Career Key

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Can’t Decide on a Career or Education Program? Get Career Planning Momentum in 20 Minutes

Try sitting down with your favorite beverage and taking 20 minutes to ask yourself, “What are my career planning goals and how do I achieve them?” If you are spending at least 20 minutes to surf your smart phone's app store, then you have time to spend on this activity.

A new job? A new career path? Direction in school?  If you have trouble defining what your career planning goals are, write or type out what is causing you to think about career planning:
  1.  “I don’t like my job.What I don't like about it: _________”
  2. “I’m not sure what to do after high school/college/grad school...”
  3.  “I’m not making enough money in my current work. I need a better paying job.”
  4. “My last child is going to school next year and I need to reenter the workforce.”
  5. “I just got diagnosed with a chronic illness and I can’t do my old job anymore.”
  6. “I’m unemployed and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to find another job.”
If you’re making a lot of negative statements, try rewording them into positive, more forward looking statements.  Like (in the same order as above),
  1. I want to find a job where I enjoy going to work.
  2. I want to study in an education program that leads to a successful career choice, one where I’ll enjoy the work and make enough money to pay off my student loans.
  3. I want a job (or career path) where I can make enough money to comfortably support my family.
  4. I want to start (or restart) a satisfying career path that will allow me to spend time with my family but satisfy my need for meaningful work and income to help pay our family’s bills.
  5. I want to start a new career using my unique talents, skills, and abilities.
  6. I want to find a new job that pay my bills right now and that will support me while I prepare for a new career in a growing career field.
Do a real “brain dump.” Don’t try to be short or fixate on finding the exact right words; just write out your thoughts and concerns about your situation.

To get some momentum, make a few short-term self-assessment goals (ones you can do today or tomorrow) related to the statements you just made. For example:
  • Read the article “Identify Your Skills” and make a list of skills, especially your “motivated” skills - ones you enjoy using and are good at.
  • Read about Holland’s Theory of Career Choice and think about how it applies to your current work or school studies. What future choices will you be making and how can you apply Holland’s Theory to them? 
  • Do one other activity from “Learn More About Yourself.
Hopefully after doing these activities you'll feel you've gathered information that will help you reach your career planning goals - and gained some momentum for decision-making. Don't be surprised if you spend longer than 20 minutes working on this - in fact, I was hoping to trick you into investing more time than you thought. The point is that it doesn't take much time to make real progress.

My next post will be about gathering information about your career options. What other information do I need to make good decisions?

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