Let’s face it: no one likes to hear that they can’t do something. In fact, as children, weren’t we told over and over again that we could be anything we wanted, as long as we worked hard? That’s pretty much nonsense. I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but as a career coach, it’s my job to be brutally honest with people and let them know when potential success and happiness aren’t balanced. In many cases, these are life altering decisions that have the potential to affect many people- having the right information is critical.
Throughout my work, I’ve had plenty of people declare their dream job is one thing or another, but after assessments and discussion, we’ve both realized that that particular profession is in no way suited for them. Support and encouragement is important, but part of being good at my job is being able to recognize when someone needs help realigning their ideas regarding their “perfect job”.
Skill Set Matters
No matter how you cut it, competencies and skill set matter. It takes a certain level of knowledge and skill to do just about anything these days and specialized expertise is the way of most professions. What does that mean? Nothing more than to be proficient, you have to obtain the appropriate amount of education. You wouldn’t want a chef operating on you at the hospital, just as you might not want a surgeon trying to create the meal of your dreams. Most professions require several years of study, some more than others, but skill set matters and can be the defining decision point in encouraging or discouraging a particular career.
Guiding People to the Right Research
Another important part of truly understanding the full gamut of a career choice is getting the right information. Take CSI, for example. Glamour aside, forensic investigators are not all as clever, savvy and photogenic as the ones we see on late night television and you can bet the day-to-day activities of a crime scene investigator are nothing like those as portrayed on TV. A quality career consultant guides people to the right research, the real data and valuable information surrounding a particular occupation. In some cases, that can mean seeking out professionals in the field and conducting an “informational interview” to get some inside information or insight into a typical day in the life.
Finding the Right Compromise
There is some good news. Just as it’s important to be honest about the wrong career choices, it’s important to be mindful of compromise. Maybe being an actor isn’t the right move for you, but if you love the industry, perhaps working behind the scenes would be more in your comfort zone. There are plenty of ways to find compromise between passion and reality and helping people find that connection is the work of a career coach. The news may not be great all the time, but learning the truth now is certainly much easier than trying to fight your way out of the wrong job.