Do you need career information… or insight?

Photo of a confused mess of wool leading to a lightbulb, to symbolise career insightIf you don’t have your career figured out yet, you’re not alone.

If you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to figure it out for months – even years – you’re in good company.

Chances are you’ve been online, trawled job boards and spoken to friends and family about your options.

You’ve likely been online, looking for the elusive career assessment that will give you the answer, and you’ve possibly read some books on choosing or changing career. If so, you’ve probably got a stash of notes somewhere, filled with strengths and weaknesses, pros and cons. Piles of information that haven’t really helped.

The problem? The gulf between having career information… and insight. 

It’s quite possible to spend months or years, gathering information that doesn’t actually help us to make career decisions. It feels productive, but fails to move us anywhere.

And we’ve never had so much information available to us. Apparently there’s more information in one newspaper today than someone 100 years ago would have seen in their entire life-time. And that’s just print – the amount of data on the net is staggering. There are, as I write, almost 4 billion indexed web-pages, and apparently we’re now measuring the data out there in zettabytes.

If that means nothing to you, then I’ve made my point…

It’s knowledge that’s power… having understanding, not just facts.

More information doesn’t necessarily translate to more meaning; in fact, it often leads to overload, confusion and paralysis. As you’ve found, endlessly amassing data doesn’t increase your personal insight – and that’s exactly the kind of understanding you need, to make meaningful career decisions. 

Once you have that – once you have clarity about yourself and what you’re seeking – then you can target your research, and use the information out there.

So. Ready to get un-stuck in your career? First, stop what you’re doing!

A popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over, expecting a different result. If all this reading, researching and ruminating has not lead to insight, then it’s time to change tack. I suggest you get out of your head, and…

1. Work with a real, live career professional

2. Get out there, to reality-test your career choices

Working with a professional career advisor or coach gives you a fresh perspective. They can help you identify your themes, patterns, values and needs – to help you understand yourself better, and then translate that into career options to explore. Making new connections, they can open up new possibilities.

A good career coach also asks unexpected questions; they suggest new ideas and ways of thinking, and give you fresh insight – as well as challenging beliefs or ideas that are holding you back. They can support and encourage you, helping you refine and clarify your next steps – getting you moving again.

Once you have more personal clarity, it’s time to take action – out in the real world.

Anything that gets you out of your head and gives you real, first-hand experiences – from talking to people in the jobs that interest you, to taking short courses or becoming a volunteer in a field that draws you – gives you something new to reflect on.

Love it or hate it, each new experience then guides your next steps – helping you to develop a real sense of who you are… and who you could be.

Or if you’d prefer, you could always do some more research…  Is it helping yet?


Let me know if you’d like help to get out of your head – and kick-start your career!

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