Let’s set the scene: you’ve determined you want to get out of your super analytical and rigid role in corporate finance to scratch that itch you’ve always had to do something creative.
Or maybe it’s vice versa. For the purposes of this example, you’re looking into graphic design, personal styling and brand management/development for brands.
How on earth do you figure out which one is for you? (Note: This assumes you’ve already done a lot of digging and thinking to come up with these options.)
Here are a few considerations for how to think about and set up your exploration process:
Think about your career values.
These obviously meld into overall life values most of the time, but for the purposes of this exercise, really hone in on what matters to you from a career standpoint. Is it stability? Or is it variety and flexibility? What about those values makes them important for your work? Really understanding just how vital these things are to your work life will help you evaluate your options.
Write out what your ideal work environment looks like.
Throw in the kitchen sink: I want to know your ideal physical environment, day-to-day, colleague relationship, type of manager, your commute, what you’re doing (on a macro level- e.g. working with my hands, working solo, working in a team environment.
Ask yourself about what questions you have about each field.
And here’s the kicker, write at least some of those questions based on your values.
Yea, sure, some questions will revolve around skill gaps or average salary, which are not really tied to a value per se, but make sure you go back to those core values you pinpointed in step 1 and think about which specific questions would help you suss out whether that career path would support those values.
For example, maybe routine is important to you and you want your nights free for a variety of reasons. So perhaps understanding what a typical day-to-day is like would be a good start. And maybe once you start talking to people and networking, you uncover that the personal styling you want to do is a lot of nights and weekends.
Remember- we’re just info gathering now so no need to make a decision yet.
Find a way to organize your research in tandem.
I use an excel tool I created for my clients, but you can use any number of ways including a good old-fashioned journal. As you feel you have gathered enough info on one particular area, you can move on to other questions and areas to explore.
And remember- as you’re reaching out to your network for this, it’s important to also be building it continually. Attend events and ask your network for any intros they might find relevant for you.
The idea here is that at the end of this exploration mode, (which is not an overnight process!) you have enough information to make an educated, conscious decision that aligns with your values and just plain feels right.
Are you ready?!