Problem Solving


In order to claim you’re good at solving problems, you must have not only had problems arise in the past, you must have successfully resolved them. If you claim you’re an expert at resolving major problems, it logically follows that you’ve not only had major problems in your life, but again, you’ve eliminated them.

What however, defines ‘major problems’? When an interviewer asks you to share examples of having resolved some major problems in your past, you have to hope that your definition of a major problem and theirs is a shared understanding. If you share something they perceive as a relatively easy problem to have faced, and you view it as a major challenge, you might not be up to the demands of the job being discussed.

You have to also be mindful of what you perceive as an acceptable compromise in resolving challenges and problems compared to the person you’re speaking with. When they don’t tip their hand or react in any way to how you describe the steps you took to resolve the problem you’re relating, it can be difficult to know if you’re on the right track with your answer. There may be no way to amend your answer, provide additional commentary or even move to a better example altogether.

One of the poorest things you can do is claim to have none whatsoever in your past that come to mind. This response either comes across as a flat-out lie or if you somehow come across as believable, it only serves to prove you’re inexperienced when it comes to resolving problems. Neither of the two responses to your claim will help you if they want a problem-solver.

Having had problems is a given in your personal or professional life. I’ve yet to meet the person who has sailed along without having had any problem come up. Owning up to having problems in your past is not a weakness. What is of significant interest is your reaction to the problem(s) you’ve elected to share. So faced with a problem, did you a) ignore it, b) face it, c) tell someone else to fix it, d) make it worse, e) make sure the circumstances that led up to the problem were changed so it didn’t recur or f) give up or give in and let it overwhelm you.

One key to dealing with big problems is learning how to tackle small ones; and I mean small ones. Finding yourself ready to go to work but being unable to find where you left the car keys for example. Hardly a life or death problem, but nonetheless at that moment, a problem that must be resolved. Retracing your steps, asking for help from other family members, checking the usual places, the pockets of whatever you wore the night before, all good. Finding them still in the outside door where you mistakenly left them overnight, maybe the lesson learned is hanging up the keys in the same spot from then on as your usual practice so the problem does not arise again.

Building on the idea of adjusting your behaviour and hanging up keys each time in the same place, you can apply this lesson to other situations. You learned to act in a way that anticipates a potential problem and head it off before it occurs. If nothing changes in your behaviour, you’ll repeat misplacing your keys. While that might be frustrating, the leap in reasoning is that you’ll repeat behaviours that bring on self-inflicted problems in other areas too, and that could be costly for an organization when your problems become theirs.

All problems have two things in common; a goal and one or more barriers. There’s something to be achieved and there’s one or more things which need to be addressed and resolved to remove the problem and reach the desired goal.

Successful people are often viewed as people who face their problems head-on, tackling problems before them and reaching their goals. When they do so, they not only reach the goals they desired, they reinforce their belief that they can solve problems. Their confidence rises, other people come to regard them as capable and recognize their problem-solving skills.

People who struggle often hope problems will go away if they ignore them, or they fail to resolve the problem even when they try because they lack the resources or skills to do so. Their past experiences with problems did not prepare them sufficiently to handle the current problem, so they make what others see as poor decisions which either allow the problem to continue or even become bigger.

If your confidence is low when it comes to solving problems, asking for help is a smart thing to do. There’s no shame in knowing your limitations and seeking help but do make an effort to learn from the person helping you. When someone does something for you, that may resolve the problem this time, but it may not prepare you for when the same problem or one of a similar nature comes up again. Having someone guide and support you while you solve the problem will improve your confidence in not only resolving the immediate problem, but similar ones as they arise.

You’ll likely experience failures and setbacks when facing problems; this is normal and okay. Problems will always come along in life. They really present opportunities to grow.

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3 Key Components To All Interview Answers


Many of the job seeking people I’ve met are totally confused and frustrated with the lack of success they’ve had in trying to land employment. While some aren’t getting interviews in the first place, there are a large number who get their share of interviews but always seem to finish 2nd or worse when it actually comes to getting a job offer. “What am I doing wrong?” they ask.

The short answer is they’ve failed to market themselves to the needs of the employer. In fact, if you’re an Employment Counsellor or Job Coach and you’re having a hard time figuring out why the people you’re working with aren’t getting job offers, I suggest you interview them as an employer would. Of course, you have to know both what you’re listening for and how it’s delivered to knowledgeably give the job seeker useful and relevant interview feedback.

Let me highlight what I’m speaking of with a concrete example. Suppose the job posting indicates that teamwork is one of the key requirements for the job. A lot of interviewees will pick up on this and be sure to mention in the interview that teamwork is one of their strengths. They might bring this up right at the beginning when asked to tell the interview a little about themselves or possibly later when asked about their strengths. While this sounds good, is it enough? No.

Granted it’s a start, but simply naming an attribute falls short. Perhaps you’re thinking that where I’m headed and what I’m about to say is you need to offer an example to prove your teamwork claim. Well, only in part. Yes of course you must have a real example that proves you’ve worked successfully in a team setting in the past to make your claim believable. So is this good enough? Again, No.

You’re only two-thirds of the way to the best answer. So, you’ve made a claim of teamwork and you’ve provided an example from your past that demonstrates your teamwork. Fine. Now, if you really want to stand apart from the competition, you simply have to answer the implied question, “So how does that help me?” In this case, the, ‘me’ being the company, employer or specifically the supervisor considering you for the job.

So in the teamwork example, you could close your answer by noting how working cooperatively with your colleagues creates a seamless experience for customers; supporting one another on the work or sales floor improves morale, picking up the slack when a co-worker isn’t at their best or is off ill results in clients still being served well, resulting in an improved client experience. As a result, their impression of your organization improves, they spread that reputation, and your business profitability grows as a result. Bingo! You’ve now made a clear connection between your past teamwork accomplished elsewhere and how what you’ve done there will translate into the employment opportunity being discussed here.

Unfortunately, too often when I first meet people and do a mock interview, they’ll say something like this:

“I’d be happy to tell you about myself. I’m organized, detail-oriented, work hard and enjoy working in a team.”

Even if all 4 things above are pulled right from a job posting, this alone isn’t good enough. Many people will be smart enough to name what they should tell the employer. Many of the same people will even be coached well enough to give examples from their past demonstrating one or more of the skills. Few however as I say – and this is THE key to successful interviewing – answer the implied but ever-present question, “So how does that help me?”

I’ve essentially repeated my point now twice. Why? Simple. IT”S IMPORTANT! I know the tendency of readers to read quickly and skim. When done, many might feel it was a good read and yet 3 minutes later revert right back to doing what they’ve always done; that’s human nature.

But you – yes you…

You might be one of the few who does more than just pass the time reading this with your favourite beverage in hand. You might actually re-read the above and do more than say, “Well that was interesting.” You could be one of the few who will actually approach your interview preparation differently. Whether you’re a job seeker or someone who assists and supports those looking for work, you might opt to assure all three steps are in the interview answers you provide in the future. The three steps again are:

  1. State the desired skill the employer has identified as a need.
  2. Provide an example demonstrating your use of that skill in the past.
  3. Relate how that skill benefits the potential employer here in the present.

When you do the 3rd and last step as part of your interview answers on a regular basis, you accomplish one major thing successful interviewees do; you show clearly that you get it. You understand WHY the skill is integral to the job. Employees who cognitively get it, don’t let that skill ebb and flow on the job, or just do teamwork because the boss says so. They do it because they’ve bought in to the critical importance of the skill on the job and they share a high premium on the value of the skill.

Please pass this on; it’s important! Your kindness in sharing is appreciated at my end but more importantly may greatly help another.

Not The Judgemental Type? Yes You Are!


Well it seems pretty harsh to say, maybe to some insensitive or cruel, but the fact remains that you’re being assessed and judged by each person around you daily. Yes, those you talk with, those who see you coming down the sidewalk, those you meet while shopping and so why is it any different to expect it carries on in job interviews as well? And just so I go all in with this assessing and judging angle, I’m including you as well; don’t think you’re immune to judging others.

Now maybe you’re the type who doesn’t agree with my point of view? “Not me! I accept everyone for who they are! I don’t judge others lest I be judged myself! Really I don’t!” Oh get over yourself, you certainly do assess and judge others, and you need to own up to it. Assessing others and forming opinions and judgements is a good thing; why it’s kept you safe and alive all these years!

Prove it you say? Prove you’re this judgemental person? Fine. You’re walking down a street in the evening in a neighbourhood you’re not familiar with. Coming towards you is a person with a grimace on their face, they’re muscular and they don’t seem to be sharing the sidewalk. Nobody else is about. Something inside you starts pumping some adrenaline, and you start looking for alternatives such as a store to walk in until they pass, or you think about crossing the street, looking around for help if it’s needed etc. At the very least, you clutch your purse or wallet a little tighter, avert your eyes at all costs, and lower your head, stepping up your pace and leave lots of space to avoid the encounter. You are in fact, assessing your safety and potential danger the person coming towards you represents. This could keep you from being assaulted, robbed, etc. Sure they could have that grimace because they’ve just broke a tooth while working out with the young man at the gym they’ve taken on in their role of Big Brother, but you’re not taking any chances!

Another example of assessing and judging? What about dating? Do you just go up to the first person you meet and say, “Hi! I know nothing about you, I don’t care whatsoever about how you look, what you think or believe, and being totally non-judgemental about absolutely everyone I see, I’d like to date you, but no more or less than anyone else. Shall we?

That’s ludicrous. Of course you assess and judge people. You might be initially attracted by their physical appearance, then you continue to assess them as you talk, finding out what they think, like to do, their background etc. and you either change or reinforce your first impression.

Assessing others and judging them is something we all do. We assess possible careers for what we’d find enjoyable and worthwhile. We assess the distance an employer is from where we live, we judge the time it will take to get there and home, we assess the co-workers we work with and we even try to change some people to help them realize their potential. We make good choices and bad choices, some that reward us and some that we regret. We choose and judge potential partners – again with varying degrees of success.

While on that subject of partners, we might date a number of people in our teens and early twenties, learning as we go from the relationships what we really want in a long-term partner. The more we date, the more we find what we like, what we’ll accept and what we want to avoid in the next main squeeze. (Main squeeze? Who says that anymore?!)

Jobs and careers are no different. We take a job in our teens and find out what we like and don’t. We soon learn what we’d like to do more of, what we’re good at, or what we want to avoid in future jobs. Every job, just like every relationship has its pros and cons. Even in the best relationships, there are some things we’d like to improve; some quirks or things we’d change if we could. So too with jobs, even the best jobs have some aspects we’d alter if we could.

Now some people hold out for the perfect job; you know, the ONE that will give them purpose, define their life and really make a difference in the world. What it is remains a mystery, but when it comes along they’ll know. They become so fixated on finding this particular job or career that all other jobs become entirely unacceptable. I believe it’s more the IDEA of the perfect job they’re really after.

If you’re looking for the job which will define your purpose in life, may I humbly suggest there isn’t one. That doesn’t mean you’ll spend your life unsatisfied; rather, I believe there are multiple jobs that will bring you immense satisfaction and fulfillment. The idea that there’s only one on the planet you’re destined for is what I debate.

So my advice? Work.

Take a job and invest yourself in it. Assess as you invest in it, judge what you’re good at and what you want to do more of. If the job doesn’t bring you the measure of satisfaction you’d like, move on. Learning never stops.

 

Aging And Job Searching


“Well, my age is a barrier that’s for sure. I mean, come on, I’m 48 and employer’s look at a guy like me and they want to go with someone younger.”

“Well, I’m not as young as I used to be. Employer’s look at me and just see an older person. They want someone younger, prettier. Oh I’ve got curves, but their in the wrong places.”

Age. Is it working for you or against you? Age is a curious thing to me. I mean on the one hand we’re aging every second of every day, and chronologically we can’t do anything about it if we wanted to stop it or reverse it. On the other hand, our thoughts are well within our power to control. What we think, how we choose to think definitely is. As our thoughts guide and steer our actions, we can opt to behave anyway we so choose – and make no mistake it is a conscious choice.

The two opening quotes are from real people; the first a 48-year-old man and the second a 50-year-old woman. The two statements both make comments about what employer’s are looking for when they hire, but as an Employment Counsellor working with them, the two statements say more to me about how the person see’s themselves than anything else.

I recall with great fondness and admiration a woman by the name of Anne. When we met, Anne was 64. I knew her age and had her résumé in hand before I met her. My instinctive reaction was to make some assumptions about her. Hmm… 64. Her best years were likely behind her and I wondered about the kind of work she’d be after and what kind of physical shape she was in which would affect her performance.

When I met Anne I was so impressed. Here was a woman who obviously took great care to look healthy and vibrant. Her hair was neat, styled beautifully, and her makeup was applied with care and expertise. She obviously cared about her appearance. There were no furrowed browns, her mouth wasn’t set in a grimace, she didn’t shuffle with her shoulders bowed forward in submission to the years passing. She walked with purpose, shoulders back, her smile was electric and her eyes warm and full of life.

Now before you think she doesn’t have her share of problems, let me assure you not only does she have her share, she’s got enough for a few people. An abusive ex-husband, lost property, bankruptcy, adult children who mistreat and abuse her, a huge slide in social standing, health scares; yep, she’s got lot’s of reasons to feel sorry for herself and then choose to let that sorrow turn to bitterness.

Anne however believes in the positive. While there are many things in life she cannot control, her personal appearance and her attitude are two things she feels she not only can, but must hold on to. Age is something Anne is proud of at 64. “Why would I choose to worry about something that I cannot change?” she often said. Anne not only got a job when I was partnering to help her, she got multiple offers. Would you believe 5? It’s true.

So how does she do it? First of all, she’s reprogrammed her thinking. I cannot state how critical it is to believe you’ve got what it takes to succeed, for when the opinions of others threatens your self-confidence, your self-perception is the anchor that keeps you grounded. If you choose to see yourself solely as others see you, then you’re dependent upon others for your self-worth. If they like you, you’ll like yourself. If they tell you you’re too old, too weak, too frail etc., you’re self-worth plummets.

As you read this, check your posture. Are your shoulders hunched over? Are the muscles in your face tense? If you smile – go ahead and try it now – do you feel a release in tension? That tension you’re holding as in your natural facial expression might be coming off to others as grim, overly serious; negative in general. Anne smiles constantly. She lights up others when she approaches them. I’ve noticed that as she speaks with people around her, they too start to smile when they face her.

If you’re older and looking for work, take some care with your appearance, the energy in your voice, the fit of the clothes you wear; take care of your health, to the extent you can, walk with purpose and smile. As for your words, listen and curb any tendencies towards the negative. Choose to look for and comment on the positives.

There are always going to be people competing with you for employment; many of them younger as you grow older. The one person you cannot allow to beat you however, is yourself. If you allow yourself to take the easy cop-out; I’m too old – well, perhaps you are. But chronologically speaking, there are older people than you who will win those same jobs because they show a vitality and positivity that gets rewarded. They don’t in short, beat themselves before even trying.

This change in attitude is not something that can be instilled within you unless you yourself invite it in and then make the conscious decision to own it. Take pride in your experience, your knowledge, your age!

Problems In Addition To Unemployment?


If you’re out of work its a pretty safe bet that the lack of a job isn’t the only problem you’re facing. Quite the opposite is likely the case; you’ve got a growing list of issues that would seem to be multiplying.

As these multiple issues arise, you’ve also likely come to doubt your ability to handle things effectively, and this is yet another thing that’s giving you reason for concern, because handling things effectively so they didn’t get out of hand used to be a strength of yours. Now though, well, you’re doubting yourself. And this self-doubt is happening more and more isn’t it?

Here’s the thing about problems; we all get them from time-to-time. For many people, the problems can be anticipated and quickly averted; say in the case of knowing you’ve got a bill to pay by the end of the month. The smart thing to do would be to pay the bill, avoiding any more charges for a late fee and then crossing this potential problem off your list. Seems easy enough.

The thing about mounting problems however is that when one problem comes along, it often brings several more. So not only is a particular bill due, there could be several due, and just as you’re thinking it’s going to be difficult to pay all the bills, this is precisely when the furnace acts up, the curling shingles on the house you didn’t repair or replace blow off completely, the dog has an untimely medical visit to the vet clinic and suddenly the washing machine is knocking so loud you can longer ignore it. Then your child innocently reminds you it’s hotdog day at school and they’ll need the permission form signed and $3.00 to cover a dog and a drink. That’s the last straw!

All that pressure and strain erupts like Mount Vesuvius, and you’re snapping at people one moment and apologizing the next. Great! Yet another thing you’ve got to worry about! You’re losing it! Sound familiar?

Thing is, the above scenario is more common than you’d like to think. It’s not just you experiencing these issues, it’s many of the people around you – even though on the outside, they – like you, are doing a really good job of appearing totally in control. Why, you’d never guess from looking at them that they’ve got a similar set of problems all their own.

There’s a certain irony you know in that when problems first arise, many people don’t mind sharing them with others, but as the problems mount and multiply, sharing with anybody all the problems we’ve got becomes less and less an option. You see, it’s in sharing our problems with others that we often find workable solutions. Perhaps what you’re dealing with now is a problem someone else has recently dealt with and put behind them. Even if you don’t get a ready-made solution from sharing your problem, just talking it out to a receptive ear is healthy; better for you than you might know.

Another good reason for talking through the things you’re dealing with – or rather finding hard to deal with – is that you’re usual good judgement isn’t what it was. This isn’t a long-term issue to worry over in addition to everything else – let me stress this. However, at this particular moment, right now, your decision-making skills are under pressure. The result? You think you’re making the best decisions possible but to outside, objective people looking in, those decisions are questionable at best and poor at worst.

So, what to do? First, do you have someone you can confide in with confidence? You know, someone who you can trust? If you do, ask for their ear and tell them how much you’d appreciate sharing some of your immediate challenges and worries. You may get some ideas and possible solutions, but even if they only listen, that’s a start. If you have someone, great. Remember, this person you’d like to confide in won’t judge you or tell you to keep your problems to yourself. If such a person isn’t easily found, seeing a Mental Health Counsellor through a local Mental Health organization might be an option. Often at no charge, you’ll get a confidential appointment, judgement-free and yes, maybe some strategies to deal with some of your current problems.

You’re smart enough to know that a problem ignored doesn’t usually resolve itself or just go away. A problem ignored usually escalates and becomes a bigger problem over time. Facing the problem head-on might not seem like something you can take on at the moment, but it may be exactly the thing to do. If it helps, start tackling a relatively minor problem and clear it from your mind. You’ll feel better! Don’t immediately worry about the big problems you’ve yet to deal with until you acknowledge your small start and give yourself credit for this success.

Could be that the income from a job will resolve many of your worries – especially the financial ones. However, would tackling some problems outside of getting a job be a better place to start? Perhaps. You see without tackling these other issues, you might not do as well as you need to be in a new job, and problems ignored could mean time off to deal with them – resulting in losing the job. Only you can decide what’s the best strategy for you given what you’re experiencing.

The Climate Dictates What You Hear


There are a lot of jobs where one person listens to another to offer a service. Mental Health Workers, Social Workers, Employment Counsellors, Teachers, Psychologists, Addiction Workers, Real Estate or Investment Brokers just to name a few.

In all these occupations, the degree to which the provider of the service creates a trusting atmosphere often dictates the length of time the consumer of the service needs to fully share and disclose. Most people are pretty good at keeping what’s really going on – the BIG stuff, sufficiently buried in a conversation, revealing the small stuff as a testing ground.

I know when I meet someone, I make the point of saying I’m going to do my best to earn their trust by creating a safe, trusting atmosphere. The quicker they come to fully trust me and share what’s really going on – the big stuff – the quicker I’ll be able to personalize the experience for them; addressing their experiences and making the experience richer.

In short, I can only help someone with what I know to be their issues if those same issues are shared with me. If a person gets around to opening up with me late in our time together, that leaves less time for an in-depth response if they’d prefer one over me being a sounding board or an empathetic ear only.

Now if words alone were all someone needed to open up and share their biggest, darkest thoughts, fears and struggles, “Trust me” would suffice. Yeah, most people have heard these uttered before and been burned trusting those they felt could be trusted, eventually to be let them down. Those same people are ironically, often part of the problems people present.

Actions which support the words spoken are much more effective at creating a trusting atmosphere. So when you’re in a job where listening to people and providing help is involved, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that those same people before you are listening and watching. In a group setting, they want to first see how you respond to other people who open up a bit. Do you make light of what somebody shared? Do you seem interested or uncomfortable? If someone in a group shares something personal, did you give them an appropriate response or steer the conversation back to your own agenda?

In my job, I hear a lot of personal tragedies, I see the pain and shame on a lot of faces as people tell me things they’ve held inside for a long time. Every so often someone says, “I don’t know why I even told you; I haven’t shared that with anybody else. I said more than I’d planned on telling you.” If you’ve ever had someone say this or something similar, you know first-hand what a responsibility and privilege comes with such a disclosure.

Of course if you haven’t the time to listen to someone or the supporting resources to offer up when someone takes you up on your offer to listen, you should be careful of inviting the disclosure in the first place. After all, you may not like a lot of what you hear; what you hear could be more than just uncomfortable. Be ready to feel angry, shocked, troubled, concerned and if you’ve never feel these things you may not be as emotionally invested as you might or should be. I don’t mean you take on their issues; never that. However, taking what someone discloses, holding it for a time with care and sensitivity, then returning it to them in a way they can better carry the load can be more of a help than you know.

You’d think in some cases, that one’s position alone puts us in a position of trust; that it should come automatically. The biggest place of trust for most people is their parent or parents. “You can tell me anything” is something a parent might say, but children know that they can often only disclose so much to a parent. How many kids have kept their gender identification secret? An unexpected pregnancy hidden, an accident with the family car, or problems with bullying.

It’s not enough to say, “you can tell me anything.” People are often conflicted about wanting to share things – big things – but also afraid of ridicule, embarrassment, hurting the listener in the process, etc. Sharing often makes a person feel vulnerable, open to judgement; and if they respect you greatly, they may not want to risk having you think less of them for their behaviour, weakness, poor choices – past and present.

Shut down, dismissed, ignored, not believed; these are also the kinds of things people who want to open up and share are afraid of. “You don’t know what you’re talking about”, “You’re smarter than that”, “I don’t want to hear this!” are examples of being shut down and dismissed.

Fail to create an atmosphere of trust and you add another worry to the person you’re trying to help who may be burdened to the point of becoming numb and paralyzed.

A key is to find out what the person disclosing would like as an outcome. Are they looking for solutions or just an ear? Rushing to ‘solve their problem’ is often NOT what they want. When you, “solve” another’s problem yourself, you remove the learning moment, seize the empowerment you could have left them with and keep them dependent.

 

Stuck On What To Do; What To Be


Still trying to figure out what your purpose in life is? You know, that ONE thing you were put here on Earth to do? This certainly is one of the big ones; one of those questions that has a lot of implications.

When asked how they’ll know when they’ve found the right job or career, some reply, “I’ll just know”, while others will say, “It will just feel right.” However, what if – and it’s just a possibility of course – what if you were actually meant to dislike the job or career you’re meant to do? What if you’re supposed to struggle with it, fight against it, coming to appreciate the hard work involved, (mental or physical) required to do it well? What if in the end, it’s all the effort that goes into the job that makes the work more meaningful? Maybe for these people, it would never have, “just felt right” in the beginning at all?

Of course to many people, they want to discover THE job; the one they were destined for. Here’s something though to ponder… When we look back at history and talk of people of note, we in the present day brand these people for the occupations they held when they became famous. So we talk about Shakespeare the bard, Churchill the Prime Minister, Charlie Chaplin the actor or Roberta Bondar the astronaut. What we don’t talk of is the job or jobs these same people held earlier in their lives. Why? Because those jobs were of less significance to the masses. Were Churchill a Newspaper Boy or Shakespeare a farmer for a stint, we neither know nor care. But isn’t it true that the people they became were in fact shaped by who they once were? What they once did?

Take me for a current day example. Meet me as an Employment Counsellor and you might imagine this is all I’ve ever done. If I have a positive impact on you and you admire me for what I’m able to share with you or you appreciate my ability to support you as you move forward, you’ll always recall me as Kelly Mitchell the Employment Counsellor. However, I’ve sold shoes, worked in a bowling alley, been a Cooperative and New Games Trainer, and more. Those weren’t the jobs that made me a person of note in your own life; but I’ve been shaped by those jobs nonetheless.

The same is true of you. Wherever you ultimately end up, when you look back at your career or collection of jobs, you’ll see value in all the things you’ve done that shaped you along the way. This includes the positive experiences and yes, the ones which at the time were hard to go through, didn’t work out at all, or you performed well at but just had to change. We are all the sum of our experiences.

Trying to figure out what’s next so that you move in the direction you were always destined to go in and finally, “get it together” may or may not be possible. It could be that yes, you’ve been sufficiently stimulated to move in a direction that will bring you satisfaction and fulfillment. If so, great for you!

On the other hand, you might still be in a period of flux; that is, a time of confusion and change. Maybe all this struggle you’re having in trying to figure it out isn’t over. This doesn’t sound very encouraging or hopeful does it? I mean, if you’ve tried to figure it out for years and you feel no closer to doing so, what kind of hope or optimism can you have for the future? Will it always be a mental struggle to find that thing that makes you happy?

What if we accepted for a moment that there wasn’t one thing and one thing only after all? What if there isn’t just a single career that we were meant to do or someone we were meant to become? Maybe what’s right for us, what we were destined to do all along is a collection of various jobs and different types of work. Perhaps it’s a collection of experiences that taken together makes us the people we’ll become.

So when I was happy selling shoes, maybe I was in the right job at the time, although it’s not a good fit for me here in the present. For all I know, I might find that selling shoes is right for me in the future by the way. Maybe running my business for 16 years was the ideal thing for the Kelly of the 80’s and 90’s. But Kelly in 2018? I’m happy and stimulated being the best Employment Counsellor I can be. In fact, it’s that whole collection of earlier jobs and work that benefits those I help in my current job!

Now you. YOU! Feeling anxiety and pressure – maybe even depression or that feeling of being paralyzed as you try to figure it out? Understandable – completely. You’re feelings are valid. This is after all, one of the BIG ones – “What should I do?”

While you may not know yet what you should do, what is obvious is that it’s NOT what you’re currently doing. So if you’re stuck and doing nothing, continuing to do nothing isn’t going to get you closer to it. Do something. Act. Talk. Invest yourself. Work. Experience the value of experience.