Many of my clients face challenges in their job searches. For example, they may be looking for a job that is less in demand than the supply applying for the position. They may be considered over-qualified for a particular position but not qualified enough for a position one step up. This can wear on an individual during their job search.
Our History of Choices
One client of mine was holding onto a career option that he felt did not leverage the skills he really wanted to use, share his dearest values, or match his interests. Yet, this was a viable career path for him. Even though he knew he did not want to pursue it, he still wanted to consider it an option. He told me it was his “least-worst option”.
Many of us have been there in our lives, choosing the least-worst option. Remember when you had to quickly buy a car to replace your old one? You couldn’t afford any of the ones you wanted and had to select the “least-worst” car. Did you ever vote for a political candidate because she/he was the “least-worst” of all the candidates? What about when you bought concert tickets only a few days before the show and had to choose seats that were the least-worst location?
Changing Our Perspective
Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be another choice. However, in the course of your career, do you really want to seek out the least-worst option? Sometimes it might feel like we have little choice in the matter but, while we cannot control external factors, we can control our outlook and viewpoint towards our career.
My client decided to change his perspective on this new career option. Instead of framing the next step in his career as finding the least-worst option, he was going to identify his “best-good” career option. We concluded by setting his course of action to include:
- Identify careers that were a good fit based on his skills, interests, personality and values
- Layer in the job market demands
- Eliminate options based on his personal, external limitations
Those external limitations eliminated a few of his good options but, ultimately, he identified two paths that fit within his external constraints. The options weren’t his dream job, but they were the best options of many good choices. Sometimes the first step in our job search is re-framing what we are looking for in a career and our approach to finding our career path.