Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tips for Motivating Yourself for Career Planning

It’s tough to get motivated to evaluate your career path, whether you’re a directionless college student or a well-established professional with family obligations. A big stumbling block to career change is the fact that something about your current situation works for you. Otherwise you likely wouldn’t be there. (Except if you’ve been hit by a bus…)

Some examples:
  • You’re underemployed (working in a boring job that doesn’t challenge you) but you receive a steady paycheck needed for your family.
  • You’re a college student who has chosen a major but has no idea what career path you want to take after college. Maybe you don’t want to face life’s reality that you can’t live off student loans/parents forever. Or you think “real” work, by definition, can never be fun.
  • You’ve been laid off, out of work and directionless for several months. You suffered blows to your self-confidence; and you have a limited monetary and family support system.
I’m not trying to be the “Dr. Phil” of career choice and say, “that dog don’t hunt” to people in the above examples. I just want to give you a push to say, stop talking about how much you don’t like your job or you don’t know what to do next – and do SOMETHING.

Start by writing down:
  1. Positive aspects or comforts of your current career situation. Even unemployment can be a “pro” – think of all the time you have to work out! Talk to friends on the phone, surf the Internet (even if it’s for free at the library). Yes, I've been unemployed before so I know what I am talking about.
  2. Negatives of your current career situation. Go beyond “not making enough money” and look at yourself – “I don’t feel challenged” or “I find little to no joy or fun in my work.”
  3. Do the positives outweigh the negatives? If so, you’re not ready for change.
  4. Take small steps to evaluate your career path. Even if it’s for a half hour after work each day. Getting started with the suggested activities in these 3 steps will lead to a career choice you won’t regret:
1. Know Yourself.
2. Know Your Options.
3. Make a Good Decision.

Get a cup of coffee and pick up your pen. Good luck!

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