Choosing a direction in your career is a personal and individual journey. Choose in the Career section is meant to assist you in clarifying your direction and formulating your goals. To benefit the most from this section you should be at the point where you have narrowed your career focus to a hand full of options. The next thing to do is figure out where to go from here if you choose to pursue one of your top occupations.  It is important to remember that it is okay to change your mind, but you need to make sure that everything that you do will work towards how you want to live your life and what type of person you want to be.

It is important at this stage of the game to look at the educational (in and out of school) options that will best help you reach your goals.  Having back-up plans and other goals is important to keep your options open and to know what options you have in the future.

Even if you plan to take a few years off or you change your mind numerous times, the information you research now will help you.  You will also always know where to go to reassess your career plan.

So now you have DISCOVERED yourself with a few career assessments and EXPLORED some possible pathways. Before you go further you need to ask yourself:

-Do these findings make sense to me?
-Are they accurate?
-What are some common patterns?
-What jumps out?
-What is missing?
-Do I need to do further research?

If you feel comfortable with the information that you have gathered through self-reflection and occupational research, you are likely at a good place to make an informed decision. If you are having second thoughts, you may need to do some more soul searching or seek out additional information. Alternatively, you may simply be encountering obstacles in your career decision-making and need some additional assistance. When making any major decision, it is not unusual for people to encounter road blocks or unexpected challenges. Our personal and professional lives are so interconnected that difficulties in one area can significantly influence the other.

Everyone approaches decisions differently, and each important life decision requires different considerations. For some people the choice is obvious; for others, it can be a stressful process. Some base their decisions on impressions and “gut” reactions; others are more analytical and take a logical approach. When making a career choice, personal issues may make it difficult to make a decision that really reflects who we are and what is important to us in our career. Common struggles when life factors are interfering include:

-You feel like nothing appeals or you have no clearer sense of direction
-You are experiencing pressure to make a decision now or to pursue a specific career direction
-You are feeling too overwhelmed, worried, or anxious to make a career choice
-You are feeling confused and are having difficulty making a decision
-You have other challenges in your life that are taking up most of your energy

If any of these factors apply, or if you just feel that you need to talk to someone before you can make a good decision, you may benefit from additional assistance. Meeting with a counsellor may help you sort out the issues that are making career decision-making difficult for you at this time.

Plan B: Creating a Back-up Plan

-Develop Plan A and Plan B simultaneously
-Create a list of objectives/goals that you want to achieve
-Make sure that your goals are realistic
-Continually explore your options
-Keep your eyes open for opportunities
-Be open for changes, expect uncertainty
-Focus on your next step
-Build a network

In today’s uncertain world, developing your Plan B is not an option, it is a necessity. If your Plan A is eliminated or you feel that it is no longer leading you in the direction of your life goals, you need to activate your Plan B. Plan B is your detour or another route that will help you to reach your destination (your goal). Therefore, if you are prepared in advance, you will not get lost.

Having an alternative road (Plan B):

-Keeps you from getting “boxed” in
-Strengthens your present position (Plan A)
-Prevents you from going in the wrong direction, or in no direction at all
-Energizes you to keep up with the changes
-Protects from the “winds of change”
-Elevates your self-esteem
-Improves your attitude

The importance of Plan B is not only about increasing your chances of reaching your goals; it’s about helping you to be flexible and giving you a sense of personal security. It is as simple as this:” If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail”. If you are struggling to identify your Plan B, this may be a great time to meet with a career/school counsellor.