Finding Your Way: Guiding Yourself to Create a Better Career | DCR Workforce Blog

Finding Your Way: Guiding Yourself to Create a Better Career

When my mother came to the U.S., her previous degree and work experience were not worth much here. I can remember her worrying a lot about finding her way. She had no idea what career to choose when trying to start her new life in the U.S. She once told me that she simply opened up the newspaper one day and read something about occupational therapy. She felt that occupational therapy would be a good career for her because it allowed her to utilize her arts and science background. She worked hard, got her degree, and started her career in occupational therapy and continues to work in this field even to this day.

Not everyone is lucky enough to find a great career they love by just reading the newspaper one day. The point I’m trying to make is that life takes us on a fascinating journey. We don’t know when a change will strike us and shift the direction of our career.

So to bring some certainty to our careers, I’ve found a brief but very worthwhile video titled, “Managing Your Career-Really Know Yourself “ by Rich Alexander of Alexander explains that knowing yourself means finding your strengths and weaknesses; then, he goes on to explain in further detail why these two aspects of your personality are so important.

Know your strengths and weaknesses

Assessment tests: Alexander feels strongly about taking an assessment test to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and responsibilities that may be the best fit for you. He mentions that some assessment tests have to be paid for but are well worth the investment.

Strengths: Alexander is certain that your strengths are the base on which you can build your career. Below are three critical points he makes about a person’s strengths:

  • “Know what excites you, what you’re good at, and know what role suits you best.”
  • “It’s important to work at a job that maximizes your strengths. Doing what you’re good at builds confidence, self-esteem, and allows you to exert leadership in group situations.”
  • “Be careful not to have your strengths dominate groups you’re working in. Give others a chance to share their ideas and collaborate with others.”

Weaknesses: He also strategically addresses the topic of your weaknesses. Below are some key points as to why it is imperative to be aware of your weaknesses:

  • “Being cautious about your weaknesses and knowing how to compensate for them will help you know when to let others lead the way.”
  • “Know when your weaknesses are likely to surface and work on them.”

Alexander has done an impressive job of creating a starting point for you, and his assessments allow you to start building a career at any point.

For better or for worse?

A new job prospect: Let’s face it, us millennials are always looking out for the next big thing. But does changing our jobs so frequently lead to a better career path? We may be jumping from one frying pan to another. In order to stop all this shifting around and start moving up, we need to know how to evaluate a new job opportunity.

Another informative video by Alexander called, “Should I Change My Job lists six elements you should look for in a new job opportunity. Below are the elements as follows:

  • “Work you like to do.”
  • “A role you are satisfied with, or even happy about.”
  • “Career growth opportunities.”
  • “A boss you like working for.”
  • “Co-workers you like working with.”
  • “Fair compensation.”
  • “Professional and personal growth.”

Alexander states that this checklist is for a good job opportunity, not a perfect job opportunity. He further explains that many professionals leave perfectly good jobs only to get stuck in new jobs that aren’t as great as they thought it would be. Good opportunities do come along, but not as many as you think. New jobs have their set of problems as well.

How to pick a new career?

A new change is always exciting, but changing careers can be unpredictable. All the work you have done up to that point in your career might now not be worth much if you have to start a new one.

A new career path: To see if you need a career change, check out this video called “CNN Reclaim Your Career: Changing Jobs, Strategies for a Smooth Transition.In this video, Valorie Burton, Executive Life Coach and author of Successful Women Think Differently, presents a series of important questions to ask yourself before you drastically change career paths.

  • Do I want a whole new career or a whole new situation? Sometimes, people are just unhappy with their current job but don’t know the specific reason. It’s important to know the exact reason before you do anything drastic. You should make a change for the right reasons. It should be logical, not emotional.
  • What am I missing in my current career that I want in my new career or situation? Identifying the very thing that you’re seeking out could be a good reason for possibly transitioning to a new career. Once you have identified that missing thing, it’s crucial to see if you can also find that in your current field. Maybe a new role or department can be a feasible solution.
  • What do I have in my current career that I might have to give up? It’s funny how we seem to think that there is always something better somewhere else. Seeing the benefits in your current position forces you to be objective.
  • Do I have the real scoop on that new career? Understanding all the additional work that you may have to do to have a new career may or may not be worthwhile. Starting a new career that has nothing to do with your current career can mean more time and money spent re-training yourself. Also, talk with individuals that are in the career field that you want to be in. Speaking with others will give you a better idea of what you will have to do if you want to change careers.
  • Can I leverage my current experience? Using any experiences you have to forge a new career path will allow for a quicker and easier transition.
  • If you’re passionate about something, just plan it. We all have dreams and passions that drive us, but it’s important not to make a hasty decision. Start by planning new goals and trying new things during your free time. Then you can see if you can make what you love to do your full-time job.

Dealing with the setback of a job loss: If you lost your job, it’s important to understand that many people have been through a similar situation. If you need emotional support such as counseling, support groups, or being around friends or family, you should seek out any consolation to get through a difficult period.

Working through a transitional stage: If you don’t have the financial pressures of working, are transitioning back to work after an illness, or returning to work after raising children, now may be a good time to learn something new. Take a class, volunteer, or test out an internship. These are constructive ways to work on yourself.

In this day and age, people’s careers are non-stop and can change at the drop of a hat. Everyone wants a successful career with growth and advancement. But as we all know, life sometimes has its own set of plans for us. Sometimes, you get what you want; at other times, failures and disappointments reroute you to some unexpected opportunities.

In the end, you have to realize that you can take an adverse situation and leverage it into an exciting new career by learning, transforming, and progressing towards a new career path. If you have that kind of an attitude, you’ll find your way.

Have you changed careers through an unanticipated event? What was the result? Please share in the comments!

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Preeta is a writer and a mom who writes about topics that strive to connect with readers in a real way.