By Liliana Gonzalez, Career Counsellor

Careers are dynamic and fluid. They can take us on unexpected journeys, provide us with unique skills, opportunities, and challenges. Although, there are numerous career paths that individuals may take during their lifetime, knowing which paths to take and when to take them can help you enjoy and succeed in multiple careers.

Below are some strategies that can help you identify when and how to make the right career change for you.

Utilize your emotions to reflect on your current situation

Emotions can offer us clues to our needs and wants. You can start to assess your situation by writing down the emotions that come up for you when you reflect on your current career path. Are the emotions connected to any of your needs or wants? For instance, feeling bored may be linked to wanting more challenging work or variety; or feeling lonely, to wanting more connections with colleagues. Remember that emotions are highly context dependent. They change over time. It may be helpful to consider how long specific emotions have been present for and if they are tied to specific life or work experiences. For example, it may be common for people to feel stressed or lonely during a pandemic, but this may be situational and may not reflect how you will feel about your specific career path in the future.

Keep a daily journal

Track your daily tasks for a period of two-three weeks, note any reactions or emotions linked to those tasks. Tracking your daily tasks can help you to identify likes, dislikes, and level of engagement that each task brings you. If you are currently not engaging in many work tasks, for example if you have been laid off, try to reflect on your previous work experiences. Then try to identify any themes or patterns that emerge. Doing this can help you to identify your main preferences.

Reflect on who you are

It is important to consider careers that align with the multiple factors that make you who you are. The closer this alignment is, the higher the career satisfaction and fulfillment you will experience. Understanding your interests, values, personality, beliefs and skills, and your current career reality, can help you to identify if a career change is right for you. Strategies like the ones described above can help you to identify some of your preferences. There are also online resources like CareerInsite, as well as tailored career planning services, which Calgary Career Counselling provides, that can help you to develop this self-understanding further and clarify your career options.

Spark your curiosity

Identify career opportunities and alternative career paths. Talk to people who are working in the careers that interest you. Volunteer within organizations or industries that interest you, find a part-time job, or develop new skills in your current job related to your new field. Learn about career options by looking at online resources such as O*NET Online and OCCinfo Alis.

Decide and create and action plan

Once you have gathered as much information and data as you can about yourself and your preferences, you can evaluate your options and compare them to your needs and wants. Are they a good career fit? Would making a change help you to meet your needs and wants? Once you have made a decision, you can write down small steps that you will take to make your career transition.

We hope these strategies will help you as you consider a career change. For further support, please do not hesitate to connect with us.

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