As an Industry Mentor in the Griffith University Mentoring Programme, there has been opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a student of science and technology, and reflect on my own early career experiences.  In doing so, I recall how the limitless possibilities presented to a student create a series of impediments in the form of indecision, insecurity and fear of the unknown leading to a lack of confidence, a feeling of trepidation, and a general unease that can be debilitating if it takes hold.

The grip of anxiety is strongest when we are at our most vulnerable: at a career change, significant life event, or approaching uncharted territory, and we are thrown.  To this end, there is an association of this fear with change, and so a behaviour develops that we face all change or challenges with the same queasiness.  Through analysis we can ease the feeling by falling back on innate abilities: research to understanding – it’s what geeks do.  The fear is not a result of pending change, but a fear of the unknown.

So, new tips for facing the career unknown:

  • research roles, industry, company, city or whatever unknown is top of your list;
  • identify the aspects that require more information such as role criteria; industry associations or standards; company policy or culture; or if you’re between roles, navigate the facts:
  • what are the key factors for high performance in the field,
  • what attributes do you have that can be maximised to present a unique investment opportunity for an employer, and
  • what unknown would present with your arrival in a company: how can you minimise the unknown for others?

Give those around you the comfortable feeling of confidence in you, by removing the unknown for them.

Good luck, and let me know how you go…