Career Related Anxiety
Every week I deal with clients who are resistant, reluctant, or even paralyzed in tackling the hard work involved in determining a new career direction after it’s become apparent that a new direction should be found. All kinds of anxieties surface:
- Will I ever be able to find a career that’s right for me?
- Am I qualified for the kinds of careers I might be interested in?
- I’m a generalist and all the careers I can think of involve specialization
- How can I know I’ll succeed in trying something different?
- Suppose I make the wrong choice?
The one element that’s common to all these anxieties is thinking too far ahead. Not that these anxieties are misplaced, it’s just that they’re premature.
Finding The Right Career & Overcoming Anxiety
The process of identifying a new career path that is likely to be fulfilling and successful needs to be methodical. One step at a time. And the first step is EXPLORATION. As you begin to explore possibilities you will learn more about what’s involved in types of work, and you’ll start to get a sense of what resonates and what doesn’t. What’s doable and what’s not. What kid of compensation you can expect. What advancement opportunities are likely. What qualifications or training might be necessary, and your ability/willingness to acquire those. In sum, what the pluses and minuses are.
Think about applying this analogy to your career search process: Imagine that you’ve decided that you need a vacation. You might start with determining that, rather than two weeks at a beach resort or touring some national parks you’d instead like to go to Europe (you’ve already narrowed your options but still have a huge number of possibilities). But you’re not sure where in Europe would make the most sense. What would you do? You might talk to some friends who recently made a European trip. You’d look at some guide books and search online for relevant information. You might consult with a travel agent. You’d be looking at costs, of course, and weighing pluses (e.g. beautiful scenery, great food, interesting museums) and minuses (unpredictable weather, COVID risk, transportation complexities) All of these steps are part of the exploration necessary to reach an optimal decision. That’s not to say that this process would guarantee a perfect vacation. But you’d be a lot more likely to wind up a satisfied vacationer than if you didn’t undertake this process and instead relied on choosing a destination that you got excited about after seeing an Anthony Bourdain episode.
So I urge you to approach the exploration of careers knowing that as you explore you’ll be increasing your knowledge, and as your knowledge increases you’ll be more and more likely to make the right decision. That should help relieve some of your anxiety. As will partnering with me in the process, helping you craft exactly the right kind of exploration and the steps necessary to maximize its value. Reach out to me at Jim@DCLifeCounseling.com.