I love collecting information.
I have a file cabinet in my office, where I keep newspaper clippings and notes in brightly-colored file folders. Everything else I gather into folders on my computer – articles, reports, ebooks, ideas, and mind-maps.
But the flip side is that I can too easily get lost in the gathering. I collect information that’s totally useless. Or spend way too much time procrastinating researching. I tell myself, “just a little more information, and then I’ll be ready to get going.”
Researching careers can be like this.
The first stage of a career change can be quite exhilarating, as you discover who you are and what you want to do.
But then comes the research stage, a perilous place for people like me, full of twists and turns. Many career changers, excited and convinced about the “rightness” of their new path, stall at this point.
Whether gathering information or researching careers:
- Have a focus. It’s easy to get sidetracked when browsing the internet. That’s why it’s so important to come away from the discovery stage with a clear vision of what you want to do. Approaching your research intentionally doesn’t mean you’re cutting off future options. If your current interest doesn’t pan out, you can always move on to the next on your list.
- Know when enough’s enough. Realize there will never be a point where you have all the information you need. There’s just too much out there. Be content with “enough.”
- Take at least one action a day, even while you’re researching careers. Get away from your computer. Build your network – get in touch with your existing contacts, talk to people who are working in the field you’re interested in, and attend association events. Take some time to upgrade your skills, if needed.
Above all, do whatever it takes to maintain the inspiration and excitement you felt during that first stage.
And speaking of researching careers, I’ve listed a few websites and books on my Career Change Resources page. Maybe you’ll find some information there to add to your own collection.
What do you do to get past the research stage?