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Are you overthinking your career decisions?

Do you find yourself having lots of work ideas but for some
reason not actually doing anything about them? Do you spend hours talking about
& researching options & thinking about pros & cons .. but never making any real progress? 
The Overthinking Trap
I’ve worked with many women considering what to do after
a career break and many of them fall into this overthinking trap. In our former working lives we often succeeded because of our ability to mentally work through solutions to problems and this is our default. We get fooled that we can think ourselves into a decision. 
But the ‘what shall I do with my life?’ career questions can rarely be solved just by brain-power. What you really need to do is
to start taking practical actions. And I don’t mean firing off your CV when
you’re not yet sure what you want to do – it’s about finding ways to try out
your options before deciding where you want to commit.  Professor Herminia Ibarra in her career
change book ‘Working Identity’ calls this a ‘test & learn’ approach. She
warns that waiting to act until you know what to do next can keep you stuck:
“Doing comes first, knowing second”.
Start Doing
  • If you’re
    wondering whether to go back to your old company/field: Get back in touch with
    old colleagues for an initial exploratory chat; ask about small projects or
    freelance work; take a refresher course.
  • If you’re
    not sure if you want to do something new: Find people who are doing the job
    go to an industry event or look for friends of friends – and talk to them about
    their roles; take a short course; do related voluntary work or find/create an internship.
  • And if
    you’re thinking of setting up a business, find some entrepreneurs to talk to or
    go to a start-up workshop like Enterprise Nation’s Start Up Saturday.
  • For more
    ideas see our return-to-work success stories.
Once you have some ideas on future options, it is more doing not more thinking that will get you clearer
on the route you want to take.
This is an amended version of our guest post for the
Mumsnet Workfest blog
Workfest is on 7th June 2014 in London:”an
inspirational and helpful day for women returning to work post maternity or an
extended career break, those looking to switch jobs, as well as those embarking
on a new business venture. We’re running 2 sessions:
  • Returning to work after an extended career break 
  • Tackling your fears, doubts and guilt

Hope to meet some of you there!

Posted by Julianne