Exploring is not Deciding Part II: New Information and New People

This is the second post in my three-part series “Exploring is not Deciding” (read Part I and Part III).  

What’s the career question that’s bugging you the most right now? Can you name it and then possibly write it down? Come on… Share your career story with a friend, co-worker, partner or family member. Maybe it’s a feeling about something that’s not settled for you, an actual conflict. Or you’re confused about something. Take a step back and think for a second; what is it that you just can’t seem to figure out about your career path?

Maybe it’s more than one thing. Often can be. Perhaps it’s the way all of your questions, feelings and concerns intersect, as though plotting to keep you stuck. Whatever the issue or issues, you can figure them out. All it takes is some time and a few trips out of your home or office to meet and connect with new information, new people and ultimately new experiences that redefine the way things look to you, even possibly your view and experience of yourself.

Let’s take the case of someone who is exploring new career possibilities in these days of high unemployment. Fedore Michelle who has had nothing given to him, would like to think he’s a confident man. Blessed with good parents but not encouraged to focus on making money, he finds himself at a crossroads. Should he invest in more education, perhaps a green MBA or is it time to start the consulting business he’s been thinking about, before he loses valuable time in the market. In addition he has just been fired, his wife is suing for divorce and there are a few other things too. Can you relate to the complexity and uncertainty of Fedore’s situation?

Many of us can relate. We know the insecurity and overwhelm that comes with complexity and uncertainty in life and work life and that it can be paralyzing at times. What’s Fedore to do?

For starters Fedore reaches out. He talks to ex-coworkers about his firing and realizes he’s not the first in this department to be laid off. In fact he learns that he lasted longer than others with this particular boss, a man who has the reputation of one who cannot be pleased. He finds that the rest of the department would like to help and has come up with contacts and potential leads from colleagues also in marketing.

His confidence some what restored, Fedore begins talking with people about his idea to start a green event planning business along with his job search. He gets some great feedback along with an opportunity to serve on a non-profit board that is hosting a major conference. He’ll be able to contribute his expertise in creating a green event and work along side people in both the non-profit and business community. The more he invests in the conference project the more he knows he’s on the right track and it’s obvious to others that he knows what he’s doing. As Fedore begins to sign up clients, he realizes a little schooling wouldn’t hurt and attends an information session on the MBA program at PSU. It seems he could start the business and attend school, if only he and his wife could work things out and avoid the cost of a divorce and alimony payments.

From where you are right now what are your top questions and concerns about your career path? Let’s work from there. Now, who or what is your best source of information, given your questions? Think about each one, individually and consider your thoughts on where to go for help, information and resources.

In what way could you begin to experience a world that you wonder about now? Consider what it might be like to volunteer, job shadow and conduct “informational interviews” about a field that’s of interest to you. Talk with your neighbor, aunt, ex-coworker or boss about your current work passion, maybe they know someone who could advise you.

Define your next steps to hands-on learning about the possibilities that look good to you right now. Share your thoughts with a confidant and put your ideas on the calendar to create a little structure and make your ideas real.


Originally posted on Career Transition: The Inside Job