Small Steps to Career Change

Finding a new job can seem like an impossible task if you are thinking of it as a single item on a checklist. This can lead to "all or nothing" thinking -- each day you either find the job or you don’t. Putting yourself under that kind of win-lose pressure can freeze up the motivation of even the most optimistic person. 

There are actually many pieces to finding the right job -- the key to moving forward is to recognize and celebrate all the small victories and learning opportunities along the way.

When I was in graduate school, I remember one of my counseling classes focusing on the word compartmentalize. It means to “divide into sections or categories.”

I have always liked that word because it makes sense to break things down. When life gets overwhelming, I try to remember to take a deep breath and find ways to compartmentalize whatever I'm facing down into smaller steps.  

I recently read a good article on using smaller steps in your job search. Check it out:

When you begin a job search you can be overwhelmed with many questions and possibilities such as:

  • Where do I begin? 
  • Should I work on my resume or start networking?
  • What do I want to do?
  • Should I look online for jobs?  

If you expect to immediately find a single solution to all those questions, you won’t be allowing yourself the time and space to fully explore the possibilities available to you.

When I work with clients, I find it best if we begin with the basic question, “What do you want to do first to begin your job search?”

Starting with something you value makes you feel good and it's usually something you can easily accomplish. Then, you keep asking and answering more questions until a plan begins to take shape. It definitely helps to have a thinking partner to keep you on track -- whether that is a friend or a career coach.

Finding that new job is a big undertaking and getting started with that first small step is the key.  After that, it's just a matter of "step…repeat…step…repeat."