of questions. Grab a pen and notebook and begin to form ideas through quiet reflection.

After this a personal inventory of skills and qualities might help achieve two things. Firstly, it gives a checklist to hold up against future jobs. Secondly, it reaffirms what you are really good at! This is always nice to hear.

The third reflection is letting your imagination run a while…

Fourth is to spend time looking at your sector market and adjacent markets. Try and capture all the opportunities that you can think of. Then ask friends or a coach to help you add more. You’ll notice there are more options than you think.

A final reflection point is that careers are not linear, nor are they fixed. Thus, take pressure out of the choice by allowing yourself to realise it’s not a permanent choice- just one for now. The world is abundant with choices and increasing flexibilities due to geography, technology, business models, changing demography and employment law. Explore them all. Get a coach…then move to the final phase which is action…………

1. My long/short term career goal is……

2. I will achieve this by ……

3. The following actions will help me achieve my goals:

4. What might get in the way? What will help? Who do I need to talk to?

Careers are complex and occasionally ‘messy’. Choices always feel ‘big’ and can create significant latent psychological strain. Career planning is challenging to do alone but with this guide you can make a reflective start to explore options. If you get stuck.. then book in a coaching call and we’ll do it together. Best of luck with wherever you next choose to take your unique strengths, energy and talents.