05/05/2019 by Kori Burkholder
5 Easy Steps to Clear Up Career Confusion this Summer
Feeling stuck and confused about your career path? Summer is the perfect time to reflect and plan for September when the hiring season begins again.
With the summer fast approaching, the vacation mindset begins to seep in. It’s the high season for fun, vacation, BBQs, and beach days, making it easy to "check out".
But, if you’ve been feeling stuck and experiencing career confusion, summer can be a great time to "mentally recalibrate" as it’s typically the time of year when the corporate hiring season slows down. So, take time now to reflect and figure out what you want, why you might be unhappy and explore what other options might be out there for you.
How do you know if you have career confusion?
Career confusion shows up in many ways, and as a Career Success Coach, I hear it all! However, the most common clues I hear from professionals are: it’s hard for them to get out of bed in the morning, they feel depressed, they’re highly irritable, they snap at co-workers, they’ve stopped caring about the quality of their work, they think resigned, they’ve stopped growing, they’re in automatic mode, underutilized, and the list goes on!
In this state of confusion, they’ve become paralyzed with indecisiveness or feel desperate to get out of a bad situation. Some have been busy updating resumes and maybe even interviewing, but not landing any offers. When I ask what they’re looking for, they say they’ve been applying for any job –and ones that they don’t even want!
I get it. I’ve been there. You’re depressed and you want to change now, and anything would be better than where you are. But, when in fuzz mode, looking at job sites, sending out resumes blindly, and interviewing for jobs you don’t want isn’t the best use of your time. It’s like hitting the bullseye with a blindfold on and wondering why you keep missing!
Figure Out What’s Missing First
First, you’ve got to figure out what’s missing. What are you running away from or towards? You want to get super clear on what’s bothering you at work so it won’t follow you into your next role. Is it your boss, co-workers, the company culture, salary, all of the above?
Once you’ve pinpointed it and have figured out what you want in your next role – then it’s time for the more tactile things like revising your resume, writing cover letters, and practicing your interviewing skills.
Set Off On a Career Expedition
To start clearing up your career confusion this summer, work through these five questions. These are designed to take you deep and get you more precise on your ideal life and start consciously building a career around your work preferences, your favorite skills, strengths, and what you want in your next role.
1. Are your values in sync with your company’s mission?
Figuring out your career values is the key to fulfillment. Once you figure this out, it will be obvious why you’re unsatisfied with your job. Knowing your values makes it much easier to navigate career choices and make decisions quicker. Figure out your top 6 values and create a unique definition of what they mean to you. Now compare your work with your values. How many are being met? Are you living in alignment with your values?
2. What would you rather be doing?
When you daydream, what’s it about? What would you be doing if money wasn’t a factor? Is it starting a new business, or working for a company, product, or brand you feel more passionate about? Are you saving animals or the environment? These could be mini clues for future career possibilities or creating more balance and fulfillment outside of work.
3. What’s your five-year career vision?
9 out of 10 people I ask this question don’t have an answer to this question. If you don’t know what you’re aiming how do you know where you are going? You’re wearing that blindfold again! What do you want your career to look like in 5 years? What kind of company are you working with? What types of people are you working around? Are you the boss? Are you managing a team? What kind of projects are you working on? If you are one of those who don’t have a career vision, start there – with what you don’t want.
4. When was the last time you did a skills audit?
As we progress in our careers, we’re always picking up new skills and figuring out which ones we enjoy using and the ones we don’t. Has your job become more analytical than creative? Are you doing more online research than in person? Determining your top 5 favorite skills every few years is fundamental to career development. Knowing what skills you want to lead with makes it easier to navigate career choices as they arise. Knowing these puts you in a great position to ask the right questions in an interview and confidently articulate your strengths!
5. What can you do TODAY to help your professional growth?
I am a huge proponent of looking around in your current work situation to find opportunities for your career growth. As you’re getting more in tune with your career vision, you will start to see gaps that need to be filled. You can begin to create new opportunities for yourself without changing jobs! This will revive you, it will give you more purpose, and will set you up for success when it comes time to make a change.
With a clear vision, it’s so much easier to build a plan that supports your goals.
When you have a clear career vision, it’s so much easier to build a plan that supports your goals, and you can see the gaps that need to be filled to get you from A to B. Do you need to learn new skills? Ask for a raise or promotion? Build a network in a new industry? Connect with new co-workers?
By the time September rolls around and the hiring season kicks back in, you’ll be in a great position to succeed in your next big career step!
If you need help with finding career clarity and bridging the gap, book a free Exploratory call with me, and let’s figure this out together.
Kori Burkholder, Certified Professional Career Coach
Kori Burkholder is a Career and Creativity Success Coach and facilitator of transformational art experiences for busy adults who want to discover their unique creativity. Kori’s work is centered around using creativity as a pathway to turn dreams into reality. Kori’s coaching and facilitation provide tools, ideas, and resources to support individuals and organizations to become their happiest and best selves.
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