Career Direction Issues

I work with many clients who present with a career direction issue. By that I mean they are not sure if they want to or need to stay in the current field, whether they should move to a different field or different job in the same field. I also work with many clients who are ambivalent. By that I mean they have been uncertain about what to do for a long time and keep going back and forth in their own minds (or talking with others) about what to do to have a more fulfilling career.

I have learned in over twenty-five years of career counseling, that the best way to address these issues is to do the following work:

  1. Our first meeting is usually devoted to a discussion of your current work situation—the pros and cons. We discuss five key factors that tend to separate out those people who are likely to actually leave the profession and those people who are more likely to stay in the field. We discuss these factors and why they can be strong indicators but not necessarily determinants of your ultimate success in leaving the field.

  2. The next session is devoted to your work history and personal history. I ask you to think back to every job you have had—paid or unpaid—all the way back to high school. We talk about the skills gained and the pros and cons of each job. This helps us to identify trends and repetitive themes that will help us to figure out what you need to have and to avoid in a workplace setting or in a career. The personal history can help to identify, reinforce and understand certain themes that we can see emerging in the work history.

  3. The next session is devoted to a workbook. The workbook has exercises that open up the realm of possibilities for more engaging work. To find satisfying work in life we need to match our work to our personalities and our personal strengths. We are looking for the “sweet-spot“ for your career, that match up of aptitudes, interests, lifestyle, and self-actualization. We also have to factor in current skills and the market need.

  4. The next session is devoted to identifying those things you must have in your work life to be happy and those things you need to avoid and put them on paper. I guide you through this exercise. We create a template, a tool you can use to understand what to look for in your search for the next job or the next career going forward. We also use the template to understand what has not been working for you in your current or past jobs. At this point I will identify career moves that are most likely to be good ones for you. I base my suggestions on market knowledge and career moves that worked well for other clients with similar career needs. The career moves I suggest are not always the final suggestions, but they serve as the jumping off point for a quest to learn more about these practice areas, careers or jobs to see if they will in fact be right for you.

“Our discussions helped me identify my interests and narrow my job search, and now that I‘ve found a position, your Aptitude, Interest, Lifestyle, and Self-Actualization Test continues to inform my life goals. From now on, I will periodically step back and examine my career path to ensure that it passes this test, and if not, figure out what is missing, and what I need to change. Thank you again!“
- Dan Hurley, 2012 Colgate graduate

“Our discussions helped me identify my interests and narrow my job search, and now that I‘ve found a position, your Aptitude, Interest, Lifestyle, and Self-Actualization Test continues to inform my life goals. From now on, I will periodically step back and examine my career path to ensure that it passes this test, and if not, figure out what is missing, and what I need to change. Thank you again!“
- Dan Hurley, 2012 Colgate graduate

 

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Some clients stop at this point.

For those who continue, the next phase of our work is the research and instructional phase. To find the right next move in a career it is important to talk with people doing the work you think you would like to be doing. I help you to learn how to find the people to talk with or, in some cases, I can give you a contact person to meet with- someone who has made the same career shift you are considering. It is also very helpful to read about the new career you are considering.

While you are talking with people and learning more about the career, practice area, or job you are considering, we continue to meet and I do training sessions with you about the three key elements of a successful search: 1. Productive Networking 2. Excellent Interviewing, and 3. Using the Resume to tell your story.

My rate depends on ability to pay. I use a sliding fee scale which we can discuss. Some people meet with me for only one or two sessions; others for more than ten. Most of my clients who devote eight to ten hours with me doing the career work outlined above are able to move beyond ambivalence and develop the next career direction.

Once you read this, I hope you will e-mail me with any questions or concerns, or to schedule an appointment.

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sheila@nielsencareerconsulting.com

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