Almost everyone is likely to feel ‘stuck’ about their career direction at some point, whether it is a dilemma about which type of internship or placement to apply for or which graduate job to snare. You should know that you are not the only one feeling this way and that it is also quite normal.
Confusion is the first step in the learning process. To find clarity you need to fight your way through the fog of not knowing which way to turn. It is a bit like having a great big knot in the lead of your earphones, you know that the harder you pull, the worse the knot will get. What it needs is a gentle teasing apart.
So first of all, stop and consider which thoughts are racing around your head:
- I don’t really want to do a placement in something I’m not sure about.
- Whatever I choose I’m going to do it for a long time so it’s got to be perfect.
- I don’t know if I’m good enough to do job ‘x’.
What all these have in common is a sense of fear: fear that you will make a mistake, won’t be good enough, will waste lots of time. Step back and ask the following questions:
- How will you know you feel sure about a job unless you give it a try? Most recruiters will value your work experience, even if it isn’t precisely what you end up applying for when you graduate.
- Do you think your first job will really be your last? Most people move through a range of job roles in their career. This isn’t a life-long choice but just the start.
- Chat to people doing the work. You’ll rapidly discover they were just like you a few years ago.
Fear is normal, confusion is normal, but to pull yourself out of this you need to listen to what your mind is fretting about, accept the uncertainty and decide that that’s ok, and if you need to chat to someone to help you, see a Careers Consultant! But remember that the only solution is to take action to move forward. Do placements, do internships, meet and chat to professionals, apply for jobs and enjoy the experience by feeling the excitement, not the fear!
Article signed by Tania Lyden, Careers Consultant