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Why Making Good Career Choices is so Hard
Making good career choices is often a tough process. For so much of our lives we do what is right according to other people. Parents push us down a certain educational path. Other children tell us what is cool to do and what is not. Career services and teachers/tutors do their best for us based on limited knowledge. Marketing companies inform us of the features and benefits of different careers. These, and numerous other well-intentioned people are always telling us what to do. And when we reach that age of family and mortgage, similar influences become involved in telling us to play safe. Well, are all these influences really on our side?
Making Good Career Choices and How to be True to Yourself
If making good career choices means doing a role that is good for you as an individual, then this approach works very well. If you are a highly logical thinker, you will not like this method. But it works well so suspend your disbelief, and make your judgement after you have had a go at it!
The conscious mind (the one you operate with most of the day) takes account of factors other than what you really want – your family influences, politics in the business, risk aversion and all the other contaminating factors.
If you and I both go for the same job and you get it, how has that affected my self-esteem? Well it has made me feel worse because compared to you I now feel less good about myself. It is in the interest of my self-esteem or self-confidence that you do not do as well in life as I do. Of course, close family and good friends do not measure themselves against you. It’s all the others in this world who do. “Think about your mortgage”, “Aren’t your kids still in school?” “Won’t that mean longer hours?” “Are you sure you can do that role?” Heard this stuff before. Well, these are your demons that may be trying to help you, but also may be looking after their own self-esteem. Good career choices mean different things to different people. This tool works on the basis that ‘good career choices are those choices that will make you satisfied and comfortable in your role’. This will help you understand if the career you think you want is one you really want.
The conscious mind (the one you operate with most of the day) takes account of factors other than what you really want – your family influences, politics in the business, risk aversion and all the other contaminating factors. On the other hand, your subconscious mind allows you to understand your true thoughts and feelings. When you are daydreaming, it is your subconscious in operation. Try the following exercise when you have two or more job offers, or simply when you are trying to find the right career. Making good career choices should involve a mixture of fact and feelings.
Directions for the Making Good Career Choices Exercise
To undertake this good career choices exercise, get yourself relaxed, close your eyes and begin to think of a job/role you might like to pursue. Alternatively, if you have two or more job offers, try this exercise for each in turn. Now:
- Begin to get a picture of that role that you think you might want as if it is happening right now, and:
- If you are not in the picture, put yourself in there.
- If the picture is still then make it move at normal speed.
- If the picture is black and white, make it colour.
- If the picture is distant, bring it closer.
- If the picture is hazy then sharpen it.
- Once you have the picture just right, now get the sounds as real as possible, and:
- If the volume is down, turn it up.
- If the sounds are muffled, sharpen them.
- If the sounds feel distant, bring them closer.
- Finally, feel how it feels to be there. Slowly begin to intensify those feelings until they are as intense as they can be.
Now, a number of things might have happened assuming you were relaxed enough to get to the subconscious. The mind will let you know how comfortable it really was with what you were doing. For making good career choices, use the following table to help you define the outcomes.
|Possibly not right for you||Needs some adjusting||Might be the vision for you||Rationale|
|Pictures||The pictures were in slow motion/wouldn’t move or jolted along/stayed black and white.||Pictures moved smoothly. Might not have got all detail but got most||It was like being there – it looked so real||Your mind will provide a clear picture if it believes what you want it to see. In making good career choices, ever heard anyone saying, “I can’t see myself doing that.” Well, they literally can’t. The more clear the picture, the closer you are to deep-rooted desires.|
|Or, you couldn’t see yourself.|
|Or, there was no detail in the environment|
|Sounds||Couldn’t really hear anything||Heard myself or the noise of the activity quite well but couldn’t quite hear all the sounds||Could pick up on all the sounds crystal clear. It was almost real||In making good career choices, the mind will hear sounds it likes even if it has not heard them before!|
|Or, sounds were muffled or distorted|
|Feelings||No real feelings. Felt okay. A bit worrying – didn’t like it.||Felt good but not very good.||Overwhelming feelings of joy or nervousness (positive excitement). Want to feel like that all the time.||For making good career choices, this is the clincher. You will know when you are there because of the overwhelming feelings you will get in terms of excitement, and job satisfaction. Sometimes it may be as simple as a feeling of peace!|
|What if… |
If you prefer, there are a couple of more structured approaches you could apply. Try the logical approach for choosing between job offers, or the Personal Values approach for how to decide between two job offers.
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