Many people struggle to find career direction because they put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed. Executive coach Iain Shippey says it’s essential to adopt a new narrative of being on a journey or an adventure without trying to arrive at a destination too soon.
“Adopting this outlook can ease the pressure and give you permission to experiment, fail and be freed from the fear that you might have to live out a life-sentence in one job or company. To find your niche is likely to involve some risk taking and experimentation,” he says.
Philospher and author Alan Watts says the process of uncovering what you are meant to do is a journey. It starts with discovering yourself. When you remove the pressure of monetary gain, you can begin to gauge what would make you truly happy. Watts suggests asking yourself an important question: “What would you do if money were no object?”
The University of Kent suggests analysing the following when considering a career that will make you happy:
- What do you enjoy doing most? Think about what truly makes you happy.
- What are you good at? What do your skills, interests and hobbies suggest you should be doing?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Research which jobs would allow you to best tap into your interests and talents. For examply, if you enjoy travelling, you could teach abroad, become a tour guide or a travel writer.
- Look at job portals and industry websites. Are there many opportunties in the sector?
- Look at the educational and experience requirements for jobs that interest you. Do you meet many of these requirements?
- Talk to people already working in your chosen career area. Job shadowing a person in the career you are considering is the next best way to fully gauge what day-to-day experiences and responsibilities to expect.
- Consider the pros and cons of the career path. Do your research on the responsibilities, hours, work environment and state of the sector. To make an informed decision, you need to know what challenges you may face.
- Take into account the financial implications. While job satisfaction is important, you need to ensure that you can pay your bills and take care of your responsibilities. How would changing your job affect your and your family’s lifestyle?
- Once you have analysed the common requirements, consider what you can do to improve your chances of getting a job in the industry. Study further, join industry groups and be willing to work your way up.
- Compile your CV and if you can, enlist the help of someone who is already in the industry. Market yourself by beefing up your LinkedIn profile and post industry-related posts on your social media accounts.
- Start the job hunt by looking for jobs on job portals or industry websites. Network and talk to people in the industry to find out what opportunities are available.
- Get good references from your previous employers that will put you in good stead for success at future interviews.