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You can move Mountains with a bit of Career Exploration

by ​Carolyn Leighton-Hilborn

Have you ever felt you were stuck in a rut? Been in a job you were not exactly happy with, but you continued on, day in and day out, thinking “someday it will get better”?

Many people go through these thoughts and emotions at some point in their career. Often people do not make any changes for the better, which ends up making people feel frustrated, tired and maybe burned out. Dissatisfaction in the workplace can lead to troubles with one’s work productivity, personal and family life. It can have a domino effect, which can be hard to rectify without the appropriate knowledge to do so.

Why don’t people get out there and explore their options? Perhaps it’s fear. Maybe it’s because they are unsure where to start. It could be because they don’t want to make the wrong choice.

Whether you’re unemployed now and ready to start considering career exploration or you are fully employed and trying to figure out your next progressive step in employment, the decision making process is the same. The above concerns and fears are valid, but it is important to know if you’re in this situation, you do not have to explore your options all alone.

First things first: If you enjoy the type of work you do, but would like to spice up your daily routine a little bit, then it’s important to know how much change would be necessary to keep you motivated in your job. Maybe offering to take on small new tasks or special projects within your company would be enough to increase your job satisfaction. Talk to your employer to see if there are any current needs and if there aren’t any at the moment let them know you can be counted on down the road if they need additional support for new organizational goals that may arise. In the meantime, look into taking a course on a topic you feel would be empowering and useful for you to use in your role.

If you think you need more change or growth opportunities than your current occupation will ever offer, then some deeper self-reflection and a conversation with an employment specialist may be up your alley.

A great tip to start exploration through self-reflection is to think back to times you really enjoyed or felt successful. Whether it was when you coached a sport, worked hard on a favourite hobby, taught someone something or built something, there are usually many instances in your past you can look back on with pride. Now think about what it was about those experiences that gave you that feeling of satisfaction, such as the location and circumstances of the experiences, as well as what tasks and things that you did to feel that sense of accomplishment. Write these thoughts down to start an inventory of your skills and abilities. These skills are what you already possess and you may be able to take these skills from past experiences into new opportunities within your organization, the same field of work you’ve been building your career or maybe it will open a new window of opportunity to pursue through training or transferring your skills to a new field.

Think of it this way: Each step you’ve taken and everything you’ve learned during your life to this point is a natural process of career exploration. Validating what you like and don’t like takes time and an honest effort in the workplace. Try not to look at your past experiences as a misstep in your career, but an excellent learning opportunity and development of personal tastes and character over time.

If you are curious about your career future and where it can take you, feel free to drop into one of our locations to discuss things with an employment expert in our resource centres. When it comes to career exploration, we can help.