How to choose a career or job

You know how in brainstorming or ideation sessions a facilitator will tell you that there are no bad ideas.  All ideas that surface should be kept on the table and considered – at least for the time being.

Well that kind of positivity is needed when you are searching for a job or considering a career change.  You should play that game with yourself – there are no bad ideas.  Not if I have them, not if my partner or friend has them.  Note them all down.

When the new idea or suggestion comes to you, give it some thought – respect it.  Don’t deny it out of hand or knee-jerk the response “Oh that will never work.”  Instead say to yourself, “Ah yes, I see, and this is how maybe this could work.”

Keep the lists of the ideas that come to you.  Review the lists and put three pros and three cons against each of the ideas.  When I was a kid we were taught to debate: traditional formal debating.  This was a big deal, part of the curriculum, not just an after-school club for people who liked the sound of their own voice.  We had to be able to argue persuasively on either side of any argument – regardless of our prejudices and preconceptions.  This is the attitude I ask you to bring to this exercise.  Consider all the options on your list.  Work hard at finding reasons why each one is a good idea and how it could work for you – and only then work at finding reasons why they won’t work.

Keep this kind of thinking going – it will open your mind to possibilities you hadn’t considered.  If you were thinking about a career change, ask your friends what their friends do and put these occupations on your list.  If you are looking for a job, look at different sections of the listings, or different job categories and put them on your list.  Then debate them with yourself.  See what happens.  This is designed to bring ideas to the surface that may have been submerged below some of your personal default positions that are out of date, or have run their course.

If someone suggests you relocate – put that on your list and see how it could work.  If someone suggests that you start your own business, take some time to visualize that and see how it might work. Remember your initial response should be that there are no bad ideas – and try to see how each of them would work.

Open your mind.  Stretch the possibilities.  Most people do jobs you have never heard of.  Pull yourself out of any rut you might have inadvertently gotten yourself into and imagine the sky is the limit.  There are no bad ideas.