Self awareness

Stress free career planning – is it possible?

Leaving a university well-being meeting recently I was reflecting on all the great stress busting ideas being organised for students over the summer term. From craft activities to meditation, yoga and stroking dogs there’s plenty available. Why not schedule in some time during your revision to do something you’ll really enjoy? Here are some of the options available if you’re at Warwick.

I then got to thinking about whether career planning can be stress free or even help to reduce stress. Uncertainty about the future can be very stressful particularly when friends and family keep asking what you’re going to be doing over the summer. So here are my career stress reduction hints and tips:

1. You don’t have to do everything now

bookmark_this_page.300At this time of year it’s probably better to focus on your studies and put your career planning on the back burner. (Yes, a careers consultant is suggesting this!) Careers services are usually open throughout the summer term and vacation and many, including Warwick, support students for life so there’s plenty of time after your exams/dissertation to start a plan.

2. Break your future down into bite size chunks

Kit Kat Chocolate Bar on a White Background

If deciding on your future sounds daunting have a look at where you are on the career learning cycle. Start with some baby steps focussing on “Know Yourself”. You might find this blog really helpful.  Short, regular stints thinking about who you are and what you want will allow time for relaxation and chilling out at the end of the year.

3. Talk to people

listening_student_interview300Talking to friends and family – and dare I say it your university careers team – can help you work out your career plan. Don’t sit alone stewing over whether you want to go into law, marketing, teaching, finance or something completely different – get some support. My only word of caution here is that this is about your future so resist all attempts to be pushed into something you know deep down isn’t right for you. And if you don’t like talking, go online. There are loads of resources available including videos, forums and case studies.

4. Remember that there’s more than one job that you will enjoy

next_what_words_questionmark300During my life I have done several really interesting, stimulating and challenging roles ranging from training insurance sales staff to regulating solicitors and of course my favourite – helping people with their careers. They’re all very different but they all worked for me at different times of my life. So, don’t focus on identifying the “perfect” job. If you find that something isn’t quite right for you, reflect on why that is. You can always move on to something else. It’s good to know that those career planning skills will be useful throughout your life.

So, when you next get asked what you’re doing over the summer, you can say that your careers team have advised you to focus on this later, so that you can concentrate on revision.

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