“How can I become confident about re-entering the work force as a professional after being out of it for three years? I can’t decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. It’s nice to have choices, which I do, but they overwhelm me …. which direction do I choose?” ~Anonymous Reader Question
Do you feel like you are drowning in a sea of too many career options? You want to find an island to inhabit – your spot among the sea of career possibilities.
When I’m overwhelmed by a wide-open question, it helps me to break up the vast sea of options with smaller net-size questions.
5 Questions to Clarify Your Career Path:
Answer the questions that are swimming at your feet and narrow your career options.
- What are your strengths? List your natural talents. Examples: empathy, listening, drawing, researching, organizing, etc.
- What skills do you possess? Or what skills are you willing to learn? Examples: computer programs, web design, public speaking, written communication, carpentry, etc.
- What are your interests? Identify topics that you would love to read or talk about all night. It may be how you would like to do your part in making the world a better place.
- What work environments do you prefer? Identify what working conditions you prefer: standing or sitting? variety or repetitive? people or tasks? outdoor or office? self-employed or employee?
- What careers would be a good fit for you? Look for ways that your strengths, skills, and interests intersect with possible work environments. At this intersection, lies a handful of careers that are the best match for you.
Here’s how my answers to these questions intersect to shine light on my career path. My strengths are empathic listening and research with skills in written and oral communication. I am interested in coaching others to reach their goals, and I prefer to work with people, on a variety of topics, and be my own boss. Thus, my career goal (since I was 18-years old) has been to become a self-employed psychotherapist.
4 Career Search Resources:
I’ve discovered I’m a rarity and most most people don’t have laser sharp focus on their career path. And many change their mind after riding a few waves in their originally chosen field.
Here are a few resources to help you clarify, focus, and narrow down the career path of your dreams (and for this season of your life):
- Discover Your Passion: A comprehensive, step-by-step guide designed to help you uncover your passion and live a purposeful life. 116 page workbook for self-discovery and focused action, covering personality types, skills, values, roadblocks, and making your own road map.
- Work Personality Inventory: A simple career inventory developed by John Holland. Based on his research and classification system of work environments, the inventory suggests college majors and career paths that fit your work personality.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: A research tool for exploring career options developed by the U.S. Department of Labor. The OOH reports and projects salary, working conditions, related fields, and education needed. It is available online and in most library reference sections.
- Career Counselors: Most community colleges and universities have career centers where you can take career inventories and exploration classes. You can also meet with a career counselor to discuss your results.
Make a Decision with Confidence:
Ultimately, you have the freedom to choose what works best for you and your season of life. Remember there is no wrong decision, only your best decision.
What’s helps you make decisions? Or, what keeps you stuck? If you are still stuck after answering the questions swimming around your feet, consider consulting a career coach or individual counselor. You can be the master of your sea of possibilities.
What helps you find direction and focus as you ride the waves of your career path?
Telephone Consultations available soon for those looking for more interactive approach to answering life’s biggest and toughest questions.
Photo Credit: “Big Island” by Paul (Dex) Bica