The Talking Heads put it out there in 1980-something: “we’re on the road to nowhere”. Catchy tune, and sort of profound lyrics (well I was a fan at any rate).
Many of us have felt that way, and some of us have even said it out loud. For a variety of reasons: relationships, study, life….
Yep – the road to nowhere has been well trodden.
But what if it’s your career that’s taking you down the road to nowhere? And worse - you know it, and are letting it happen?
Well buckle up sister – it’s time to take control and another road!
If you’ve ever questioned “am I doing what I’m meant to be doing?”, “would I be significantly happier doing something else?”, or “am I beating my head up against a wall at this job?” chances are you MAY be travelling the road to nowhere. And you may have been travelling it for a while.
General signs of ‘working’ down the road to nowhere are actually easier to see that we think:
You call it a job not a career
You have dreaded going to work for a period of three months or more, for no reasons other than you job type
You struggle to come up with an answer when asked about where you would like to ‘go’ in your job
Opportunities for development are presented to you, and you choose not to engage
chances are you MAY be travelling the road to nowhere. And you may have been travelling it for a while
So, what do you do if you suspect that you are indeed on that cobbled road to nowhere-ville?
Take an inventory – set aside some time and space to sit down and really have a good think about what it is that you want out of your career. Remember, this is a personal inventory and there are NO right or wrong answers here, so be as honest as you can with yourself. The aim is to get to the nitty gritty of what it is that you want to achieve in your career – be it financial freedom, recognition and title, or to smash the ceiling. After all, if you don’t have any real idea about where you want to go, don’t all roads lead to nowhere?
Look to the relevant past - consider a time when you felt you were really going places in your career and ask yourself what was different - were you doing anything differently – was it a particular set of actions you were doing, was it attitude, or was it a combination of factors including a different job type? This will help to hone in on the changes that you need to start making.
Research – get an idea of what’s out there and available to you. You might be surprised by what’s on offer, and it may well spark an interest that meets many of your identified needs. Having trouble getting started? A really general search of jobseeker websites such as www.seek.com.au can give you a great idea of the careers that are currently in demand in your local area.
Get some guidance – now it may seem like I’m just spruiking for the sake of it here, but the truth is that meeting with a professional and accredited career developer can be invaluable in providing with guidance that is specific to YOU. Everyone’s career roads are different, and industry professionals are experts at helping you to narrow down not only a pathway but to also expand your understanding of exactly where your strengths and skills lie. Make sure that you see a qualified professional, ideally someone who is a member of an accredited body such as the CDAA (like THIS girl right here) – this will ensure that you are getting the most value for money as well as best-practice recommendations.
So, take control of your career vehicle, and I wish you happy travels down your new road!