Career Key

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Top 3 Barriers to Making a Career Decision

Many people choosing or changing a career encounter these top 3 barriers:
  1. Cultural transitions: military to civilian, government to private sector, immigrant working in a new country;
  2. Career indecision: being overwhelmed, fear of the unknown, and/or you’re just an indecisive person.
  3. Practical obstacles to employment: affordable childcare, disability, or finding reliable transportation to work, a lack of job skills or education
Not knowing how to work through and overcome these barriers is the biggest problem of all. Add the stress of tight finances, insecurity about your own abilities, and family pressures, it’s amazing anyone makes a breakthrough. But you can, using the suggestions below and the other resources on The Career Key, Career Key Canada and Self-Employment Key websites.

Whether you find this comforting or not, ultimately you are in the driver’s seat for your career path. I have 3 suggestions that will help you deal with whatever barriers apply to you:

Holland’s Theory of Career Choice.
Don’t try to “reverse engineer” your career choice – like, I can do X, therefore I must be X. It should be forward looking: I am most interested in and my personality fits ________, and how do I make that happen?

Learn about how Holland’s Theory helps you choose a satisfying career. Choose your career first, worry about how to get the job skills and education later while exploring careers and making a high quality decision.

Long-term planning.
If you plan towards a specific career goal, you’ll be more likely to reach it. It will also give you hope and motivation. Whether you’re a gas station attendant, foreign trained doctor, or a laid off executive, it’s possible you have to work in a lower paid job than you're used to while you go to school, network for your dream job, or start your own business. If possible, choose an interim career that matches your personality.

And if you’re an indecisive person to begin with, try finding your specific career goal by using these proven 4 steps to making a good career decision. We offer you a free downloadable “Decision Balance Sheet.” If that doesn’t help, try these other activities including personal career counseling.

Both online and offline, networking offers your best chances at learning about the careers that interest you, affordable childcare options, the best nonprofit and government resources, and getting moral support from other people. If you’re an Internet junkie, get outside and meet people in person. If you’re not familiar with online networking, figure it out – and talk to people who are doing it.

In future posts I’m going to focus on each of these top 3 barriers to career decision-making. Right now, I’m working on post about making a military to civilian transition. If you have something standing in your career path to share, I’d love to hear about it.

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