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How Do I Pick The Right Career For Me?

Question

SP asked me for some thoughts about this. He told me that he finished his degree a couple of years ago and since then has been working in a call centre, whilst trying to work out what to do with the next stage of his career. I got the sense that he was so concerned about making the ‘right’ choice that it was actually paralyzing him – preventing him from moving forward because he was scared of making the wrong decision.

Answer

This really is one of those questions with no single right or wrong answer.

So much depends on you, your capabilities, experience and desire.

A Career is Not for Life

Plus, whatever career you may pick you can be pretty sure that it won’t last the whole of your working life.

So in asking this question, you first need to decide whether you are actually talking about a particular job or a career? Now the two may be linked, but again its very unlikely that you will find yourself on some form of career ladder, where each step is already well defined and ready for you.

Modern life is simply not like that…

So you almost certainly won’t ‘Pick’ a career. And often we are more successful if we approach a ‘career’ more obliquely. And that’s what I call a ‘Resilient Career.’

One of the concepts that helps in building career resilience is covered in my upcoming book.

It’s ‘Explore, Experiment, Develop’

As a Young Professional you will find yourself moving through various stages through your career. These can be characterised as follows;

Exploration Stage

When you are searching to find out what is out there and having initial ideas as to what you may be interested in.

Experimentation Stage

When you begin to test these ideas, you try out various approaches to see what works for you and you come to some conclusions about what you prefer or dislike.

Development Stage

When you are growing and extending your capabilities in your chosen area, building your knowledge and extending your experience. In this stage you are also expected to show the results of your work, beginning to grow your reputation.

Work All Three Stages

In practice, people with resilient careers are never solely in one stage, but rather they are to some extent always aware of their involvement in all three stages, but to differing degrees, depending on where they are in their career at any point.

For example, people in the very early stages of their career will mostly be in the Exploration Stage, with some limited time spent in the Experimentation Stage and very little in the Development Stage. As you progress through the Stages the amount of time and effort you devote to the other Stages changes.

So, for SP my suggestion is that it’s more important to do something and explore the results, than to spend more time prevaricating about it.

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