Sunday, August 7, 2011

Want Some Career Search Help?

Having problems finding your place in life?  I think almost everyone at some time or other has struggled with where they 'fit'.  Even after being established in a career for a decade or two many people have days or weeks where they question everything (middle age crisis).  Maybe it should just be one of those things that we should accept as part of living and maturing.

If you do happen to find yourself lost or struggling in your career search, it sometimes helps to give yourself a different perspective on life.  Consider trying one of these mental exercises:
  • Imagine you are a career counselor.  How would you advise yourself in making a career choice?  Even better, go to the library and get The Career Counselor's HandbookThe Career Counselor's Handbook by Howard Figler and Richard Nelson Bolles.  It has some great chapters that I think offer an interesting perspective on the career search, even for people who are lost in it.  The chapters on 'Tools' and 'Special Problems' are great.  Also, the sections at the beginning about 'What does 'Career' mean?', 'The mystery of career choice', and 'Facing the Challenge of Ego' are very applicable to disoriented individual looking for career help.  If nothing else, this book will help you know if you are getting your money's worth from your current (or future) career counsellor.
  • Image you are eighty.  What would you like to have accomplished with your life by that time?  Make a list of things that come to mind.  Travel?  Live in another country?  Learn to speak another language?  Learn to play a(nother) instrument?  Have kids/grandkids? Own a cabin by the lake?  Volunteer in Africa?  Teach a course?  Write/publish a book or article?  Learn to paint/draw?  Many of the items in my list above are things that many people aspire to, but don't necessarily attribute to being a 'career choice.'  Once you have your list, ask yourself how the things in your list could fit into a career choice and what steps you need to take to accomplish each item.  
  • Image you suddenly became independently wealthy.  (An independently wealthy person is one who doesn't have to worry about working for the rest of their life).  After getting over the euphoria of your sudden freedom, what would you do with your life?  How would you fill your time?  When I've imagined this, some thoughts I had were:
    • I'd go back to school and study geology.  After working in the oil/energy sector for several years and living close to the Rockies, I think geology is fascinating.
    • I'd study the violin and try and become a member of the orchestra
    • I would move every 2-3 years to another country and get exposed to their language/culture.
    • I think I'd put some serious thought into how I could give back to society so I could make a difference and feel good about what I'm doing.

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