By Betty Punkert, Employment Facilitator/Computer Instructor
Reinventing yourself can be hard. Changing careers (or even figuring out what you want to be) can be a real struggle for people. Many times, my clients are overwhelmed with possibility and feel paralyzed, unsure of which direction to go. I’m not a career counsellor, but I’ve found a few really simple questions you can ask yourself when you’re assessing a career to get the options down to a manageable size:
1) Can I make progress on this career goal in a year or less?
Is there a goal or two that you can make some progress on in the next year? Can you sign up for a class or some volunteer work? Can you do some research to either confirm or eliminate it? When all of our goals are ten to twenty years away, that is too fuzzy to really get your brain around. Tony Robbins says, “Most people overestimate what they’re going to do in a year, and they underestimate what they can do in a decade”. So let’s figure out the first baby steps. Visualization without realization is hallucination (or: a goal without a deadline is a daydream).
2) Is this a goal that current me has, or is it a goal past me has that I’m hanging on to?
I took an amazing workshop at the Canadian Mental Health Association a year ago. This was one of the key questions they asked when we did goal setting exercises. Ouch! We all have goals youthful us had. Maybe yours were impractical like mine (I wanted to be a jockey for a while, then I wanted to be Connie Chung) and maybe not. But, sometimes when our past self goals show up in our career plan, we have to really ask ourselves if this is still something that is relevant to us, or are we clutching it because we don’t want to feel like we failed past us?
3) Are you willing to pay the price?
Every choice has a consequence. Every goal has a price. That price may not be financial. Maybe you will have to pay a lot of money for schooling. Maybe you will have to move to an unfamiliar city. Maybe you will have to do a ridiculous amount of unpaid work to build your reputation or your brand. Sometimes when we really think about what that career choice will mean, we find that we’re not willing to pay the price. That’s NOT a bad thing, by the way; better to know now than to get halfway through an expensive degree, or resenting the hundreds of hours of volunteer work. Own it and let it go.
None of these questions are easy. But, if you’re honest with yourself, they’ll help you narrow down your options to some items that you can make real headway on. As I often remind clients, you have two legs and five or six stools, so how are you going to stand on them all? We can’t pursue everything (that’s exhausting), so it’s important to be sure we’re really committed to exploring two or three things.
If you need to make a change in your career or you feel like you’re stuck in your current job, think about taking our Career Exploration workshop. We’ll assess your values, skills, and attributes, and help you brainstorm some ideas of careers that fit who you are right now. We won’t tell you what to do next, that’s up to you, but the first step in effective sales is to know the product; and really, what is job search but selling yourself to a potential employer? Call our Reception Desk at 204-989-6503 for more information, or to register.