Thursday 10 April 2014

Are you overthinking your career decisions?

Do you find yourself having lots of work ideas but for some reason not actually doing anything about them? Do you spend hours talking about & researching options & thinking about pros & cons .. but never making any real progress? 

The Overthinking Trap
I’ve worked with many women considering what to do after a career break and many of them fall into this overthinking trap. In our former working lives we often succeeded because of our ability to mentally work through solutions to problems and this is our default. We get fooled that we can think ourselves into a decision. 
But the 'what shall I do with my life?' career questions can rarely be solved just by brain-power. What you really need to do is to start taking practical actions. And I don’t mean firing off your CV when you’re not yet sure what you want to do – it’s about finding ways to try out your options before deciding where you want to commit.  Professor Herminia Ibarra in her career change book ‘Working Identity’ calls this a ‘test & learn’ approach. She warns that waiting to act until you know what to do next can keep you stuck: “Doing comes first, knowing second”.

Start Doing
  • If you’re wondering whether to go back to your old company/field: Get back in touch with old colleagues for an initial exploratory chat; ask about small projects or freelance work; take a refresher course.
  • If you’re not sure if you want to do something new: Find people who are doing the job - go to an industry event or look for friends of friends – and talk to them about their roles; take a short course; do related voluntary work or find/create an internship.
  • And if you’re thinking of setting up a business, find some entrepreneurs to talk to or go to a start-up workshop like Enterprise Nation's Start Up Saturday.
  • For more ideas see our return-to-work success stories.
Once you have some ideas on future options, it is more doing not more thinking that will get you clearer on the route you want to take.

This is an amended version of our guest post for the Mumsnet Workfest blogWorkfest is on 7th June 2014 in London:"an inspirational and helpful day for women returning to work post maternity or an extended career break, those looking to switch jobs, as well as those embarking on a new business venture. We're running 2 sessions:
  • Returning to work after an extended career break 
  • Tackling your fears, doubts and guilt
Hope to meet some of you there!

Posted by Julianne

1 comment:

  1. The ideas about career choice come when it’s time to graduate and get enrolled in the higher educational institution. Often teenagers rely on the opinion of their parents, teachers, and peers, have a glance hereto find more.


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