Exploring is not Deciding Part III: A Path Emerges as You Arrive and Connect with Care and Interest

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

“The way is not in the head. The way is in the heart.” Buddha

Recap of Parts I and II of Exploring is Not Deciding

Exploring is the phase of career development that follows the assessment, the vocational testing and early journaling that identifies who you are, what you love, and what you can and want to do. It’s about finding the place where you feel a positive connection in the working world. Like dating before marriage, career exploration allows you to get a feel for a chosen field, enough to know if it’s right for you. Prime examples of this exploration are informational interviews, chats with family, neighbors, friends and co-workers, job shadowing, volunteering and taking classes; all great ways to test an emerging direction. This work of choosing cannot be done from the couch as a strictly cerebral function. It requires your curiosity, involvement and action over a period of time. Not investment and commitment but active involvement.

Individual questions and concerns multiply, commonly, as you narrow the results of your career assessment to 2 or 3 best options, a manageable number to pursue. These possibilities now need to be defined in concrete terms, so you can make a choice. You’ve defined the territory, steeped yourself in a reflective process and envisioned meaningful career matches. Things are starting to happen. At this point defining the hopes, questions and concerns about what’s happening in your life and worklife can help you distinguish the road ahead. What are the current hopes, questions and concerns about the jobs, education and training, companies and industries that are on your mind right now? Grab your phone; it’s time to explore.

Exploring is Not Deciding Part III: A path emerges as you arrive and connect with care and interest.

All of a sudden, you’re clearer about your best career ideas and choices. Your exploratory process is starting to pay off. You’re beginning to feel good about the options and possibilities you’ve created. Even though there are questions still, enough is figured out that there are plausible steps to take for weeks, and hope is running high. In fact your hope just reached “top of the charts” last week.

Part of it, is because you’ve been connecting with people in your desired fields recently, people you genuinely like and would be excited to move forward with. Things may be up in the air on many fronts, but there’s much happening in the realm of possibility. You’ve spent time reflecting on what’s important, following up and it’s starting to show.

People are coming out of the woodwork to help you make connections. It’s been as easy as talking to your new neighbor at the grocery store, who happens to work with some one on your list of people to contact. Turns out your aunt knows someone in her department that can get you in touch with the director of the non-profit where you currently volunteer and would not too secretly like to work.

Career happenstance is a description for what happens once you’ve identified and connected with who you are, what’s important to you and what that could mean in today’s working world. (Given that folks naturally want to help and are drawn to other people’s authentic stories.)

As you’ve dropped by the community college or followed up with your sister-in-law, who knows somebody you should talk to; you’ve learned something valuable, even if it’s meant crossing a career option off your list. Many times without totally knowing why, you sought someone out because of a gut feeling or vague question. And it turned out great. You learned what you came for and more; met potential friends and colleagues. Fabulous people. Everywhere you’ve gone, basically. You sure did target the right jobs and industries for you.

Even Fedore Michelle, from the previous article on exploring is not deciding, feels and is doing better. His divorce is on hold, due to a fabulous marriage counselor, and the love that was always there. Given his parents referral to their friend and financial aide advisor at the local college, Fedore Michelle soon begins working on his Green MBA. Fedore also went back to speak with the boss that fired him, being the excellent communicator that he is, and got his old job back with a promotion. All that work of continuously defining and redefining his goals and reaching out is paying off.


Originally posted on Career Transition: The Inside Job