Articles and News

Help - which career path should I take?


So many clients come to me knowing that they are not happy but not knowing where to go next. 

The DREAM process that I designed to help my clients create a career they love enables them to get the clarity that they need in order to move forward.  This clarity occurs at the end of the “R” of DREAM (Refine) and the rest of the process moves them towards that end goal.

If you want to create a career you love, this Refine phase is important for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, if you want to make a significant change to your current career, then exploring only one other career possibility is narrowing the field somewhat and potentially missing career possibilities that could be truly fulfilling.  Secondly, if you have lots of different career possibilities that are of interest then it can be overwhelming not knowing which one to go for.

If you are in either of these situations, then my challenge would be:

  • In scenario 1, do some more creative thinking, visualising and exploration of radical career possibilities and
  • In scenario 2, keep honing the options until you have a manageable variety of options to explore.

In this week’s email, I’m going to explore scenario 2: honing your options until you are in a position to make a decision.

Phase One: Research

Before the Refining stage, I do not advise rejecting any ideas from the list.  There are plenty of reasons you might dismiss a career off the bat, some of which I explored in a previous article, but I encourage you not to discard any before you’ve done some further research.

First of all, what do you need to know about that career possibility in order make a decision.  This could be practical things like: How much does it pay?  Can I do it from home?  What training and qualifications do I need?  What does a normal day look like?

Then think about who can help you answer these questions and find out more.  Look at your own network first but also reach out to professional bodies and thought leaders in the field you’re interested in.  Start conversations about what it’s like to work in that field and what it would take to steer your own career towards it.

Phase Two: Compare

By now, you may have eliminated some of the possibilities but perhaps you need some further help whittling down the remaining possibilities.  It is at this point you should start to compare the options.  I recommend giving a mark out of 10 to each of the following criteria:

  • Is this career option aligned to my core strengths?
  • Is this career option aligned to my core values?
  • Does this career option fulfil my career drivers?
  • When I picture myself in this career, do I feel engaged and energised?
  • Does it fulfil my financial needs?*
  • Can I fulfil any training requirements?*
  • Add any other questions that are important to you.

Phase Three: Experience

Now you might be left with one or two options that you’d like to explore.  It is really valuable to experience this career first-hand.  There are a few options you can explore here:
  • Work shadow – find someone who does what you want to do and ask if you can work shadow them
  • Volunteer – do some voluntary work in that field to get some exposure
  • Work experience – see if you can go and work somewhere for a week to really experience what it’s like
  • Interview a mentor – do some deep interviewing with an expert who may also be able to mentor you into that new direction

A quick client story here to show how valuable this is.

I was working with a teacher who had always wanted to work in a PR agency since she was a teenager.  However, she’d followed her parents into the teaching profession.  After several years in her successful teaching career, she was still hankering after this dream job. 

During the summer holidays from school she decided to do some work experience in a PR agency via a network introduction.  She HATED it!  She learned enough to know that this was not the path for her. 

I won’t tell you the end of the story now but I hope that illustrates what a valuable phase this one can be, particularly for anyone that is risk averse.


As I mentioned at the beginning, after the “Discover” and “Refine” phases of our DREAM process, what most clients find is clarity on what they need to do to tweak or pivot their career right now.  The rest of the DREAM process is about moving towards that.

Store your future possibilities*

One final point.  If you have any rejects on the cutting room floor from Phase Two which were rejected because of money or training requirements, please sweep them into a storage jar.  From time to time you may want to unscrew the jar and take a look at these possibilities.  These may be your career possibilities of the future.

As you can see, getting Career Clarity is not an overnight process, nor is it a “final destination”.  Look at your career as a work in progress, a winding path that may take you to unexpected destinations.  As long as you are regularly checking in with your strengths, values and your career drivers and aligning your career to them then you can expect to enjoy the journey!

If you would like this weekly blog sent directly to your inbox, as well as receive a copy of my “Top 3 Ways to Boost Your Career Happiness Right Now,” please click here.