As a recruiter, most of the candidates I talk to in the course of my day seem to have a pretty good handle on the answer to that question. Most seem to have a path in mind.
But occasionally, I have had some candidates ask me for more advice than I have a right, or am trained, to provide. Once in a while, I will be interviewing a candidate who has been in one kind of work situation for a long time, or worked in one kind of industry or sector and now wants a change. I am not talking about a change to a different company in the same sector or different advertising agency that promises a promotion. I mean a CHANGE. A MASSIVE SHIFT. And they ask my advice. They tell me about what they have done in the past and then they share their passions, the things they have always wanted to do but have not yet done, and then they ask me, what do you think? How can I move from being a marketing manager to being a potter?
And here is where I have to be careful. If a candidate is, perhaps, choosing between two opportunities and wonders which would be the next best step, we, as recruiters could offer up some insights into what might be a good next move for long-term career growth, or we could, perhaps, help weigh the benefits offered by two companies to help the candidate make an informed choice.
But when those larger life choices, BIG CHANGE questions come up, that is where we, as recruiters, have to step out. And that brings me to the idea of Career Counselors. I, personally, happen to be a big believer in seeking out the help of these sorts of professionals, to help you weigh some of these larger questions. If you are looking for a way to explore these LARGE career shifts, life shifts, a good licensed career counselor can be a great way to get some insights. It can also be beneficial to be in career support groups where chatting with others who are in a search mode can be supportive, can inspire, can give you big light bulb ideas.
If you are looking for that SEISMIC SHIFT, consider reaching out to people who are trained to guide you, to help you get those inspired moments, at least as a starting place. Of course, this kind of exploration can also be done with therapists, spiritual leaders, trusted family members. You have to go with what works for you. The path to becoming that potter, or painter or master gardener, or yak farm operator is out there.
Just being in the question of what do I want to do when I grow up is the first place you have to get to and seeking out the people who can help to guide you is a good next step.
What do I want to be when I grow up? I am still trying to figure that out! But it is better than the alternative…