Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Who do you ask for career advice?

Via the Globe and Mail, I read a news blurb that said that for most people, their spouse is the preferred person to offer career counsel.
Who's the first person you'd go to for guidance on a career change? Your spouse, a survey finds.

Forty six per cent of 150 senior executives said they'd turn first to a spouse or significant other when evaluating a potential job change, up from 42 per cent when asked five years early, the survey by staffing service Accountemps finds.

Next up: a mentor, chosen by 41 per cent, up from 28 per cent in 2002.

After that, the executives opted for a co-worker or other family member, chosen by 4 per cent each, then a friend, selected by 3 per cent, or someone else, at 2 per cent.

I don't know if that's true in my case. I talk things like over a lot with my husband, but he doesn't work in my field at all, so has no idea what I'm talking about when I discuss my options. Of course, asking the blogosphere for advice is probably not the best thing either, is it?

I guess by making my list of women in my profession who I admire and picking their brains one at a time, I'm consulting mentor types. Who do you ask?


Benjamin Baxter said...

I'm about a decade-and-a-half from anything close to a married relationship. That said:

Ideally, you stick with your spouse, or try to. They'll be the adults most affected by sudden career changes.

Friends can visit, but hubby or wifey is forever. Supposed to, anyway.

Carla S. said...


You're righ that the spouse is affected by the change, but does that make him/her the right person to discuss the specifics? In my case, I am seeking advice mostly from colleagues who understand the work challenges.

Although I admit, I do talk to my spouse about it all, but find his is not always the most relevant advice.

Izabella said...

Hi Carla,

One category of people you may want to consider asking for career advice is career coaches. Coaches are trained to deal with these issues at a deeper level and at zeroing in on solutions that are truly right for you and your agenda.

I'm a coach myself, and, if I were you, I'd first of all ask myself this question: What is it that I really want out of my life and my work? And I wouldn't limit myself by the particular skills or experiences that you have, nor by any other practical considerations. Just let yourself really connect with what you'd like to achieve. What does fulfilling work - and fulfilling life - look like to you at this stage of your life?

Once you've figured this and other similar questions out, the externals will fall into place. I'm sure that by now you've accumulated enough skills to do lots and lots of different things. Figuring out, however, what it is exactly that you are looking for and what a satisfying career looks like to you, is the hard question. Answering it is typically the first step toward finding a satisfying solution.

I write a lot about these things on my blog, www. I hope you'll check it out and join the conversation.

Best regards,