Happy New Year, Happy New Career?

I would like to introduce my husband, Paul, as a guest writer who is an education coach and consultant. I do hope you find his articles both useful and inspiring. Alison

‘I suppose it would be easier for all of us to be the people we truly are if we didn’t inherit so many prejudices about the kind of person we should be.’ 

The above quote is taken from ‘The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People’ (CarolEikleberry,1999).  As we enter another new year, many of us will be taking stock of our lives, and our careers in particular.  But what comes to mind when you think about your career and how would you define a successful career?  Do you think of a career as something belonging only to a ‘professional’ person or can a ‘non-skilled’ person have a career also?  Is raising children to be regarded as part of a career or as a career-break?

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a career can be defined as:

– one’s advancement through life, especially in a profession

– a profession or occupation, especially as offering advancement

– working permanently in a specified profession (e.g. a career diplomat)

I used to think that the difference between a career and a job was that a career had opportunities to progress, whereas a job was an occupational dead-end.  Nowadays I prefer to think of a career along the lines of one’s advancement through life and that all of life’s experiences can inform and contribute to our career management skills.

After a number of years working in the career guidance field, with young people and adults, I have experienced many different attitudes to career choice.  The influence of the media is particularly strong amongst young people and I recall, with some amusement, the sudden interest in the legal profession with the advent of TV programmes such as ‘LA Law’ and ‘Ali McBeal’.  The truth is that we are complex individuals with our own value systems, experiences, skills and attitudes.  If we wish to successfully manage our career, it will be important for us, firstly, to understand about ourselves and about the factors that can influence our choices in life.

For most people there may be many different fields that would provide the enjoyment and fulfilment we search for in a career; sometimes it’s just a question of which door opens first. We also need to understand, however, that we often change with life experience.  Ask yourself, for example, if you still have the same understanding, outlook on life, values and attitudes that you had fifteen or twenty years ago; probably not.  Why, then, should we be surprised that we wish to change career direction at different points in our life?

You may well be in one of a number of situations right now.  Some will feel trapped in a career not knowing how to escape, needing the money but hating the job.  Others may feel that they have made a wrong career move but can’t understand why.  You may be looking for promotion or a new job but can’t seem to get the breaks.  Perhaps you are asking the wrong questions.  Perhaps you should be asking ‘What do I want from my career now?’ instead of ‘What is the next step in my current career?’.  I believe that many people are locked into a traditional way of thinking about their career, I certainly was and it can lead to frustration and disillusionment.

Over the next few weeks I will be publishing more articles aimed at helping you to move forward in your career planning.  For some it may mean taking a new approach to
your present job, to others it may mean a radical change of direction.  We invest too much of our time and efforts into our career not to get some sense of fulfilment from it.  Are we really living whilst we make our living?

It is my firm belief that we owe it to ourselves to both seek and find happiness in a vocation that we will invest years of our life in.  So whether you are seeking to climb
further up the corporate ladder, or wanting to jump off, I trust you will find that the forthcoming articles will open new doors and guide you through a successful career, however you define this concept.

Happy New Year

Next time – ‘Know yourself’

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1 Response to Happy New Year, Happy New Career?

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