• How much time have you spent planning your career? That part of your life where you spend the better part of 40 hours/week for the next 30-40 years.

  • How much of that career planning goes on back stage (in your head) and how much of it is front stage (goal-directed action)?

  • What factors have you used to inform your career decision-making? Are those external (chance, should, pressure from others, etc.) or internal (beliefs, skills, interests, etc.)?

These are just some of the questions that are important to consider and answer when contemplating a career. For such a large and important part of our life there is a pressure to jump into the world of work as fast as possible (taking a “gap year” is sometimes considered taboo), with little consideration of the career fit over the long-term.

This is a method that affords a profound disservice to the world of work and to everyone who participates in it! When career planning isn’t meaningfully pursued or considered, individuals may feel unfulfilled, restless, frustrated, or misaligned. These feelings contribute to reduced workplace productivity and poor mental and physical health.

Career planning is important because it starts with self-exploration – the better we know ourselves, the better we can know what brings us fulfillment in our work. To most effectively understand ourselves we must be willing to ask the hard questions and honestly consider the answers. Once we have a better understanding of ourselves, we can then more confidently and effectively investigate careers that align with the most important parts of us.

Self-exploration is not something accomplished in a day, week, month, or year – it is ongoing; nevertheless, it is important to get a sense, a rough draft, of who we are as dynamic entities so that we can align that dynamic self with a career direction or trajectory that aligns and fulfills us and ultimately feels like Home.

Not sure where to start with career planning?

In Part 2 of this blog series, we will highlight strategies for career planning to help make your goals into a reality. If you need additional support with your career planning process, our Psychologists at Calgary Career Counselling can offer expert advice and coaching.


Aaron Telnes
Registered Provisional Psychologist
Calgary Career Counselling
Synthesis Psychology