Where Do I Look to Find the Career Path for Me?

Looking for a new career path, or just getting started in finding one? Where do you even begin?

Finding Your Career Path

Q: My internet start-up of 1 year recently shut down operations. I am in need of new employment and wish to carefully consider my career options. There are so many. I am finding that in every direction I look there are several I have never even heard of. Where can I find a practical resource for evaluating what it is that best suits my interests?

A: It's true there are many options out there and for someone in career transition it can seem overwhelming. You're on the right track however in seeking resources to help evaluate your situation. It might be a good idea to sit down with a career counselor (you can find one in your area by contacting the National Board of Certified Counselors) and work through a solid self-assessment process to identify your top interests, skills, values and personality preferences. Then the next step would be to brainstorm relevant career options based on that personal data.

In my book Career Change, Chapter 6 - Identifying Career Options, has an actual case study of a client going through what I call an "Analysis of Life Experience" exercise as well as related career inventories. Here you'll have a chance to see how this self-assessment process works step-by-step and how the information generated is used to identify related career options. Good luck in identifying a satisfying career for yourself.

What Law Career Options Are Open to a 19 Year Old?

Q: My son who is 19 has left school with just one A level (D grade- Business Studies) and has gone to Australia traveling. He is due to come back in January and he has no definite idea of what he wants to do on his return. My wife and I would like to talk to someone face to face regarding the options that might be open to him so that we can advise him on his return. We would be obliged if you could help.

A: First, and most importantly, I hope you are proud of your son -- and that you will let him know that you are proud of him -- for taking this initiative to travel on his own so far from home. This overseas experience may prove to be among the most valuable in his life, whatever it may lead to next. When he comes home, you may be surprised at his increased level of maturity and self-confidence.

Second, you may wish to reconsider consulting a professional to discuss your son's options before he gets home. At age 19, your son should be in a position to do this himself. A consulting or counseling process will lead to much more meaningful results if it includes the client directly. After all, it is your son's personal and professional development that is at stake.

Finally, why are you concerned about your son's career path when he is still so young? At age 19, he may have a lot of growing up to do before he knows himself well enough to make any wise decisions. I'm sure you are concerned at least that he finish his undergraduate education, if he has not done so already. Perhaps you can discuss with him what you see as the pros and cons of doing this now rather than later.

In the meantime, I hope you spend plenty of time hearing your son's stories of his adventures overseas. Remember what happened to Odysseus on his travels around foreign lands, and how this "hero's journey" has now become understood as one form of initiation experience into adulthood. If you and your son are lucky -- and there may be no way to know the answer to this for some time -- a similar benefit may result for him. He has plenty of time ahead, in his own way and at his own pace, to complete his studies and find a professional path.