What to do next in your career when you are confused.
Finding a Job When You Don't Know What You Want to Do Next
To land a job you will actually enjoy doing, you need to be intentional about where you apply and why. Use this…
The headline of the above article caught my eye, as I definitely have had first-hand experience with this exact situation, and it was something that I struggled with for quite a while.
Although I have since figured out what works for me to get myself out of that type of situation, I have to admit that I was curious to see how others thought about the challenge.
The author divides people into two camps of job-seekers; “avoiders”, who don’t take any action because of uncertainty, and “gatherers”, who apply to anything and everything just to get out of where they are. I definitely had been in the first category, where I constantly told myself that the situation would improve with time.
I had convinced myself that my employer knew how much value I added to the organization, knew that I was not happy, and so would help shift me into a role that was a great fit for both me and them. Wrong!
And then, when I realized my employer would not do it for me, that I had the personal responsibility to take charge of my career, I thought that there would be a list of organizations thrilled to work with me. Wrong again!
That led me to a bit of a career crisis.
As I gradually realized that I needed to take ownership of my career (embarrassing that I needed to learn that!), I found I needed some sort of framework to guide me. I used my love of science as a source of inspiration; I wanted to conduct small experiments that would allow me to test an idea, and then iteratively make adjustments to my working life until I got to where I wanted to be.
I have since continued to update and refine this framework over time, and I now use it when working with clients as part of my career transformation program. If you are interested, you can grab a free download of the framework here.
What I found interesting (but not surprising) is that the author of this article arrived with a similar approach that involves a lot of introspection and learning about yourself. If you aren’t clear on exactly what you want (and why you want it), you will inevitably end up chasing the wrong goals. (Been there, got the t-shirt!) That is why I include access to the OCEAN personality test and the Clifton StrengthsFinder as part of my career transformation coaching program. Knowing yourself is the most important step, and I am regularly shocked by how little people know about themselves.
The article is an interesting read that serves as a glorious reminder that we need to be intentional about our careers. Having the ability to spend your precious time working on projects that matter to do, with people that you enjoy collaborating with, does NOT happen by accident. It is the product of a lot of introspection, small experiments, some slightly uncomfortable stretches outside one’s comfort zone, and an open mind.