Thursday, 6 January 2011

Your Career Change in 2011 - Step 1: Facing the Present

January is my busiest month for career change clients.  So many of us reappraise where we are heading in life at the turnb of the year.  And frequently, we don't like the answer.

So where to start?  At the risk of wearing out an already tired cliche, career change is a journey.  And any journey begins by understanding where exactly we are in the first place.

So what exactly is the issue with your current career?  For example, my clients present to me with different problems.  Most often they:
  • Can't move into the area they really want to get into
  • Hate their job but don't know what else they could do
  • Fear change even more than they hate their job
  • 'Just wonder' what else might be out there (read: are screaming at the meaninglessness of their current jobs)
  • Feel overwhelmed by the choices that seem to be out there and unsure of how to choose between them
  • Have lost confidence in themselves / are struggling with anxiety, works stress, even depression
  • Just simply feel stuck and like they're going round and round in circles. 

Some people also feel more than one of these, some may even have the full house.  But identifying where you are is an essential first step.  Facing up to the reality of the present moment is one of the fundamental principles of psychological flexibility

I am asking you to find a place which is quiet and still.  Think about your current situation in all its nuanced complexity.  Then, some of the key questions you may wish to consider at this stage include:

  • What precisely is wrong with your current job (list the reasons)?
  • In each case, what would be better or preferable?
  • When have you experienced better or ideal working conditions?  What were you doing?
  • What would happen if nothing changed?  How would you feel, both in the short term and long term.
  • What are the emotions and thoughts you are feeling about your career?  List them.

I think it's also a good idea to do a number of psychological tests, to establish a baseline of how you're feeling.

My tests measure levels of engagement, wellbeing and psychological flexibility.  If you provide an e-mail address then you can re-take the tests as many times as you wish and compare the results over time.

In addition, Martin Seligman's tests are also excellent.  Log in and complete the PANAS, Authentic Happiness Inventory and Approaches to Happiness Questionnaire at a minimum.

The final, and most important suggestion I have is to write a 3 pages autobiography of your life so far.  But to get that, you have to e-mail me!

So step 1.  Facing up to the reality of the present moment, as it is.  If you can do it, you are on your way.

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