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Career Transitions and Possibilities

Have you explored the possibilities for your life?

Gerd Altmann/Pixabay
Source: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

I chose the topic “Career Transitions” for my Psychology Today blog posts because I liked the flexibility of the phrase. Almost any career topic I would choose to write about could be covered by the word “transitions.”

In my career, I have transitioned through a variety of career fields—retail management, human resources, social work, rehabilitation counseling, school psychology, personal counseling, and a variety of higher education administration titles, ultimately to being an executive director of career centers at several institutions. And now I’m transitioning again to devote my time to writing and consulting.

Many of you are transitioning as well. The COVID crisis has inspired a new wave of career exploration and examination. Some of you have chosen to use this time to rethink your old career goals. Do they still apply? If you’ve been working from home, do you want to return to full-time work in an office setting? Perhaps you were able to “indulge” yourself in a hobby or passion and now might want to make that your career. Or maybe it’s time to go back to school or seek training that will allow you to start a whole new path.

Whether you are seeking an opportunity with better working conditions, better salary, the chance to work-from-home, or for whatever reason, this is a perfect time to explore your options.

Or what I prefer to say: Consider your possibilities.

I keep a framed internet meme on my desk. It’s the sketch of a woman holding a cup of coffee with the words, “I love the smell of possibility in the morning.” Possibility inspires me every day.

Every time I started a new job, I saw possibilities. When I looked at opportunities to develop new programs or ideas or write new books, I saw possibilities. As a manager, I saw the many gifts and possibilities of the people I worked with. When counseling or coaching my students or clients, my favorite role was helping them see their possibilities. Often, I could see more possibilities than they were able to see. That, to me, is the essence of good career coaching. Seeing strengths and possibilities in others and helping them see them, too.

And now I see possibilities in my new writing and consulting career. So many ideas to write about. And the luxury of much more time to write. I will be sharing these over the next few years in this blog and elsewhere.

So now it’s your turn: What are your possibilities? What could you do if you opened your mind to new opportunities? If you don’t want to go back to what you were doing before COVID, what would you rather do? What needs to change? What do you want to change?

Here’s a simple way to start.

Last year, during the COVID lockdown, my colleague, Grace Foy, and I wrote a free workbook called “Picture Your Career.” Check out Section 1: “Developing Your Vision.” Read through the exercises and see which ones interest you. Try them out. It will only take 10-15 minutes.

Use what you learn to start exploring new ideas. Keep your focus on exploring ideas. Don’t force yourself to make decisions yet. Take the pressure off. You are just gathering information. Information about you, first of all.

I recently had the honor of taking over the writing of the classic career book, What Color is Your Parachute? The brilliant author behind this book, Richard Bolles, said that he hoped his career books would “help others understand themselves.” That’s the perfect way to start your post-COVID transition.

What will help you understand yourself? Take some time to think about this. I guarantee you have more possibilities than you currently see.

More from Katharine Brooks Ed.D.
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