I get a lot of people who reach out without knowing what they want to do next. I know this problem intimately, I used to experience the exact same feelings of confusion, overwhelm and frustration. You have the abilities, but where do you want to apply them?
When you have a lot of energy, talent, skill and education that has helped you become a successful well-rounded professional, deciding what to do next when you stop loving your job is hard work. Once you begin realizing that the job you have is no longer working, you immediately set out to see what else is out there. The options can seem endless. There are positions at your level, one level above, at another company, in another city, the options go on and on!
Social media has helped and hurt the job search for those who don’t know what they want next. By sharing connections, LinkedIn has become a powerful connector and reminder of how much we need our network to succeed. It’s also hurt us because of how easy it is to share positions that are not being filled internally, and the easy apply buttons across the web draw your attention to them.
With so many distractions, taking a step back to figure out what you want is a constant battle.
Coaches tip: Limit your job search if you don’t know what you want just yet. Create a list of qualifiers, or criteria to help you sift through the options and come up with your next move more efficiently.
I know I’ve found myself looking at jobs at NASA – it’s a cool place to work, sure, but I ultimately won’t see my vision come true if I work there. My career is taking me in a different direction.
Ok, so now that you have an understanding of what’s causing distractions in your search, there are a couple of timeless questions that I use when I’m feeling unsure of where I want to head next. I’ve modified my original questions to focus specifically on your career, but you can use this for a lot of different decisions (i.e. I used this to help decide on a home!)
So, to date, you’ve been focusing on narrowing your job search based on what you don’t like – which of course includes a lot of your current responsibilities. If you’re eyeing the door, but unsure what you want to do next, here are a couple of my favorite go to questions to help you get inspired and choose and new path for yourself.
1. List your talents/gifts and how you are current using & sharing them at work and at home. What talents are you not using or expressing, or what could you be expressing more of?
2. Create a table with your past positions on the left column, and the qualities/contributions that the position had on you and others. Be as specific as possible.
3. What do you enjoy the most about your current job? What do you enjoy the least (limit the things you dislike to the top 3)
4. Do you tend to work solo? Does your work cause you a lot of stress?
5. Put an “X" next to each of the following that you feel you excel in:
Delegating, writing, evaluating, self-reviewing, public speaking, organizing, supporting others, encouraging, decision-making, motivating, teaching, persuading, negotiating, time management, selling, planning, budgeting, self-reviewing.
The process to deciding what to do next can feel like it’s taking forever, but in the long run it’s really not taking up much time at all. Once you align with what feels right for you, you’ll excel at a rapid pace, even if there’s a learning curve in the beginning. Remember that taking the time now to make sure you’re going after the right position is vital. You’re going to spend more time in the next job hating it if it isn’t a good fit. Feel free to modify this and accelerate your process if you are in a toxic work environment or on the verge of a professional mutiny (i.e. your boss is actively sabotaging you). Then be sure to jump!
Have more ideas of what helps you narrow down decisions like this, or do you have a great question that really spoke to you? Share it with us on Social!