Figuring out the right career path is initially a daunting process for many clients with whom I work. They’ve often struggled for years to find the answer, taking career tests, completing personality profiles, consulting with friends….all to no avail. And even if they have some degree of confidence that they’ve figured out the right direction they’re skeptical that they will be able to land a job in a field with which they have no prior experience. So they’re naturally pessimistic about the odds of success when they contact me for what they feel is perhaps a final “Hail Mary” attempt.
Here’s the truth: working with me on the proven, step-by-step process of career exploration has a high probability of success. This is borne out by the hundreds of people I’ve helped to identify the right career direction and find fulfilling jobs. But the process requires a lot of effort: meetings with me, extensive online research, homework assignments, networking, and more. No wonder people have ambivalent feelings about embarking on this path.
An analogy that many clients have found useful that helps allay some of their concerns is to think of a career investigation as similar to the assembling of a jigsaw puzzle – a LARGE jigsaw puzzle, perhaps containing a couple of thousand pieces. It starts off with a jumbled pile but usually the best way forward is tackling the easiest parts first – probably the corners and edges. “Baby steps” in a sense. This builds confidence that the solution will eventually be found. As more pieces are put into place the confidence builds, until perhaps there’s a point where pieces no longer seem to fit. That’s certainly frustrating but often stepping away for a while and coming back to the challenge will reveal new solutions. The key to successful completion is a willingness to stick with the process, giving it focused attention, knowing that eventually it will result in the desired finished product. Put anxiety aside, relax, and engage in the process!