When it comes to job search and career development, I think 99 percent of the population has it wrong and “does it backwards.” This realization comes from my more than 20 years of experience as a career coach, and after working with literally thousands of clients. Looking back, I believe that this opinion has been developing in my mind for many years. But it was only recently that my thoughts crystallized into a form that I could express in a succinct message.
New clients often feel anxious about their career situations, and express a great sense of urgency or even panic about finding a new job quickly. Their focus is almost always on the JOB – “I need a new job; I have to get a job fast; Please help me land a better job now,” etc. While I understand this experience, I always try to shift the focus of the conversation to other, more important questions. You might ask, “For a person in career transition or out of work, what could be more important than quickly finding a new job?”
In my opinion, there are more profound issues to consider than “the job.” So, I ask my clients such questions as, “What sort of life do you want to lead?; What kind of lifestyle appeals to you most?; What are your biggest priorities?; What are your core values?; What do you love doing most?; What kind of work do you do best?; How do you want to spend your time?; What would be your ideal quality of life?; How important is salary to you?; What would your perfect work-day look like?” and so on. Simply stated, it’s not about what kind of JOB you want; it’s about what kind of LIFE you want!
When clients are faced with questions like these, they often stare at me, perplexed, wondering “what language I’m speaking.” They frequently respond by saying, “Those questions are all good and fine, but I have to find a job!” To which I reply, “Why do you need a new job? What kind of job? How will this new job align with your career goals? What makes you think that your next job will be any better than the other jobs you’ve had (and often disliked)? How does your career fit into your overall life plan?” Predictably, the client will usually then say, “Life plan? What life plan?”
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