So many career choices: Don't get overwhelmed, find support.

Today's post is brought to you by guest blogger Jennifer Robertson, an educational psychologist and the owner of Career Navigator, a Portland, Oregon-based consulting firm that specializes in career assessments and coaching. If you're overwhelmed by the choices of jobs out there, she's your gal.

Ugh. Monday morning arrives….again.

That’s no mindset to start a workweek with, but a few years ago, that’s exactly where I was. Waking up and resigning  myself to  the drudgery that the day would surely offer.   A day just like the one before it and most likely, the days to come.  
The inevitable had happened.  I had fallen into a rut.  

My motivation? It was out the window.  Creativity? Enthusiasm? Drive? Gone. l felt a little like a beach ball being tossed about every day by random wind gusts: directionless and not in control.

I wasn’t running and plotting my career; it was running me.

I couldn’t even remember what I liked to do, and I certainly didn’t know what I should pursue career-wise. Life seemed overwhelming. There were so many options,  I was simply paralyzed.  

I began to suspect I  wasn’t alone in these feelings.  I needed a change, stat. Yet, as much as I  wanted to get out there and do something – find the right path for me – I didn’t know where to start.  Alas,  life – routines, obligations, boredom – seemed to be blocking my way. As “stuck” as I felt,  I realize now that finally recognizing my dissatisfaction was an epiphany. 


Boom.

Reaching rock bottom in my career was a moment that serendipitously served as the catalyst I needed to make a dramatic change. Once I made that realization and committed to improving my career prospects, the challenge became choosing what path to take. Easier said than done. 

As wonderful as choices are, I was sobered to face the reality that there are more jobs to choose from than doctor, lawyer or teacher. It sounds obvious, I know, but with a zillion ways  to earn a living, how on earth do you decide your path?

I decided to tackle the challenge by arming myself with information, and embarked on a journey of discovery. I talked to my school advisor, my parents, my friends – even my dog – to get information and advice. Some of it really helped (including the dog’s input. I decided against lounging around all day, appealing as that is) and I found myself encouraged at the resources available to me.

Clearly, I was not the first lost individual looking for guidance. It turns out, there is an amazing support system for career seekers, much of it available at our fingertips, or a phone call away. I found a seemingly endless supply of tools available to help point me in the direction of my career dreams. Personality and skill assessments, interest inventories and career counselors not only helped me to find some cool careers to explore – careers that fit my personality and strengths – but  also hooked me up with some pretty detailed information on those choices. 

I’ve never been a believer in the crystal ball approach, or a fairy godmother that magically waves her little wand and poof, you’re in the career of your dreams making gobs of moolah.  I do know that it’s a heck of a lot easier to settle into a job if you know something about the industry. After all, knowledge is power and there is something to be said about having the data you need to know about the career you’re about to enter.   

Once we awake to the enormity of choices that exist out there, it is a small miracle that most of us don’t just pull the covers back over our heads and call it a day. I’m here to say – wake up anyway!  My search landed me happily in the world of satisfying employment and I am pleased to report those career ruts are merely a distant speck in my rear view mirror.  So get up, get out there, and make a commitment to yourself. It’s time to get your career groove on! 

If you’re considering a career move but not sure what you want to “be” next (nor where to start), check out Jennifer Robertson’s Career Navigator. Her company provides career / skills assessments that help job seekers narrow in on career opportunities that align with your core skills and aspirations.