What’s Blocking Your Career Path?

Career Myths and Mysteries

By Marti Benjamin, MBA

Professional Certified Coach | Certified Career Management Coach

Certified Professional Résumé Writer

If only we could choose a career and then set the cruise control function until we reach a richly rewarding work-life! That might be boring for some but for others it would be ideal to choose career direction just once and then never have to think about it again.

Our parents may have been able to approach their careers with a single choice, but with new occupations appearing regularly and traditional jobs giving way to technological improvements the cruise control strategy doesn’t work well. The US Department of Labor predicts that young people graduating from college this year will change careers—not just jobs, but career fields—six or seven times during their work-life. Success in this turbulent environment requires new skills in career management as well as job performance.

Hazardous curves

As you navigate your career path, you’ll almost certainly encounter obstacles along the way. These barriers often appear without warning and catch you unprepared to think about a new direction or a different route to your destination.

Since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007 (which I still think was not so great!), tens of thousands of people who thought their position or their industry were safe, have found themselves unexpectedly unemployed. Even those who retained their jobs experienced a level of unfamiliar uncertainty as they saw the unemployment rate rise and people they knew (or worked with) losing their jobs. Fear and anxiety replaced security and predictability.

Soon the mindset of shortage over-shadowed career decisions and self-limiting beliefs crept in:

  • “I’m too old to change careers now,”
  • “I don’t have a degree so I’m sure they won’t consider me for that position,”
  • “I’ll never find another job as good as the one I have. I need to just stay put, even if I’m not really happy here.”

While some were limiting their own options, others were re-positioning themselves to be an employer’s best solution in the current situation. They created new pathways for themselves; they changed industries, re-located, earned a new certification or volunteered for a project to develop new skills. Their problem-solving process led them to move in the direction of their goals, even if it required a detour.

One of my career-coaching clients took a position that required him to commute about twice as far because he saw how the experience he was gaining would qualify him for an expanded role as soon as the business climate improved. He deliberately planned his career path and overcame the blocks he encountered. His strategy worked; today he enjoys his ideal position, using the skills he gained in the position with the long commute.

More alternatives

In my 2011 book, Discover UR Best Self: Guide to a Great Work-Life, I offer information and solutions to other career hazards, such as toxic relationships and unrelenting stress. If you’d like to receive this self-discovery guide to a great work-life, please visit www.CareerFromHere.com/books. The e-book version sells for $10.95 and the paperback for $16.95. As a special offer to readers of this blog, I’ll send the paperback to you with no additional shipping charge (usually $2.50).

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her business and career coaching practice. She describes professional coaching as, “The best possible job in the world for me.” Since she began coaching in 2004, her systems have led fed-up professionals from frustration to fulfillment in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com 


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