Hayfever, heat, broken sandals and traffic

•November 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So the counselling session was all booked. I was running a bit later than I had wanted but thought it would be ok. One of the reasons I was running late is that I had ducked by a chemist to get some antihistamines for my hayfever. My speed of ducking was not helped by the fact that on the way back to my car my sandal broke. Guess that is what you get for having cheap shoes made in Vietnam!

Anyway, it was a lovely hot day and I had been walking and not drinking enough water. I got in to my car, put the antihistamine in my mouth (wanted to feel a bit more perky for my counselling session), was grappling for my water bottle when I started to feel nauseous. I almost got the bottle of water to my mouth when I managed to vomit over the car. A very inauspicious start to my career counselling. Was nowhere near home to have the time to go home before my counselling session. However, I somehow managed to miss myself completely. Loads of tissues later (knew hayfever preparation had to be good for something) and I was on my way.

Then got caught in a traffic jam. The saving grace to this was that the career counsellor was stuck in the same jam.

The outcome? I actually had a good session and have some clear steps to take forward what I want to do.

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Narcissim

•November 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Ok so the last meeting was great. I think I enjoy talking about me and what I want to do way too much. This could become very addictive and very expensive.

But am I coming closer to what I want to do. Mentoring/counselling is featuring highly on the like to do list. I had to ask 5 friends what they thought I was good at but didn’t give myself credit for and mentoring came up quite a bit.

I think my concern is that it is all a bit worthy. Having worked for a not-for-profit and volunteered overseas, I am worried that I am doing things that make people think I am good person, rather than just being who I am.

I still like the idea of having my own bookshop. But not sure how realistic that really is with the way the market is changing, e-books etc.

But my big step last week was not quitting but asking to go part time 3 days a week. Am going to spend the other two days trying stuff out – will look for some casual work and also looking at volunteering opportunities.

I have also bought two books to read as part of this process of finding a job I love, Barbara Sher’s I could do anything if only I knew what it was and Richard Bolles What colour is your parachute? 2010. Will be interesting to see how they go as just from the brief skim in the bookshop they are quite different.

Too much analysing

•November 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So have just finished my homework for my next counselling session tomorrow.  I have had to do a mind map to think more clearly about two of my goals as well as looking at what skills I already have.  The other task was to ask 5-6 friends I had worked with what skills I have that I under rate.  Most have said mentoring/providing support to others which I knew most of them would say and is something I have not thought about seriously making a career in the past.  Trouble is you have to mentor or provide support in something not just have the nice idea about generally being helpful.

Will be good to have this meeting tomorrow as I have been analysing (or perhaps that should be obsessing) about what I want to do when I grow up.   Maybe two weeks between appointments is a bit too long for my overactive imagination.  Plus next week is the week when I finish my uni exams and hand in my notice.  Will be nice to get that off my mind even if I am a bit stressed about telling work.  Hopefully they will understand and the person who I think will not be very supportive of the decision is then going on leave…..  Nothing like a bit of timing.

 

 

 

Scary but exciting stuff

•October 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The meeting with the career counsellor was great.  Has made me think about what I do value in a job and how much my past jobs have not satisfied what I value.  I have always thought that I was better doing analysis etc. But after reflecting on what has made me happy in the past (cause lets be honest, not everything about my previous jobs has been awful), what MBTI has to say about my type and what I said I valued after doing on the online stuff, I really enjoy working with others (not supervising, hate supervising) but in a mentoring role.  I have done some mentoring in the past – helping people understand financial information and have gotten a real buzz when they say they now have the confidence to look at financial information on their own, questions what they are seeing and discuss it with finance people.

We also had a great talk about whether I go with gut feelings or not.  I do get great gut feelings, they are nearly always right.  But I come from a family where you are supposed to analyse and consider everything very carefully, which normally means I ignore those gut feelings which generally prove to be right!  So I think I have to learn how to have the courage of my convictions.

And the big thing my gut is telling me is to quit my current job.  I had been toying with the idea but had thought it was just a fantasy and not the responsible thing to do.  I am lucky that at the moment I don’t have any financial commitments (though I do live with my parents…)  Then the career counsellor said to just do it.  I thought about it and decided I would quit and had such a feeling of relief.  But then decided to wait until my uni semester is over so that it does muck around with exams etc.  So of course have now had time to overanalyse resigning and now wavering about my decision.  Am not very good at this being brave thing.  That feeling of relief was so strong and know I should pay attention to it!  Any advice on how to take such a big step?

Not the only one

•October 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I have been surprised by the number of friends who have said they are interested in hearing how the career counselling goes.  Ok so some of my friends I knew were not exactly enamoured with their job but have been surprised to get the comment from friends I thought were happy and content in what they were doing.  I guess it never hurts to assess where you are and where you are going.

I did catch up with the career counsellor the day after we were supposed to talk and was very impressed.  She even suggested I could visit my uni career counsellor and get help for free.  I had looked at the uni service but wasn’t that excited by what they were offering.  She has also agreed to a weekend meeting this weekend.   Ok so I know it may not be a fantastic time for her businesswise with the economy as it is but still pretty good if you ask me.

Also had homework to do.  I had to look at occupations on a website and write down which ones appealed to me and why – the website sets out key characteristics of a number of jobs (over 200 I think) .  The website address is:

http://online.onetcenter.org/find/

if anyone is interested.  The task was to think about what careers I would like regardless of whether they were feasible or not.  Was very nice to go back to dreaming I was 18 and starting afresh.  Is it too late at 40 to try again?  The jobs I liked the look of were quite varied.  Archealogist, forensic technican (too much watching CSI???), travel agent and the list went on.

I also had to look at what I valued at work which was much more difficult.  The website for doing this was:

http://www.stewartcoopercoon.com/executive_placement/tests/career_values.htm

Really had to try and think what I valued rather than what I thought I should value.  Which was not easy.  I think I like busy workplaces, I admit to liking a bit of drama at work and love helping people.  So what is the right job for these values? Did make me realise that my current job is a complete mismatch to my values.

Will see where this all leads with my meeting tomorrow.

Not a successful start

•October 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So this career change has not started so successfully.  Decided not to apply for the job that I wasn’t qualified for.  Responding to selection criteria when you don’t have a clue what the selection criteria even means is probably a good indication that the job is not for you.

Then was supposed to have an introductory session with the career counsellor.  Was already for her to call me and nothing happened.  She had written down my phone number wrong.  Do I want to trust someone who has phone number issues?  Anyway we have rescheduled for tomorrow so will see how it goes.  Had a look at other possible career counsellors, but I really like the package they offer. Plus I get to do Myer Briggs again.  Love those assessment type things.

This career change stuff actually started just over a year ago.  Was burnt out in my old job and spoke to a career counsellor which led me to quitting my job and starting a Masters in Demography.  Have really enjoyed the Masters but the only catch is I hadn’t actually worked out where it would lead.  With hindsight perhaps not the smartest move but hey I have always been a bit impetuous and I have had fun at Uni.  But hopefully this next round of counselling will be a bit more focussed.

Does the perfect job exist?

•October 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Okay so I didn’t expect to be back living with my parents at age 40.  Added to the fact I am slowly dying of boredom in my current job I seem to have taken a wrong turn somewhere down the line.  Ok so I know with the current financial crisis I probably should be just glad to have a job but I always dreamed of that job that made you leap out of bed in the morning like the cereal commercials on tv.  But maybe they don’t really exist? When I think about my friends the ones who actually enjoy what they do are such a small minority, maybe the perfect job is a pipe dream.

But being the eternal cynical optimist; as a friend of mine always says you have to start out an idealist to become a cynic; I have decided to get off my pyjama clad ass and do something about where I seemed to have landed.

Step one is start applying for new jobs.  Tricky when you are 40 and still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up but you have to start somewhere.

Step two is career counselling on Tuesday.  Ok so maybe step one should come after step two and this could probably explain why I am in the situation I am in. But patience has never been my virtue and the chances of getting the job I am applying for are pretty slim, given the lack of qualifications I have that match the job.  So what have I got to lose.