So I have been searching for a new career for a while, and it has been difficult, but along the way I have discovered a few things, about myself, about the process, and about people in general, so now its time to put those thoughts and ideas together.
A quick recap. I left/lost my position in November 2013, and have been looking to get back to work since then. I had two jobs since then, but they didn’t work out all that well. I am pursuing my Masters while I search for a career, and since I am retired from the service I don’t need to earn 100,000 a year, but it would be nice.
Lets start by assessing where you are at.
A number of websites and professionals will tell you to look at friends, contacts and partners to get connections. I think its admirable, but one of the first things I did (and its questionable if it is working, but it gave me a sense of direction) is to decide where you want to go. By this, do you want to stick to what you are familiar with industry wise, or do you want to change your career. I did my self assessment by creating a mind map (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map). If you have never used one, its an interesting exercise. Basically, by allowing your mind to flow in different directions, you can get a sense of where you want to be. For me, I had to decide if I wanted to stay in the defense industry and government service, or move out of that area. Granted I still had an income, so I wasn’t desperate for a job, but it was better than posting hundreds of resumes to job X, Y, and Z, and kept me focused on my chosen areas.
Note that a mind map isn’t a solution, its an opening for you to explore. Update it, change it, let it take you in different directions, and what i found is that, but doing a mind map, I can focus on the career path I want. The mind map will allow you to weigh careers versus what makes you happiest. Lets face it, anybody can work at McDonald’s, but is that what is going to make you happy? If not, then why pursue that?
A mind map exercise takes about 30 minutes if you focus, and gets better over time. Its simple yet effective, and can really open up ideas that you never thought were possible.
Next up. What your mind map tells you and what happens next?