Career clarity?  Ever heard of it?  Me neither.

Well actually, that’s not entirely true.

Before this year, I’d never heard of the term but in actuality, I’ve spent my entire working life helping others achieve career clarity individually, in small groups, following a structured process or pursuing it organically. 

So what is career clarity, you ask?  In basic laymen’s terms, “career clarity” is the process of identifying your best career fit and charting the related path to get there.

Now that we have this definition – would you say that you have career clarity right now?If your answer is yes, then the next question would be whether that has always been the case. 

In other words, have you always known what you’ve wanted to do for work?  And has it been one continuous straight path for you?  Or, are you amongst the many for whom career clarity goes in and out of focus over time?  Or for whom the path has been more like a winding road with twists and turns along the journey?

Single Versus Multiple Career Paths

We tend to associate straight, single focused career paths with our parents’ generation (or Baby Boomers) for whom it was not uncommon to work for one employer for their entire career and to work for the primary purpose of providing security for themselves and their families. 

Whereas, with other generations (e.g., Gen X, Gen Y) it has been more common to work for several employers over the course of a lifetime, to switch careers one or more times, or to be more motivated by fulfilling work rather than just for pay. 

And in today’s environment, we are seeing a significant boom in entrepreneurship and small business start ups. 

While some of this is likely due to the negative impact COVID has had on employment opportunities with larger companies, the truth is that entrepreneurship was growing exponentially even before COVID hit and has been the backbone of the world economy for decades.

Whether you’ve opted for a straight or winding path, everyone could likely benefit from additional career clarity. 

Even if you think you are 100 percent satisfied with your career choice, it is important to periodically take a step back, evaluate, and revalidate. 

And if you are one of the many who may be ready for a job pivot – whether that be switching to a new career field, staying in the same career but working for a different company, or venturing out on your own- then gaining career clarity would be useful for you too.

You Are Responsible for Your Career and Development

The first step in establishing career clarity is defining what success looks like and not allowing anyone else to do that for us. Not our loved ones, not our employer, not society.  

Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves to own and drive our own career and development.  To proactively create the experiences we want instead of waiting and hoping that someone else will do it for us.  A clear career success vision is your north star and an alignment between three factors:

  • Your identity (ie, interests, values, life roles, motivators, non negotiables, etc.)
  • Your accomplishments (ie, knowledge, expertise, skills, experiences, etc.)
  • Your aspirations (ie, ultimate professional role, preferred work environment, type of organization, etc.)

Greatness awaits you when you create your own path through self-reflection, absorb new information from credible sources, and mindfully work toward a self-defined concept of success. 

To separate yourself from the pack and customize a career path that works for you, start by creating your own vision of success.

 

Additional Resources:

  1. How to Find Career Clarity Using Three Top Career Theories – Forbes

2. Gaining Career Clarity – Vital Smarts

3. How to Find and Do Work You Love – TEDxGoldenGatePark

 

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