Baby steps to help you through career fog

Q: I’ve been doing the same job for the past 25 years - retail sales. I was reared in it and about 15 years ago I inherited the family shop. It’s all I know, and, to be honest, I am very happy doing it. But it’s fairly obvious my business is going downhill in these difficult times and I’m thinking about going before I am shoved, so to speak. But I have no idea what I might do next, and no clue where to start. Any tips - and I mean ‘early-stage’ stuff, not advanced? Baby steps. (DR, email )

A: Based on what you have told me, I think your first port of call is to look into yourself. Get to know what competencies you have, what way you like to work, how you like to interact with other people, how you like to be managed, how you like to manage others, and so on.

Once you start to understand all of that about yourself, you can then start to look at careers where a person with that profile might look for career satisfaction.

A tip here is to look at yourself as if you were somebody else. That may take some of the emotion out of the matter. Be your own client, for the want of a better phrase. Whichever way you do it, you should mark yourself out of 10 for the following competencies and attributes:

Communications - verbal; communications - written; interpersonal skills; people management; problem-solving; critical thinking; numeracy; statistical; research strategies; evaluation of information; team working; working alone; influencing; self-awareness; IT skills; commitment to learning; customer support; cost-saving; business intelligence; business development; quality control; process improvements; service driven; project management; time management; computer maintenance; multi-tasking; empathy; assertiveness; assume responsibility; detail-oriented; sociable; tactful; mentoring; group facilitation; meeting targets; delegation; and idea generation.

Another question you might like to ask yourself is what sized company you want to work for.

We could go further with this, but all you wanted for now were baby steps. Next week, I will write further about this - I will create an imaginary profile based on some ‘seven or more’ scores and tease out where a person with that profile might go next to further explore ways of successfully exiting the career fog.

Sli Nua Careers ( ) have offices in Athlone (090 ) 64 03003, Galway, Mayo (Crossmolina and Ballinrobe ), Dublin, and Limerick. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, job-searching strategies, and career direction. For more details, visit


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