Not Taking Time to Know Ourselves

I think for most of us the career or professional path we pursue tends to materialize and we walk into it. By this I mean we do not take the time to think about our career aspirations and/or plan how to accomplish them.

We do not take the time to think about our interests, our values, what’s important to us, things we like doing, types of skills we are good at and enjoy using, what motivates us, and what we find purposeful and meaningful.

It’s important to engage in this soul-searching process, if we want to pursue a career path that is congruent with who we each are. If we don’t do this as we are growing up it’s not too late to do so.

The Cognitive Information Processing (CIP) career theory points out self-knowledge is key to making informed career decisions.

Not Doing the Research

Often our knowledge of the types of career opportunities we can pursue is informed by the significant people around us growing up, what we see in our communities, what we are exposed to on the screen and through our learning environments. We are sometimes oblivious of career opportunities that we do not learn about through these avenues.

We can learn about careers that are a good fit based on what we know about ourselves by researching on career websites, doing informational interviews, job shadowing and/or internships

Occupational knowledge is the other information gathering component of the CIP career theory that is key to making informed career decisions.

Chasing the Mighty Dollar

Sometimes we go into certain careers based on the type of lifestyle we want to have. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that. However, pursuing a career that is not congruent with our interests, values, skills/abilities, what motivates us or what we find purposeful and meaningful, will in the long run most likely become a career that is not a good fit for us.

Living Someone Else’s Dream

Sometimes we internalize and live out the career life (dream) someone else has for us or pursue a career path in an effort to gain the approval or praise of someone else. Other times we cave into societal expectations, of what we think we are supposed to be or do.

“I must admit I’ve made a very good living working with people who at forty-five years age admit they are living someone else’s dream. As we unpack that incongruity and begin to move toward an authentic life, all kinds of things come to the surface as meaningful work possibilities” – Dan Miller, vocational coach and author of 48 Days to the Work You Love.

Living out someone else’s dream will most likely lead to career mismatch in addition to the negative emotional impact that can result from doing so.