Recognizing the career path you are already on

In speaking with students, I sometimes hear things like “I just need to figure out which path to take!” and we do often hear the metaphor of the path invoked to structure our thinking about the “career journey,” and career exploration.

…and I think that the metaphor of the path is really useful in conceptualizing our job search, but only if we recognize that we are ALREADY ON A PATH!!  So the task is not to choose a path, but simply to take the next step. You don’t have to think of what lies ahead as planning and organizing an entirely new journey, you just have to figure out what your next steps will be based on where you know that you are, how far you have come, and where you want to go next!!

You have worked hard, you have already journeyed far!!!

If you are reading this blog, I make the assumption that you have made the choice somewhere along the line to study linguistics.  When you did that, you set yourself on a path. Everything that you have done this far has brought you to where you are.  What paths now lie ahead?

If you discovered a passion for linguistics and now you are trying to find professional expression of that passion, what you are doing is just taking the next steps.  You may choose to forge a new path for yourself, but you are doing it based on where you are, and using the tools that you have collected and abilities you have honed along the way.  School is work.  The work that you have done has been your conditioning training. The relationships you have cultivated along the way exist to support and cheer you on and the experiences you have had along the way are signposts to guide you.  What did you really like doing of what you have done thus far?  What does that tell you?

This is why I do not see educating yourself about career paths as treasonous or disloyal. You are collecting information. You are just trying to read a map.  If you learn a great deal about a path you could have taken and ultimately decide not to take it, what you have really done is just learn something more about why you have chosen the path you have chosen.  Isn’t this information valuable?

When you chose one path or another, this is not because you are good or bad person, or because the paths are good or bad, you have just made a choice based on all of the evidence that you have at the present moment about where you are and where your destination is (also factoring in what you want the experience of getting there to be like ….have you chosen the scenic route?  You are in great company!!! There are always excellent reasons for doing so – make sure to stop and smell the roses!!!)

And when and if you decide to change course along the way, what you are doing is “recalculating.”

What does your path look like?  I always like to hear from fellow journeymen and women!!!  Let me know how it is going (and what has been useful for you in orienteering!)

read more about the journey here