Confused About Choosing the Career of Your Dreams…
…or One that Will Put Food on your Table? You\’re not Alone.
As a career coach, I have noticed an uptick of women who are re-evaluating their career focus and paths due to a scarcity of job opportunities or feeling unfulfilled in their current occupations. They are experiencing a conflict between pursuing their career dreams or accepting jobs that match their strengths and experience but are personally unfulfilling.
Perhaps you can relate to this experience.
I am currently working with a client who has 20 years of experience in administrative support. Her passions, however, are all related to fine arts, music and creative costuming.
She also loves helping to improve the lives of the elderly.
Recently unemployed, with a husband who is retired and an elderly relative to support, she needs a job for financial support that provides health benefits. From a practical standpoint, her best opportunities for employment lie in the area of her experience, but she doesn\’t enjoy working in administrative support and hates sitting behind a desk. Her true love lies in the creative arts and working to help others.
As a stop- gap, she is currently working on a part-time temporary basis for an attorney as an administrative assistant. Wisely, she is making use of this experience for acquiring new knowledge and updating her skills, but has also solidified her commitment to pursuing a new career. Working together we have focused her job search on opportunities to use her current talents and creativity in a new career. She is now exploring opportunities to utilize her skills in a creative environment or one where she can help people. Now that she has a more targeted goal, she is networking, conducting information interviews and volunteering with organizations that offer a good fit between her skills and passions.
Whether you are entering the job market for the first time, re-entering after an extensive period, or transitioning to a new career, you may be conflicted between practical but unfulfilling opportunities and/or actualizing your passions. So what can you do?
- Assess your passions, strengths, interests and values. This can be done through formal assessments performed by a professional or informally by journaling and seeking input with those who know you.
- Explore your options through networking, information interviews, conducting research or volunteering with organizations of interest.
- Acknowledge that it is OK to be confused. Choosing between conflicting career opportunities and passions is confusing. The people who are most likely to experience this are highly intelligent, have many interests and multiple strengths. So is you\’re confused…congratulations on your many gifts.
- Accept anxiety. It\’s normal when you are making a major decision that will affect the rest of your life and those of the people you love. It\’s also a powerful motivator.
- Don\’t give up on living your dreams, find creative new ways to combine your strengths and passions in a new career or industry.
Finally, remember that developing a specific focus will vastly increase your chances of success with your job search or career transition. Employers are attracted to people who are passionate about their career choice and know what they want to do with their lives.
Remember, careful evaluation and exploration will help you target the encore career best suited to your needs and desires.