Last year, I coached a woman who had been in her position for about ten years. She contacted me because she wanted to look for something new, and felt “out of the loop” when it came to looking for a new job and interviewing. As with many of my clients, she had lost touch with all she had done in her career. When we first began digging into her resume more than once she exclaimed, “Oh that’s right! I’d forgotten all about that project.”
Not long after sending her resume to a few open positions, she began getting calls for interviews. At our first meeting after she’d been to a couple interviews she revealed that she had decided to remain where she was. “I felt as though I had no options,” she said. “Now that I’ve been interviewing, I see I have options and that makes me feel more confident about staying where I am.”
Options. For some they are a burden that can weigh heavy and lead to anxiety and confusion. For others, they bring a sense of freedom that allows us to make the choice that is right for us. In which camp do you fall?
Options often come into play for the first time when we finish high school. Do we go to college and if so, which one? If college isn’t in the cards, there is the whole question of meaningful work in a company, a trade, or maybe the military beckons. As life goes on and responsibilities grow, many begin to believe their options narrow. Is that true? When people say they are keeping their “options open”, what exactly does that mean?
I choose to believe we always have options. Options are choices and when it comes to our careers we can find options by keeping our eyes, ears and mind open. It can be scary to explore options if we believe we must act on them. But if we can reframe that belief, if we can convince ourselves that we are just exploring the options. Our career world can open up.
Let’s look again at my opening example. My client came to me saying she wanted to change jobs. Did she? Or was she really seeking to explore her options to reassure herself that she actually had options? Once she saw that her skills were viable in today’s job market, she felt better about where she was. Knowing you have options can be very freeing.
Who limits our options? We do. By narrowing our vision of what might be possible and who we could become. The good news is if we can narrow our vision, we also have the power to open it up. How? Part 2 of O is for Options will be posted later this month. There we will look at how you can uncover some options that might be right where you currently are.
In the meantime, what is your view on options? A blessing or a curse?