By Steph Cutler
So you are keen to work but you don’t quite know what you want to work as?
This is how I felt when I experienced sight loss and began looking for employment. I was not sure what was open to me, what I wanted to do, or actually what I could do.
What I learnt is that when you are at a crossroads in your life, waiting for divine inspiration is not the quickest way to identify possible routes! It is far more productive to give your situation some thought and ask yourself some questions to identify what your options are, even if the answers are difficult to come by.
Here are five points to help clarify things:
1. If you have worked in the past, think about what you liked about your previous jobs and what drove you mad. Obviously, you are looking to avoid frustrations and focus on what you did like. Get as many ideas down as possible.
For example, you may prefer a calm environment to a chaotic one, or you may prefer working as part of a team to working alone. Create a list with as many likes and dislikes as you can think of – really scratch your head and be honest and analytical.
2. Write a list of your personal values. This may help clarify what industry, sector or role is likely to be in-line with your beliefs. Equally, it may eliminate some types of work and sectors.
For example, having integrity and making a difference to others may be important to you. This could lead you to consider focusing on the charity sector, rather than some corporate environments.
3. What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy spending your time doing? Make a list of activities you enjoy and have enjoyed in the past.
You may prefer the company of animals over people, or you may love spending time at the gym. Identify what you are passionate about and think about it in the context of work.
4. Be honest with yourself and make a list of your strengths and weaknesses.
For example, your strength may lie in organising get-togethers and social events. However, you may dread the thought of picking up the phone and selling something to a stranger.
5. Remember, you are simply exploring ideas, so be open-minded at this stage. Don’t think about barriers; think only about your ideal responses. You will need to look at barriers later but don’t let them influence your thinking at the moment.
You now have your likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and activities you enjoy. Are you starting to see a picture emerge as to what kind of employment might suit you? If you can’t see an obvious picture, then show other people your lists. Show your employment advisor; show your friends; show anyone that knows you and will be honest with you.
Doing this should focus your attention on what might interest you, whilst also clarifying what you don’t want to do. Remember, knowing what you don’t want to do can be just as important as knowing what does appeal to you.
You may be led to try some voluntary work in a field that is emerging from your lists. Alternatively, it may lead you to take up an evening class or retrain in something that you like doing and/or is a personal strength.
Taking these five steps is far more likely to highlight options than waiting for divine inspiration!
Create your own inspiration and take charge of your own future. Ultimately, only you can make these decisions and take steps towards options that will be personally fulfilling.
Steph Cutler had a successful career in the fashion industry when she experienced unexpected sight loss. Determined from the start, she began adapting to her new challenges. She found it disproportionately difficult to gain work compared to when she did not have a disability and so understands the challenges disabled job seekers face.
Steph’s coaching and workshops provide disabled job seekers with the confidence and motivation to become successfully employed. She is also a popular inspirational speaker at employment and business events.
Follow Steph’s blog at http://making-lemonade.co.uk
© Steph Cutler 2010