Do you know what you want from your career

One of the first questions I ask a potential client is “what do you want from your career?”

If I had a pound for every time I got the response “I just don’t know”, I would be a very rich woman. Well, perhaps not very rich but I would certainly have enough to treat myself to a luxury Italian getaway with an unlimited supply of gelato.

It seems crazy that so many people don’t know what they want but it actually makes perfect sense.

The clients that I work with are all professionals, they are highly educated and by objective standards lead a privileged life. With this privilege comes the ability to make choices which is again a great position to be in. However, it can also make it incredibly difficult to decide which choice to make.

To give a simple example, you go into a shop to buy ice cream and the choice is between vanilla and chocolate, you can quickly make a decision.

However, if you were to go into a shop and the options are vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel, mint choc chip, honey and ginger, bubblegum, raspberry ripple and cookies ‘n’ cream, I am going to wager it will be harder to make a decision. Although, I think we can all agree to rule out bubblegum flavour pretty quickly!

My potential clients have multiple career paths they can pursue. They can:

  • Stay with their current organisation but switch industry or specialist area
  • Pursue a professional services career in a different organisation
  • Move into industry
  • Work for a startup
  • Start their own business
  • Return to education and retrain
  • The list goes on!

It is wonderful they have so many options available to them but trying to unpick which the right option can be a source of huge stres

If you find yourself in this position, I would encourage you to take some time for reflection:

  • What do you want from your career over the next 3-5 years? Don’t try and look any further ahead than this. The world is changing at warp speed, and your personal situation and family dynamics will change all the time.
  • What is happening in your life over the next 3-5 years? Consider the impact that any life plans might have on your career. What do you need to take into consideration in your decision making process?
  • How do you want to spend your time? e.g. type of work, industry, amount of travel, size of team.
  • Where do you want to work? e.g. country, city, office vs home vs hybrid.
  • How much do you need to earn vs how much do you want to earn? There is an important distinction here. There will be an amount you require to put a roof over your head and food on the table. There will be a different amount that you aspire to earn to give you the lifestyle that you want. Get clear on both figures and understand any trades offs you would be willing to make to achieve the figure you want to earn as opposed to the figure you need to earn.

Using the answers to these questions, you can then start to define what you want from your career and make the choices that are right for you.

If you would value support to help you identify what you want from your career, feel free to book in my diary to talk about Career Coaching – I’d love to help you – here is a link to my diary.

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