Throwing mud at the career wall..?

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exploring a new career
I find sometimes when clients are looking for a new role, or even exploring a new career, there’s a sense that if they metaphorically throw enough mud at the wall, some of it just might stick. In the search for a new career, this can translate into sending in a dizzying amount of applications (some aimed too high level, some too low level, some just right). I understand the theory – more is better. It’s a numbers game. Right?! Well… not always, and probably not in this case. I would say a targeted, strategic and more considered approach will gain you a better result than the mud flinging approach will yield. And side bonus, you’ll keep your hands cleaner! (Important, especially in these times.) In the career counselling “Career Discovery” realm I see a similar pattern. Some people want to try out many things, in the hope that they might stumble across “the one”. This is not a bad approach for a younger person who will learn a lot about themselves in the process, gain some skills and contacts and know more about the world and what’s out there. For someone more mature, the clock is ticking. So throwing mud at the “what could I do next?” career wall is a process that is a lot less desirable, both in energy and outcome.

There is also the all-important opportunity cost – while you are chasing down that millionth idea, there are other things that are being neglected.

Investing time and effort and funds to understand yourself better, how your past has shaped you and what you’ve learned (and want to avoid in future) and what aligns well with who you really are is deep work that many don’t consider undertaking (or don’t know is available to them). 

Yet, mud slinging is ever popular. It can be driven by well meaning friends and acquaintances – “hey, why don’t you try this, or that?” or the well-intentioned but oft misguided… “I love doing this type of work, surely you will too?!” 

At this juncture you may well discover just how unique you actually are!

Defining your target area of best interest and alignment is valuable work that leads you to begin the “trying on” process, testing and iterating towards finding that sweet spot for you. 

creating pottery

Throwing mud at the wall by comparison is like a lottery – you might get lucky, but more than likely you are going to buy yourself an endless supply of “better luck next times”. It can be so very tiring, and confusing.

Rather than mud flinging or slinging, why not look firstly at yourself, and then at things that genuinely attract you or you find curious or interesting. Circling back to our metaphor, perhaps that could be shaping your career to be something that you can stand back and appreciate, knowing that you created it and it’s right for the unique person that is you.

2023-04-05T14:50:58+08:00November, 15th 2020|

About the Author:

Lois is a career counsellor, coach and facilitator with over 18 years' experience in leading groups and individuals through the process of career discovery. Consulting to leaders in sport, corporate and for-purpose organisations, she loves nothing more than helping you light a fire and have a passion for your work. Lois is Masters qualified (Career Development), Author of "Make Your Move" and a Churchill Fellowship recipient (2019) for career reinventions after cancer.