Are you at a career crossroads and wondering what to do? Here are some practical ideas to help you with these important decisions.
Often, because of downsizing, or a feeling of being in the wrong job, or because you would like to advance and be more in tune with your career and lifestyle, you find yourself wanting to explore new career paths. You would like to make a change, but questions you may ask yourself are: “Which road do I take? Is this the right road?”
It’s very hard to go from one personal relationship to another without some grieving. The same applies to jobs and careers. It’s a loss, even if we did not like our job. There may be other losses for us, such as not seeing the people we worked with anymore, a loss of self esteem and not being identified as a member of the profession. There is certainly the loss of income, if we were separated from a company.
Maybe you have self imposed crossroads. Maybe you just do not feel the good vibes of your profession or industry anymore and are exploring other possibilities. Your mind and body appear to be in flux. A career transition may be on the horizon.
Think about you and your positive qualities. What are your strengths? By knowing yourself, you can help address your career change with three practical steps:
Step 1 - Self Assessment - Identifying and evaluating your work values, interests and personality preferences.
Step 2 - Exploring career programs, majors and narrowing your choices. Read through catalogs and programs for courses, professional certificates and majors you are considering. Talk to the directors and professors of these programs, and students who are currently enrolled or graduated with certificates or degrees in those programs You can even take an entry level course to see if you like it and decide to continue with the program. Another nice way to learn about a particular career is what career counselors call “shadowing.” This means to spend a day with someone currently in the career you are considering, talking with them, or even volunteering for a while to see if the skills, personality requirements and environment fit your lifestyle.
Step 3 - You are ready to make a decision if through your research, self assessments and experiential activities, you:
Have an understanding of the main activities and purpose of the career
Have an understanding of what you will need to prepare for the career or major
You know the pros and cons of the daily routines of the job.
How can career counselors help you with those three practical steps? They can administer counseling and career inventories to help you find out which careers are ones you may prefer to explore. These inventories are very easy to take, are interesting to the person taking them because they ask about you, there are no right or wrong answers, and you are not being judged or reviewed. They work with your natural positives and relate them to actual specific jobs in the workplace.
Counselors can then help you to explore different career programs, schooling, and paths for short term and the long term goals. It is possible to change industries in the short term even if you have not completed your studies yet.
Here is a simple breakdown of your choices:
Same job, same industry
Different job, same industry
Same job, different industry
Different job, different industry
Starting your own business
Going back to school for further training.
In general, when we are re-careering, the job should match three circles: your skills, and your abilities and your interests.
Everyone is unique and everyone has a story about how they have come to this point in their lives. This transition could mean a new beginning for you if you take the time to reflect and plan your next move.