Have you packed your Career Map?

When we are faced with sudden changes in our life, such as redundancy, we are often forced to re-examine what we actually want to pursue in life. Sudden change is often the catalyst, and even permission, to consider making significant changes to our lifestyle. Redundancy seems to make us question whether or not we should consider making that career change we dream about, but have otherwise been too preoccupied to consider.

Most career transition clients I work with are the result of redundancy; and for these clients there are often added layers of pressure and stress to find a job so that they can pay the mortgage. While they are generally able to assess all of their options and make a sound choice employment decision; most of my clients wish they had more time up their sleeves to allow them to embark on a career change or pursue their dream job.

So what happens? Job security and financial pressure overrides the ability to take the next step towards their dream job or career. This is making a decision out of fear; the fear of not paying the mortgage, the fear of not landing a job or the fear of making the wrong next move.

Career transition is rarely instantaneous – it takes time and planning. Career transition is also a multi-step process, with some professions requiring specific qualifications, which could mean committing to study or practical experience.

So where do you start? It gets back to basics – you need to know your destination. Once you know your destination you can plot your map from where you are now and work out the best way to get there.

There are three questions that can help you determine your ideal career or dream job.

1. What is my desired lifestyle?
That could be, I want a job that allows me to attend my kid’s school activities, I want to have flexible work hours or I want a job located close to home so I can reduce my commute.

2. What are my current skills?
List them all. Your ‘work’ skills that always make your resume.
Next, add to this list your ‘home’ skills (organisation, coordination, negotiation).
Finally, list all your ‘soft’ skills (effective communication, excellent listener, mentor).

3. What is my dream job or career?
This is the fun one… Let your imagination roll. If you find yourself stuck with “I’ve got to pay the mortgage”. Pretend, just for this exercise, that your dream job’s salary will more than cover of it. The idea is to remove the limitation of the ‘daily grind’ and dream a little.

Now we bring them all together – have a look at your dream job/ideal career and see if it aligns with your desired lifestyle; you may need to make a few tweaks, but align the two as best you can. This is your destination!

Now, refer to your skills list; this is your starting point. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Which of my current skills can I use in my dream job/ideal career?
2. What study, experience or other skills you need to obtain to qualify for your dream job/ideal career
3. What’s the ‘gap’ look like?

Finally, create your map, making sure it includes any actions you need to take to ‘bridge’ the skills and/or experience gap.

A good map helps you avoid taking the road that leads to the river, but the bridge hasn’t been built yet. A good map helps you take the clearest, more direct path to your dream job or ideal career.

The moral of this story is: don’t wait until you’re made redundant to work out your next career move. Now is the time to create your ideal career or dream job. Now is the time to make your map – so you can be on the right road, not the one without a bridge.

Michelle Keeffe is a business and life coach from Speed of Life Coaching. She specialises in career transition and development, return to work coaching and life balance for busy people.

Michelle offers complimentary 30 minute consultations to discuss your career, business or lifestyle needs. Contact her at: michelle@speedoflifecoaching.com.au or on 0400 215 277 to arrange a consultation time.