28 January 2020
Many people find making decisions hard. Many more people find making career decisions even harder. Career decisions are hard because they are complex and come loaded with expectations, strong emotions, confusing advice, and social biases and rules. On top of this career decisions either need to be made in short time frames (i.e. when a job is on offer), or are self directed and can be put off (often until you are forced to make a decision in frustration).
In making career decisions the first step is always the step of knowing yourself. The better you know your strengths, values, beliefs, preferences, aspirations, skills, etc. the more you can make decisions that align with your unique capabilities and needs.
A great resource to have handy for career decisions is A Career Box.
A Career Box is a collection of things – all sorts of things - articles, memories, cards, images, exercises, touchstones, sticky notes, comments, mementos, things that you love, things that annoy you, things that fascinate, repel, perplex, incite envy, and things that sooth. Collect the things that can give you insights and pointers on your career. In particular collect:
Memories of the things that you loved doing in childhood
The times when you lose yourself in doing something
Crucible moments when you have faced challenges and overcome them
Put all these things together in a box where they are tangible and touchable – your Career Box.
Then regularly, and especially leading up to times when you need to make career decisions, dip into your collected things and look for the messages they have for your career and the decision you need to make.
When using your Career Box for making big picture career direction decisions or pivots examine the things in your Career Box, not for the job title they might lead to, but for the qualities behind them (researching, arguing, organising, connection, courage, reactivity, proactivity…). Examine them again, then again – compare things, look for the similarities and the differences. Look for the specifics. Follow the hints. Look at your collection of things and ask again and again what you can learn.
When you have a career decision to make a Career Box is a first point of call and is sure to have pointers for you.
As always wishing you a flourishing career.