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Finding the right role

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I used to think it was only my generation who had limited choices. When I finished school almost 30 years ago girls were encouraged to be nurses, teachers, hairdressers or secretaries. There’s a much broader choice available these days, but still, so many young people are directed into roles that are not a good fit.

Your career decisions are usually influenced by sensible things like earning capacity and job security.

It’s cliched but true that when you get to the end of your working life you won’t look back and wish you’d spent more time in your accounting role if in your heart of hearts you know you’re really an artist.

It is encouraging to think that most young people these days will have a number of different careers but most of us know that it’s still quite difficult to transition into a new role. Many people don’t know even know where to begin.

If you know what you’d love to be doing, you’re half way there.

Even if you can’t easily move into your dream role you can begin by looking for ways to make a slow transition so you don’t have to change everything in one hit. This might mean taking a part time job that will pay the bills while you develop experience in a new field, start your own small business or return to study.

You can still plan your move knowing that you won’t be able to make it until you’re 50.

But don’t let that stop you from formulating your dream. You can still make plans and take tiny steps. Even these steps will bring you some satisfaction. (I have worked with clients who have changed careers at 60…it is never too late). I know from my own personal experience that there’s nothing in the world that will make you happier than spending your days doing what you feel you’re meant to be doing.

  • If you know what your dream role is, write it out in detail. Be as specific as possible. Visualise where you’d be working, what your day would involve, who you’d be working with…even what you would wear. Get as clear a picture as you possibly can.
  • If you don’t know what your dream role is begin by mind mapping all of your values, interests, skills and strengths and see where they lead you.
  • Consider how you can change your existing role so that you can use your strengths and achieve some of the elements of your ‘dream role’ (e.g. if you love people contact, talk to your manager about how you can be more in touch with clients or stakeholders in your current role).
  • List your existing skills, strengths and achievements and look for any that are transferable (e.g. being a good negotiator, the ability to think strategically, customer service).
  • Revise your CV to highlight the skills you would need in your new role.
  • Review your network and talk to anyone you know who has connections in the industry or type of role you want to be in.
  • Work part time in a role that will pay the bills while you work towards your dream job.
  • Talk to someone about your career aspirations (or your career confusion). You don’t always need a qualified career coach or counsellor to help (but please contact us you if you do). Ask a friend to give you an hour of their time to let you run through your concerns. Often just hearing yourself talk it through out loud gives you some clarity.

We would be delighted for you to reproduce our articles as long as they remain intact and contain the author’s details as follows: ‘Kate James is a coach, speaker and writer. She works with people who want to live confident, creative lives. Kate can be contacted at www.totalbalance.com.au.’

2 thoughts on “Finding the right role

  1. Kate, I just love this post. It was relevant last year but in the face of so many changes, it fell by the wayside. What a timely reminder. Thankyou. I feel as though I am ready to look within and find a career I love, rather than a job that that sucks the life out of me but pays the bills.
    Lotta xxx

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Posted in: Career
Kate James

I'm Kate James and the owner of Total Balance. I work with people who care about living purposeful, creative lives. My clients want to clarify their personal values, identify their strengths and learn about how they can make a difference in the world in their own unique way.

I run workshops and retreats in Melbourne and Byron Bay to give you the chance to escape the noise of everyday to discover what really matters to you.